Building a strong HR CV


If you are looking for a new HR job, a good CV is absolutely vital to getting you noticed in the first instance, especially when there are numerous professionals applying for the same roles, so what should it include?

Here, we give some tips on how to put together an attention-grabbing CV.



The basic format of a CV

Your CV should be neat and typed, usually no more than two sides of A4. It should be positive, stressing achievements and strengths, and make a strong impression in a clear and concise way. The basic format for a CV includes:

You don’t have much time to impress with your CV – employers tend to scan rather than read them. So it needs to be succinct and to-the-point.

  • Personal details, including name, address, phone number, email address and any professional social media presence. You no longer need to include your date of birth due to age discrimination rules
  • Career history, starting with your most recent job first and including dates
  • A personal profile which 'sells' yourself and your achievements, and is tailored towards the job you are applying for
  • Achievements
  • Qualifications and training
  • Interests, if they are relevant and especially if the skills or teamwork concerned are relevant for the job

Be specific and give examples

Your CV is your marketing tool and a way to 'sell' yourself to get the interview you want. When employers read your CV, they need to know precisely what you have achieved in your previous HR jobs and how this is relevant to the role you are applying for. So be specific and give examples.

If you were responsible for driving growth or cutting costs in a business from a HR perspective, say exactly how you did it and go into specifics on the results that were achieved.

Stand out from the crowd

You will be competing for the best opportunities with other HR professionals from very similar work backgrounds so you'll need to stand out from the crowd.

Concentrate on what you have done that will impress your potential employer. Highlight examples of where you have shown initiative or flexibility. What projects have you been involved with? Describe the additional responsibility you had, what you have learned and what skills you have developed.

Nic Sephton-Poultney, Country Manager at Robert Walters says, "Always remember that your CV has one purpose and that's to help you get that first interview. Emphasis what makes you different. The best CVs are typically made up of education and work experience. You also need to include out-of-work activities that make you stand out from the crowd. For example, don't just list your hobbies, draw attention to your achievements outside work and expand on them."

Make a quick impression

You don’t have much time to impress with your CV – employers tend to scan rather than read them. So it needs to be succinct and to-the-point. Crucially, it needs to show that you have what it takes to be successful in your chosen career.

Avoid typos, spelling mistakes and grammatical errors

A CV with spelling mistakes and other basic grammatical errors imply carelessness which is not an impression anyone would want to give to a potential employer.

Nic Sephton-Poultney, Associate Director of the HR recruitment division at Robert Walters adds, "Poor spelling is the quickest way of grabbing the employers attention for the wrong reasons. Check your CV and ask someone else to proofread it for you. An extra pair of eyes always helps." 

Looking for your next HR role? View the latest opportunities from Robert Walters.

Or if you have a friend looking for a new job, why not be rewarded for recommending Robert Walters? Learn more about our excellent referral scheme and refer your friend today.

Alternatively, find out how much you're worth with the Robert Walters Salary Survey

For more career advice please contact:

Nic Sephton-Poultney, Country Manager (South Africa)
+27 (0)11 881 2414


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