CV Tips

The job market is incredibly competitive so a quality CV is a critical tool in getting you in the door for an interview. To help build the best CV, we have prepared a guide with a number of elements that will make you stick out from the crowd (for good reasons!), with rationale on why these methods work.


We have also created a model CV template which we will happily send to you as a Word document if you register with us! You can use our template or incorporate some of our CV tips into your current CV.

Overriding CV principle


Always remember that “a CV is to get you the interview, not get you the job”, therefore make sure you only include information that NEEDS to be there to support this objective. Anything irrelevant you include takes up valuable space, and also valuable seconds of the readers time that could be spent reading something that is relevant.

Perhaps you think that sounds a bit pointless, but if the hiring manager is reading about your marital status, how many children you have, their ages and names – that could be 2 or 3 seconds (not including the extra seconds they spend wondering why you put it on there in the first place!) out of the 30-60 seconds they are able to spend on your CV because they have so many to go through!

Model CV & CV Tips


As a former hiring manager, there is a CV format that I like. This is by no means the best CV around, but there is rationale as to why it is effective and can potentially increase your chances of securing an interview for a role. I want to share a ‘Model CV’ example with you to help explain some of the rationale behind my choices and some principles for you to apply when creating your own CV. The CV has numbers next to it which link to the paragraphs written, so you can easily pick out the bits you are looking for some help with and the logic behind them.


Click or tap a section of the CV to pick out the bits you are looking for some help with and to see the logic behind them.

Model CV Length


In my opinion, a CV should be a maximum of 2 pages long. A 1 page CV could be ideal for a first CV when you haven’t got too much to say or if you’re applying for a Creative role, but if you’re an experienced candidate looking for the types of role that Finstech recruit for, I would recommend 2 pages. Hiring managers will always turn the CV over expecting to see more information on the back page, so if you have 1 page of information instead of 2 you have probably excluded some potentially important information.

CV Tips

Model CV


Click or tap a section of the CV to pick out the bits you are looking for some help with and to see the logic behind them.


Ipswich, Suffolk  07703 017160. [email protected]


A dynamic and innovative Professional with over 20 years of Finance, Change & IT Project experience, Rob started Finstech in February 2020 as an IT & Resource consultancy. Rob is really keen to help job seekers to create CV’s that increase a candidate’s chance of being selected for an interview, so has shared his CV to provide a model for others to use. This first paragraph should be a summary of you (the candidate), your relevant background and why you are particularly suitable for the role which you are submitting the CV for. Include any relevant qualifications in here, any methodologies specific to the industry. Being the first thing on the CV, this is an important paragraph so include anything you think will make it memorable (for the right reasons!) to the reader.


  • Prince2 & Agile Practitioner, Six Sigma Green Belt and significant project experience
  • Excellent Leadership & stakeholder management skills to Executive level.
  • Line Management experience (to a Project Manager and Business Analyst level)
  • A flair & passion for mentoring & training colleagues around the Business
  • Project experience includes; Business Change, Business transformation, I.T. platforms, Finance, Solvency II, Data Analytics, Big Data and data warehouse migration
  • MS Project, Clarity, Open Workbench, Jira project tools


MANAGING DIRECTOR, FINSTECH LTD, Ipswich/LondonFeb 2020–Current

Creation of an independent IT & Recruitment consultancy focused on providing IT, Accounting & Financial Services resources to its clients.

  • Regular provision of potential resources to clients, advertising and engaging candidates
  • Developing relationships with clients and agreeing TOBAs
  • Creating a website from scratch, engaging vendor to provide update and creating the content
  • Daily Candidate spotlight initiative creation, which has since been copied by a number of agencies

Project managing the data & analytics delivery as part of a MS Azure cloud based Broking Platform application programme. The team was responsible for developing a renewals load from multiple sources systems and countries, as well as the presentation of the key Broking KPI’s in PowerBi.

  • Creation of strategic delivery roadmap for data & analytics element of programme
  • Implementation of on-premise PowerBi server solution & subsequent migration to cloud app
  • Successful pitch for increase in team resource to support strategic delivery plans
  • Liaising with Corporate teams to implement auto-deployments & other cloud-based initiatives
  • Transition of project into BAU support, first cloud-based application to successfully do so

Responsible for managing the implementation of a quote platform upgrade and a new policy administration system including data migration from 9 legacy source systems.

  • Leading the re-planning of the programme including preparation and presentation of delivery options to project sponsors & key business stakeholders
  • Application of Agile principles to the quote upgrade project which has seen the project deliver to plan and get some excellent feedback.
  • Preparation and implementation of test MI including defect predictions, tracking against plan and providing stakeholders with an up-to-date view of the delivery.
PROGRAMME MANAGER, AXA INSURANCE, Ipswich/LondonOct 2013-Feb 2015

Structuring and managing an £8m project, impacting all areas of the Business including Pricing & Underwriting, Compliance, IT, Operations and Intermediary Partner relationships to develop a new I.T. platform for issuing insurance quotes, the first of its kind in the UK Insurance market.

  • Establishing the project structure and governance, and working with the Exec to create a roadmap aligned to the overall business strategy.
  • Delivering £2m Net Profit benefit (estimated) from the project, as well as the potential to deliver far more due to the data enrichment strategy & implementation of the medium-term data solution.
  • Recognising the lack of support from the change function on the programme, and revising the scope and strategy accordingly, obtaining sign off from key Exec stakeholders.

Responsible for managing the delivery of the Solvency II programme (Pillars 1, 2 and 3) for AXA UK, including Insurance/Wealth/PPP/Ireland/Investment entities.

  • Creation of a level 1 and level 2 plan for AXA UK, including all entities (Insurance, Wealth, PPP, Ireland and Market & Credit) which hadn’t previously been in existence.
  • Forming a UK Solvency II forum with other entity Project Manager’s to ensure alignment of delivery on Group requirements and create a platform for sharing best practice.
  • Recognising the lack of resource on the project within AXA UK and creating a culture of efficient compliance delivery or value add, rather than best practice for the sake of compliance – which has involved the influencing of some Senior Project Leadership members within AXA Group (Paris).


AXA UK – Sunday Times Top 25 Best Big Companies Project ManagerMay 2013–Sept 2013
AXA UK – Data Warehouse/Migration Project ManagerDec 2012–May 2013
AXA UK – BI Requirements & Implementation LeadSep 2010–Mar 2012
AXA UK – Management AccountantMay 2008–Sep 2010
Maritime Transport – Management AccountantFeb 2006–May 2008
VariousMar 1998–Feb 2006

I started working as a Junior Accounts Clerk in 1998 and progressed through the ranks into to a Management Accountant level, which was the level of position I held from 2002 through to my Management Accountant role at AXA. I have worked in the Energy (Siemens Metering), Transport (ABP), Agricultural (Associated British Foods) and Insurance (AXA, Cox) industries and also have some experience within the public sector with a short-term contract role for Suffolk County Council in the Public Protection Directorate.


NLIGHTEN TRAININGAgile Practitioner courseFeb 2015
QA TRAININGPrince2 Foundation & PractitionerJun 2012
BPP, LONDON CIMAFoundation course (distance learning)Jan 2001
SUFFOLK COLLEGEGNVQ Advanced Diploma in Business & FinanceJun 1999
COPLESTON HIGH SCHOOL7 GCSE’s A-C (including Maths & English)Jun 1995


Project Team member (WTW) – “During this time, Rob’s main role was a Project Manager. He’s one of the very best managers I’ve worked with and had a key impact on the success of our team.”

Project Team member (WTW) – “He was a PM and I was a BA on the project. I realised quickly that he has two great traits: a view on the bigger picture and a management nature that lets you know that he has your back.”

Former Manager (AXA) – “Worked with Rob for a number of years whilst he was a project manager covering a multi-million pound project at AXA. Rob is a hard-working, tenacious PM who will push for results whilst ensuring excellent communication.”

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Rob was an absolute pleasure to work with. He quickly understood all my requirements and used his extensive knowledge and experience to produce a comprehensive job spec which was better than anything I could have conceived. He also identified alternative candidate types which I hadn’t previously considered and this proved instrumental in making an offer for the role. Professional and highly recommended!

S Hughes

It’s been a pleasure working with Rob. He’s efficient – Kept me up-to-date in a timely manner and with the right amount of information. He’s also professional and friendly at the same time. Thank you Rob.

Jacqueline Henderson

After a long period in a very difficult job market, Rob was able to help me find the perfect role. He understood my strengths and skills and was able to place me in a fantastic company!

I would highly recommend Rob whether you’re a candidate or client. I couldn’t have asked for a better service.

Abigail Britnell

Working with Rob at Finstech was a real pleasure. Rob’s professionalism was evidenced by his ability to listen to our needs, his accurate selection of candidates, right through to the support he provided during final negotiations with the successful candidate. His willingness and friendliness simply added to the mix. I highly recommend Finstech and will be working with them again in the future.

David Burton

Rob was introduced to me via a connection during my latest job search. He was extremely professional and empathetic, not only did he offer to help with my job search, but he also went above and beyond, providing me with feedback on my CV, along with some solid advice for developing my professional profile according to my interests and experience.

I would recommend Rob to anyone that I know, without hesitation.

Alexandra Burton

Rob was a pleasure to deal with, professional, communicative and efficient. Would highly recommend to anyone seeking a contract.

Jonny Coombes

Rob was a pleasure to deal with, professional, communicative and efficient. Would highly recommend to anyone seeking a contract.

Jonny Coombes

Rob from Finstech is an absolute pleasure to work with. He is organised, thorough and everyone that works with him has great things to say. Has a plethora of experience and understanding when it comes to recruitment, especially in the insurance, IT and finance sectors. I would definitely recommend his recruitment services!

John Parnell

Rob is the best recruitment agency I have ever worked with and I have worked with lots over the years to recruit staff and most recently to look for a role after being made redundant myself.

Rob is professional, caring and honest his service is out of this world.

Joanna Fisher

Rob is a pleasure to work with and the perfect intermediary. Rob knows how to make everyone feel comfortable and is clear, transparent and trustworthy. So please to have had the pleasure to cooperate!

Teresa Watkins

Rob is an excellent professional! Very attentive, honest and available. It is a real pleasure to talk and work with him. I highly recommend his services.

Mari Ana

Rob knows how to build trust, which is an essential skill to fulfill succesfully his missions. It is nice working with him!

Frédéric Prévost

Great advice from a very professional and thorough gentleman. Rob Greenhalgh managed to accurately target the proper job opportunities for me. I highly recommend his services.

Jules Rousselet

Honest, upfront and professional. Would highly recommend.


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Recommendations (instead of references)

The idea of a CV is to sell yourself to a hiring manager but, how much better if you can get other people to sell you?! Any hiring manager already knows that, if you are successful with your application, they can ask you to provide some references; so putting 'references available on request' at the end of your CV is almost pointless! Instead, why not include some comments or recommendations where someone else is letting the reader know that you are worth speaking with.

  • Ask some ex-colleagues, manager's or stakeholders to provide a couple of sentences of feedback for you which you can lift some key quotes from.
  • If you don't have a great deal of work experience, or you are studying, then ask teachers or lecturers to provide you with a recommendation instead - they are respected professionals after all.
  • I would suggest including 2-3 quotes or recommendations at the bottom of the CV, or whatever the space allows for. If you don't have enough space, assess whether the feedback is more relevant that some of the other things you've included - and if it is, then make some changes to squeeze it in!

Professional Experience (Summarise your job history)

Keeping in mind the principle of including as much relevant information as possible, summarise your job history beyond a maximum of 7 years from now. Think about when you're applying for a loan or a mortgage, the lender is only interested in your last 3-5 years of financial information and it's the same principle for job history. Industries have moved on, times have changed and there have been developments & changes in processes and practices since the last time you worked in that role/industry.

  • Identify probably a maximum of 7 years worth of roles in detail and summarise any older roles at a job title, employer and dates level.
  • If you have some experience relevant to the role you're applying from more than 7 years ago, try to highlight it in your key achievements section, or your personal statement where it is likely to peak the readers interest.
  • If you worked in Burger King, Top Man or Andy's Records whilst you were at college and that was long enough ago to have worked at Andy's Records, then it's probably not relevant to your application and therefore there's no need to even mention it on your CV.


The model CV here is based on someone who has 20 years experience and hasn't got a huge amount of qualifications, hence the priority given to this section in the ordering of the CV. The relevant education for a PM candidate, to which the model CV refers, are the Agile Practitioner & Prince 2 qualifications which you would have noticed were included in the 'Business Skills' section of the CV. GCSE's, GNVQ's and even degrees are probably less relevant for this candidate.

  • If you are struggling for space, then make sure you only include the most relevant qualifications. That cocktail mixing class you did might mean you can make a mean daquiri, but that's not necessarily something the hiring manager is going to be too interested in.
  • If you are recently out of university, or your qualifications are actually the stand out factor of your CV, then move them higher up. The key is to make sure you 'top load' the CV so the most relevant information is the first thing the hiring manager reads.

Professional Experience (Your last 3-5 jobs in detail)

Your professional experience is a brief summary of your current role, along with the previous positions you've held. Key pieces of information, are the job title, the company name, the location, and the dates (from-to) that you worked at the company.

  • Keep the description of the role to an initial sentence or two, along with 3-4 bullet points containing a combination of your key achievements, relevant tasks, applications worked with etc that best relate to the job you're applying for.
  • Identify probably a maximum of 7 years worth of roles in detail and summarise any older roles at a job title, employer and dates level.
  • If you have moved internally within a company, be creative with how you capture that information on your CV to try and minimise the space it takes up.
  • If you have any gaps in your CV, I would suggest noting them and putting an explanation in - even if that was 'career break following redundancy' or something like that. The model CV contains a 2 month break but that was 5 years ago so I haven't explained that.

Business Skills/Key Achievements

On the model CV, you will see that there are Business Skills rather than Key Achievements, because it highlights key skills that are required for a Project Manager - which is what I was applying for when I wrote it. Generally though, I recommend to candidates that this section highlights key achievements as that is a great way for a hiring manager to see the highlights of your career so far, without having to look through your entire CV.

  • The length of this section should be 4 or 5 bullet points for key achievements (as they are generally going to be longer than 1 line) and 5-7 for Business Skills (as these are generally 1 line - per the model CV).
  • Highlight something here that you are proud of. It could come from your working experience, as part of your education or something in your personal life that tells something additional about you.
  • Structure a professional key achievement: In this role I identified a problem, I researched a solution, recommended a fix to the appropriate people for approval and implemented the solution which saw £X benefit/savings.

Personal Statement

This first paragraph should be a summary of you (the candidate), your relevant background and why you are particularly suitable for the role which you are submitting the CV for. Make it specific to the role you are applying for, so include any relevant qualifications in here and any methodologies specific to the industry. Being the first thing on the CV, this is an important paragraph so include anything you think will make it memorable (for the right reasons!) to the reader.

  • You don't need to head it up as 'Personal Statement' - the reader will know what it is and it saves space
  • For a generic CV that you are sending out, include what sort of opportunity you are seeking, what type of employer you want to work for and what they provide e.g. study support.
  • It should only be the 1 paragraph long, between 7-9 lines otherwise it will become too long

Personal Details

You make think that this is a given but, it's not! Think of what a hiring manager is interested in... whereabouts you are based, your name and how they can get hold of you. The rest of the personal information you want to share can be done during the interview.

  • You don't need to put your full address, just the town
  • Just your e-mail address and mobile number is fine, and they will never fax you!
  • A LinkedIn link is worthwhile including, particularly if you have some recommendations on there