How much time should I spend writing my CV?

By Graeme Jordan (CV Writer / Interview Coach / professional Marketer)

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I saw an advert recently that said ‘Write your CV in minutes’.

Now, why would I want to do that?

It may sound old fashioned in this bright new digital world, but if something is important, then it’s worth doing properly. The way I look at it is: What effect will it have on your life if your CV starts doing its job and gets you interviews? If the answer is that it will do something valuable for you, then you are being let down by the ‘tips, tricks and shortcuts’ that abound.

I have written hundreds of CVs (for myself and many others) and I can tell you that it takes at least 8 hours to draft, write and edit a good CV. This is after you have all of the information you need to hand i.e. dates, titles and achievements reached in each role. 

One of the shortcuts that I often see is simply copying and pasting previous job descriptions into the CV. It’s amazing how often I see people who should know better doing this. Even if you only copy part of the job description, it is still very obvious to the reader. This is aside from the fact that most job descriptions that I see are pretty badly written.

With all of these shortcuts, they are of course quicker, but they fail on any other measure and will almost always fail to get you selected.

This demonstrates one of the most important principles in effective job acquisition. It’s far better to apply for 10 jobs extremely well than 100 jobs with a generic, half relevant CV and letter.

As was said by H.L. Mencken: “For every complex problem there is a solution that is simple, neat and wrong”

The answer to the question ‘How long should I spend writing my CV?’ quite simply is ‘How much do you want a new job?’

Graeme Jordan is a CV Writer and Interview Coach who helps candidates at all levels in a range of industries to get interviews and get selected. See more at


Image courtesy of Michal Marcol /

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