Pitching the right tone in your CV

Published: 02 Sep 2015 By Neville Rose

There is much truth in that how you say things is more important than what you say. We are emotional beings tuned to pick up on others’ feelings and vice versa. The language we use and tone of voice will help to shape people’s thinking and response. Think about it. The simple phrase ‘get out of it’ could mean very different things depending on how it is said. With an angry tone it could mean ‘go away right now or else!’ or said in an inquisitive way we are actually saying ‘wow – yes, really?'


How you say things in your CV can tell the reader a lot about you. The good thing is that you get the chance to shape that perception well in advance. Ultimately your objective is to engage the reader right from the start, build momentum through the CV, and elicit a positive response by calling you to interview. Follow the four p’s concept below and you should be well on your way to creating a pitch perfect CV.

The four Ps in CV writing: Pace, Positivity, Professionalism and Personality.


With only seconds spent reading a CV it is important to get your message across quickly. You need to generate energy and encourage the reader on by including relevant examples of achievements. Use action words like ‘led’, ‘driven’, ‘established’ and ‘transformed’. You need to get the reader excited about what you’ve done and what you can do for them.  


Your CV should exude positivity. You don’t want to raise any unnecessary question marks in the mind of the reader. Don’t ever include things like ‘reasons for leaving’ unless specifically asked for. Unfortunately, it is still best not to include the ‘r’ word (redundancy). Essentially, you don’t want to give the reader any excuse whatsoever for dismissing your application. Get to the interview, this is your absolute priority.


It is vital that your CV is professionally presented. Certainly no typos or grammatical errors. You should also make sure the formatting is consistent throughout with clearly labelled headings. The CV should be professionally laid out and easy for the reader to navigate their way around to concentrate on areas that are important to them. The CV should also be written in the third person.


Your CV needs to create a point of difference from other applicants. Of course your career history will be unique but you can further stand out by giving the reader a flavour of your personality. The kind of personal qualities and traits that have driven your success. Employers are looking for the right cultural fit so don’t be shy in identifying and expressing your personal strengths. 

In a highly competitive jobs market getting the tone right in your CV can really make the difference. Paying attention to the four Ps in CV writing can help you to take your CV to the next level. You only get one chance so you have to make the most of it and grab that opportunity.




This CV advice is provided by Neville Rose, Director of CV Writers. CV Writers are the official CV writing partner to ThirdSector Jobs and they specialise in writing CVs for not-for-profit professionals. In addition to a CV writing service, they can help with Linkedin profiles, cover letters and interview coaching. They also provide a free CV review.

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