How To Write A 'Stand Out' CV

At SaluteMyJob we know the task of writing your CV can be a daunting experience for ex-military jobseekers - but we are here to help! Your CV has 30 seconds to impress an employer so to make sure your CV stands out from other jobseekers, we have created a CV template and step-by-step guide for you to follow.

Things to consider before you start

  • Your CV has 30 seconds to impress the reader. Have the key information at the start and make it short (2-4 pages) & easy to read.
  • There is no perfect layout but our CV template is a great place to start.
  • Check your spelling and grammar - there must be NO typos; avoid fancy fonts and layouts.
  • Make sure your spellchecker is set to the UK version of English and not the USA version.
  • Create one master version of your CV, then tailor it for each job you apply for.
  • Avoid military language & abbreviations where you can.
  • Always submit your CV under a covering letter.

CV Structure

There is no defined format but we strongly recommend the following structure:

  1. Contact details
  2. Personal profile statement
  3. Key skills
  4. Work history
  5. Education and training
  6. Hobbies and interests (if relevant)
  7. References (available on request)

Building your CV

Add your contact details

Name, postal address, email address, phone no. Avoid date of birth, marital status, medical conditions/disabilities etc.

Personal profile statement

Write about yourself and describe your personality, values, life or career goals. Grab the attention of the reader and encourage them to read the rest of your CV.

  • Keep it short - no more than 6 lines.
  • Describe your personality not your skills or experience.
  • Be clear – especially about the one key attribute you can bring to an employer.
  • Avoid clichés.
  • Avoid generic descriptions about yourself - try to imagine what skills are sought after for the role/industry and sell in skills that are unique to you.
  • Avoid military speak but don’t hide your military service.
  • Don’t say how long you’ve served which will indicate your age.

Key achievements/skills

List your key hard and soft skills which you have gained through your military experience and/or training.

  • Be relevant to the role you’re applying for.
  • Evidence them.
  • Try to use civilian rather than military language.
  • List in order of relevance.

Work history

List your last 10 years work experience/ roles in reverse chronological order with the most recent at the top.

  • Provide a brief bio of each company and role where appropriate to give context to your position.
  • Explain what you achieved in the role - not what the role involved.
  • Keep it brief, you’ll be able to expand more on responsibilities during an interview.
  • Avoid ‘responsible for’. Use verbs to describe the skill you used, such as monitored, created etc.

Education & training

List any qualifications and training that is relevant to the role.

  • Use either chronological order, or in an order that is most relevant to the role you are applying for.
  • Include training or qualifications that are ongoing - shows proactive personal development.
  • Avoid dating your education (unless you want) to as this gives an indicator as to your age.
  • Translate your relevant military qualifications in to civilian equivalents.

Hobbies & personal interests (optional)

This is a chance to reveal a little more of your personality. They should help show you are right for the role and organisation. But they need to add value.


'References available on request' is the expected format for a CV. If you have a particularly impressive reference in the form of a letter of recommendation, include it as a separate document with your application. You can include extracts from OJAR/SJARs if you wish - or add them as a separate annex.

Finishing touches to your CV

  • Get someone to proofread your CV and check for grammar and spelling mistakes. 
  • Remove any personal information that is not relevant. 
  • Look at your layout, does it flow? Is it easy to recognise the various sections?

If you are looking for further assistance or to chat to someone about your CV, please register with SaluteMyJob, where you can get free 1-to-1 advice from our specialist employment advisors. They will give you expert tips and further guidance on how to polish up your CV.