You get one chance to make a first impression with a prospective employer.

So be sure your CV sells you as an individual, effectively highlighting your skills and strengths in your chosen sector, and clearly detailing your career to date.

We recommend you check your CV is:

  • Visually engaging – clearly laid out and consistently formatted
  • Concise - try and keep it to two pages, maximum
  • Tailored to the role you are applying for
  • Free of typing errors
  • Up to date

The following Do’s and Don’ts go into more detail and are beneficial to consider:

  • Construct your CV with your prospective employer in mind. Look at the job advert or specification and think about what the job involves, and what the employer needs. Find out about the main activities of the employer.
  • Tailor your CV to the job. Your CV shouldn't be your life story but should be tailored for the job you're applying for, focusing on the parts that are important for that particular job.
  • Make your CV clear, neat and tidy. Get somebody to check your spelling and grammar. No-one wants to read a CV that is squashed together and includes too much information. Your CV should be easy to read with space between each section and plenty of white space. Use left-justified text as it is easiest to read, using black text and if there is a need to print make sure it is on good quality white or cream paper.
  • View your experience in a positive light. Try to look objectively at your experiences (even the bad ones) and identify what you learned or what skills you developed in the process. This is the picture you should present to the employer.
  • Place the important information up-front. Put experience and education achievements in reverse chronological order.
  • Include experience and intereststhat might be of use to the employer: IT skills, voluntary work, foreign language competency, driving skills, leisure interests that demonstrate team skills and organization/leadership skills.
  • Put your name and email address on every page- in case the pages of your CV get separated.
  • Use positive language. when describing your work achievements use power words such as ‘launched’, ‘managed’, ‘co-ordinated’, ‘motivated’, ‘supervised’, and ‘achieved’.
  • Quote concrete outcomes to support your claims. For example, ‘This reduced the development time from 7 to 3 days’ or ‘This revolutionized the company’s internal structure, and led to a reduction in overheads from £23,000 to £17,000 per year’.
  • Make use of the internet for sample CVs and CV templates - to help maximise the impact of your CV and to get inspiration for layout and tone.
  • Include information which may be viewed negatively – failed exams, divorces, failed business ventures, reasons for leaving a job, points on your driving license. Don’t lie, but just don’t include this kind of information. Don’t give the interviewer any reason to discard you at this stage.
  • Include salary information and expectations. Leave this for negotiations after your interview, when the employers are convinced how much they want to employ you.
  • Make your CV more than two pages long. You can free up space by leaving out or editing information that is less important. For example, you do not need to include referees – just state they are available on request. Don’t include all of the jobs you have had since school, just the relevant ones. Add details about your most recent qualifications, which are more relevant, but summarise the rest.
  • Dilute your important messages. Don’t bother with a list of schools you attended with grades and addresses, don’t include a long list of hobbies, or a long work history. Concentrate on demonstrating that the skills they need, what you have achieved by applying the skills you have and what benefits your clients have gained from your work.
  • Use jargon, acronyms, technical terms - unless essential.
  • Lie - employers have ways of checking what you put is true and may sack you if they take you on and find out you've lied to them.
  • Include a photo unless requested.
Selecting a Recruitment Consultant

With the right recruitment consultancy as your partner, looking for a job in market research or analysis needn’t be daunting. When deciding who to represent you, make sure you:

  • Take recommendations and check out the online profiles of consultancies you’re considering.
  • Search recruiters. All recruiters currently advertising market research jobs to view and apply for now with Research Jobfinder can be found here.
  • ‘Meet’ consultancies to make sure they are honest, understand your market, speak your language, and can be trusted to represent you well. Reputable consultancies don’t charge candidates for service or advice and will obtain your express permission before passing your details on to another party.
  • Stay in control – it’s your career after all.
Finding your first job
  • Routes of entry check out our information here.
  • Focus your job search on companies that match your long-term career goals. Don’t base your decision to accept a graduate job purely on salary offered or whether it’s near home.
  • Decide the learning process that suits you best. Graduate schemes, offered by large companies, expose you to various parts of the business, so you can choose which interest you most. At smaller companies, you may be thrown in at the deep end, learn lots in a short time, and gain quick expertise in a key area.
  • Use Research JobFinder. MRS have a jobs website where you can search 700+ jobs in research and insight. You can you upload your CV so recruiters can match you to their jobs
  • Stay in demand. Once you’re in your first job, continue your training and development to make yourself more employable in a competitive industry. Get involved with research, insight and strategy-focused networking and social groups, such as &more and join MRS as a member to receive all the latest industry news, attend amazing events and courses at discounted prices and have access to a wide variety of resources. The full list of benefits can be found here.
  • Read the industry press such as Research Live and MRS news and blogs.
  • Find a mentor. MRS Members have access to the amazing Mentoring Scheme where the team can match you to an industry professional ready and willing to guide you through many areas of your career.   

Follow these steps and soon you’ll be seen as part of the industry, not just a bystander.

The world's leading job site for research and insight

Get the latest MRS news

Our newsletters cover the latest MRS events, policy updates and research news.