Let’s be honest, everyone hates searching for a job. It’s tedious, it takes ages, and often can really stress you out. Having a strong CV behind you will make your life so much easier, and is the key to attracting employers and securing those interviews.
Whether its formatting, structure, or language, every single detail of your CV must show why you are the PERFECT addition to any company. Promoting ourselves and demonstrating our achievements makes most of us feel awkward, because no one likes a show off, right? But the whole point of a CV is to illustrate your skillset, and if you don’t believe in yourself, why would any employer?
We’ve put together 10 tips to help give your CV a full refresh and get you closer to your dream role.
Make it pretty
Appearance isn’t everything, but the overall formatting and presentation of your CV is the first thing an employer notices, so it is crucial it’s clear and easy to read. Make sure that information is presented in a logical order, we like to follow this example:
but there are lots of free templates you can use online (LINK) Use a clear, clean font such as Ariel or Calibri, and space your information out using paragraphs and bullet points. Bold, italics, and underline are effective ways to highlight important details, but don’t over do it! Finally, always ensure that your CV is no longer than 2 pages. Employers can look through hundreds of CV’s in one hiring process, and no one has the time to read 7 pages of your life story. Include all the necessary info but keep it succinct and to the point.
Don’t be vague
Sadly, there is no such thing as a ‘one size fits all’ CV. If you’re applying to jobs in various industries, you should have 4 or 5 different CV’s that are catered to each one. This might mean including alternative transferable skills or editing your experience so different achievements are the focus. Even if you are set on one industry, you can still tweak your CV so it is the perfect match to a specific role. Take some time to study the job description, and check that your resume is a good reflection of the desired requirements.
Occasionally employers and recruiters might use software to scan through CV’s and find the most relevant. Similarly, if you’ve put your CV on jobsites, keywords can help your profile be discovered. You want to stand out from the crowd, and so include keywords linked to your industry. A candidate applying for a sales position might include phrases such as B2B (business to business), Sales Management, Account Management and Negotiation. If you’re not sure what will work best for you, DON’T STRESS. Search online for your job title to see what words are often associated with it.
We’ve already mentioned how your application may be going up against hundreds of other candidates (eek) and employers will often make snap judgments on whether a CV is right for them. Including your core skills is a quick way to show that you are a good match for the position. Put it towards the top of the page so it is one of the first things they read, and tailor the skills to the job you are applying for.
Keep it professional
email@example.com might have worked great when you were 12, but not so much when you’re searching for a job. Make sure the email on your CV sounds professional, and it is often a good idea to set up a separate email account purely for job applications. Just to make sure you don’t miss any emails inviting you to an interview. As well as this, when viewing a CV an employer can see the file name it has been saved under. Keep this simple and clear. Finally, the language you use in your CV represents the way you would talk in a working environment. Good communication skills are desired by most, if not all, employers. So use a wide vocabulary and write in a professional tone.
It’s all about you
A really helpful element for a CV is a personal profile, and it should be at the very top of the page. It will be the first thing an employer reads, and so it is important to make a good impression! Keep it short, 3 or 4 lines is fine, and highlight your most relevant skills and experience. You can also explain why you are currently looking for employment, and if you are changing industry, you can expand on the reasons behind that. It is a nice way for employers to quickly gauge what sort of person you are, and why you will benefit their company.
It’s ok to have gaps between employment, life happens. Maybe you left your last job to start a family, go travelling, or have simply taken some time out to focus on other ventures. Whatever the reason, a one sentence explanation for the gap makes life a lot easier for employers. Letting them know where you’ve been saves them the time from wondering and having to ask you to give details. Also, use it to your advantage! Travelled abroad and volunteered? What skills has that taught you that you can apply to your next position.
Facts and Figures
Maths is boring, but the importance of using stats to back up your achievements cannot be overlooked. Instead of saying you managed multiple social media accounts, explain how you increased social media lead generation by 46%. You could state that it was your responsibility to create Facebook ads, or that you implemented promotional tactics that led to a 32% increase in website traffic. It is worth spending a bit of time to understand the impact you have made in your last position and find the numbers that represent this.
Having mistakes on your CV gives the impression that you don’t care enough to check for them. Employers will notice, and it can easily make them click past your application. Use a spell checker to go through any word your unsure of, and websites like Grammarly will even review grammar and punctuation for you.
Keep it updated
Your CV is going to change constantly throughout your life, or at least it SHOULD. As you gain new experience and learn different skills, always add your latest updates to your CV to showcase your self in the best possible light.