As recruiters, we receive hundreds of CVs a day, so it’s really important that your CV stand out from the competition. But it can be really hard to know what to write in a CV – after all, how can you condense your life experiences into a couple of pages?
Hopefully if you follow the tips below, you can make your CV really strong and, crucially, relevant to the roles you’re applying to.
1. It sounds simple, but you must spell check and grammar check your CV – and read it through afterwards! Spelling words like “university” and “graduate” incorrectly is never a good look. It makes you seem slapdash and hints at low levels of accuracy. Take the time to reread it before sending it off to would be employers!
2. If your CV looks messy, or unclear, this can put employers off big time. It’s pretty much like turning up to an interview in a grubby pair of tracksuit bottoms and a badly worn t- shirt. Make sure that the CV is formatted clearly. For example, use bold underlined headings for each section: Personal Profile; Education; Work History; Extra Curricular achievements (like sporting teams or charity work). It’s also imperative that you use the same formatting style throughout your CV – if page one is aligned to the left, page two must be as well.
3. Make sure that your CV is relevant to the sort of role you are applying for! If you are applying to a sales role, make sure your personal profile says that you are looking for a career in sales. It’s no good applying to a media sales position if your CV says that you want to work as an astronaut!
4. Get the balance of information right in your CV. Don’t submit a 50 page tome as your CV – quite simply, it won’t get read. Similarly, a half a page CV looks like you’ve put minimal effort in and therefore makes it look like you don’t value your job search. My rule of thumb is try to keep it to 2 pages, 3 is OK but no more than that!
5. A personal statement is really important – this gives you a chance to really sell yourself and show what you are all about. Use this section of your CV to tailor your application to the role you’re applying for. If it’s a sales role, say that you are target driven, money driven and committed to a career in sales. If it’s a digital account executive position, then say that you are passionate about new media.
6. Use bullet points when detailing your work history. For example:
July 09 to Feb 10 - The Red Lion – Bar Server
Responsible for serving customers in this busy local pub
Working to targets, focussing on up-selling beers and food
Maintaining a positive attitude
Managing my time effectively
Keeping the bar area clean
Managing a team of two food runners
7. You know that photo, from Freshers’ Week? The one that’s currently your Facebook profile pic? The one that makes you look cool and exciting. Do not, under any circumstances, put that on your CV. It’s totally inappropriate. In fact, don’t put a photo on your CV at all.
8. Customise your personal interests, but don’t lie. If you are passionate about baking cupcakes, say why. If you are interested in the financial markets and regularly read the FT or the Economist, then say so! All of this is relevant to your job search, so show the added interests and skills you can bring to the role.
Remember, a poor CV is one of the many reasons that you aren't successful in your application so make sure you give yourself the best possible chance to succeed.
Second Interview Tips
Digital Investment and Economic Survival
Does Flexible Working Threaten The Modern Workplace?
The Digital Decade: The Trends That Transformed Business
Diversity & Inclusion
Paul Farrer addresses Black Lives Matter
Talent planning in the Covid vaccine era
Top 10 Reasons to Love Birmingham
Why Soft Skills Matter The Most in the Workplace?