Struggling with your CV? We can help with that…
Whether you’re new to jobseeking, or you’ve been in the working world for a while – creating and maintaining a good CV can be tough. And if you’re short on time (and/or patience), you don’t know where to start, or you’re not sure what recruiters really want – it can seem like an impossible task.
To make sure your CV is up to scratch, here are our best tips and templates:
Check for typos
OK, this may seem obvious – but some spelling mistakes can be easy to miiss*.
To make sure your CV properly reflects your attention to detail, always check for typos before you submit it. And don’t assume a quick automatic spell check is enough.
Although it’s a great way to check for some mistakes, it doesn’t always catch certain grammatical errors – especially when it comes to punctuation or words used in the wrong context (e.g. when words sound the same but mean too two different things).
So to be safe, get someone else to read over your CV as well.
And unless you’re writing a ‘resume’, avoid Americanisms too. Your mom wouldn’t approve.
Tailor your CV to the role
So you’ve written the perfect CV, so any changes will only make it worse – right? Wrong.
CVs shouldn’t only be a reflection of you and your qualifications, they should also indicate why you’re right for each job you apply for – meaning you can’t get away with sending the same one every time.
This doesn’t mean you have to start from scratch on every application though. Instead, use the job description to tailor your CV to the role, putting an extra emphasis on the key skills and attributes needed to do the job.
By drawing less attention to the parts of your CV that don’t relate to the role, you’ll be able to ensure your application accurately proves your suitability (and is shorter and easier to digest).
Get in a recruiter’s mindset
Recruiters are busy people.
This means they often use time-saving tools to keyword search candidates, and quickly skim through CVs to find what they’re looking for. If they don’t see it at first glance, your CV might not make the cut.
So how can you pass the seven second test? Firstly, focus on creating a clear and easy-to-read font and layout – with short, succinct points. And keep it to two pages or less.
Secondly, think about the keywords/job titles a recruiter might search for in your chosen industry, and describe your skills and experience using a variation of these words.
For example, a customer service assistant may also be described as a sales or retail assistant – so including each term at some point in your CV (even if it’s to refer to your skills) is the best way to cover all bases.
Back yourself up
When it comes to job hunting, recruiters don’t just want you to tell them you’re qualified – they also want proof of it.
To make sure your CV answers the ‘how’ as well as the ‘what’, include real examples alongside each task or duty you mention. Using the STAR technique is a great way to ensure you’re communicating your skills effectively.
For example, saying you ‘made sales’ is OK, but adding the amount of money this brought back to the business, whilst referencing your most impressive achievement, will give your skills some unique context.
Otherwise, you’ll only blend into a crowd of similar candidates who can also ‘make sales’.
Keep it up-to-date
Your skills and experience are always developing, so your CV should be too.
To make sure you keep your information fresh, check back on your CV regularly to see if anything could be improved or updated. You might also find that older experience is no longer relevant, and can be condensed or deleted, for example.
And aside from adding new jobs, qualifications, and skills – you should also be making sure your layout and style is contemporary.
After all, it’s unlikely that certain fonts (we’re looking at you, Comic Sans) will get the same reaction they did ten years ago – and there might be a range of new creative CV layouts that weren’t available when you first created your CV.
And let’s face it – your CV deserves the occasional makeover.
How to make a CV online
Building a CV can be a tough task to tackle alone.
Luckily, there are a range of online tools and tips to help you do it.
CV templates are a great way to ensure the information you’re including is appropriate, and is presented in a clear and concise manner. All you have to do is download one that matches your situation and what you’re looking for, and you’ll be able to tailor it accordingly.
Alternatively, you could use our free CV builder service (via desktop, mobile, or tablet) to make a CV online – allowing you to build a fully formatted CV in four easy steps.
Simply input your details, and we’ll do the rest.
Free CV template
School Leaver CV template
Graduate CV template
Need more CV advice?
It takes an employer just seven seconds to save or reject a job applicant’s CV. This means creating a succinct CV is absolutely vital if you want to land that all-important interview.
To find out how to make your CV stand out from the crowd, buy James Reed’s new book: The 7 Second CV: How to Land the Interview.
*Intentional spelling mistakes for the win…
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