Still using the same old CV? It may be time to change that…
Keeping your CV up-to-date means more than adding a few new roles to your employment history every time you look for something new. Even if you think your application is flawless, struggling to hear back from recruiters might be a clear indication that something’s going seriously wrong.
To help keep the odds in your favour, here are five ways you could refresh your CV right now:
Freshen up your format
First things first: when it comes to your CV, formatting is everything.
In fact, 50% of recruiters we surveyed suggested that a logical order for presentation was the most important thing they consider when reading one. And contrary to popular belief, there’s no one-size-fits all format that works in all situations – so feel free to experiment with structure.
As a general rule, we’d always recommend starting with the things you most want recruiters to see. Going for a Graduate role? Focus on your degree. More of an experience-based positon? Lead with your recent employment history, or even a relevant key skills section, to help draw a recruiter’s attention
And don’t include anything simply because you think you should. We’re looking at you, hobbies and interests section.
Revamp the design
Once you’ve figured out your formatting, it’s time to think about design.
If you’ve been using the same CV for a while, it stands to reason that it might be looking a little outdated.
The good thing is, it actually won’t take all that much effort to get things back on track. In fact, there are a wide range of CV templates out there which will help you create something more contemporary.
What recruiters really want is something that’s professional-looking, and easy to read – not a document that could be more comfortably considered as retro. So lose the boxes, funky colours and pictures, and keep it clean.
Because Clipart is so 1995…
Use the job description
In reality, refreshing your CV should never be a one-time thing.
To maximise your chances, every document you send over should be tailored to the job you’re applying for. And, as time-consuming as it may seem, it only takes a few tweaks to make a real difference. It’s just about utilising the job advert.
Almost without fail, a recruiter has provided you with all the attributes you need to sell yourself to the role. By adding a few of these to your skills section, or quantifying them in your personal statement, you’ll be able to make yourself come across as the perfect fit for any position.
So tailor your CV to every role. Every time. No exceptions.
Trim the fat
One of the most common CV myths is that you need to include absolutely everything you’ve ever done in order to impress.
But at it’s best, your CV should be a powerful sales pitch, which provides an employer with all the right information they need to invite you to an interview to learn more. It’s shouldn’t be your life story.
If you have an extensive employment history, only include career highlights, or positions that are relevant to the role you’re applying for. And instead of listing all of your day-to-day duties, bullet point a few achievements which help illustrate your attributes.
Ideally, your CV should be no more than two pages. If you need more space, add links to online portfolios or blogs where they can learn more.
Start from scratch
If all else fails, it’s time for the ultimate refresh.
Whilst it might seem like a pain to go back to the drawing board, starting over allows you to breathe new life into what your writing, not to mention remove any preciousness when it comes to what you’ve written.
To make your new attempts most effective, always avoid re-reading your old CV before you start. And don’t be afraid to try a few different versions to find one you’re truly comfortable with.
It might take some time to get it right, but it really will be worth it in the long run. It certainly beats sending something that isn’t working, simply because it’s the easier.
Remember: when it comes to finding your dream job, laziness is never an option.
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