Ugh. Put your hand up if you find updating your CV fun. [Cue sound of dust balls rolling down the road….] Yes, for most people, working on your CV is right up there with favourite tasks like watching paint dry and doing laundry. But if you want a fantastic new job and the challenge of an amazing new position, then a killer CV is 100% necessary. However, creating a CV to get you noticed doesn’t have to be a chore; follow these simple guidelines and you’ll have a CV to be proud of in no time at all.
Clear And Concise
Simplicity is key when it comes to your CV. Recruiters receive hundreds of CVs every single day, so you want to make sure that your CV is clear, concise and easy to read. If you can get everything on one page, perfect – if not, it’s two pages MAXIMUM. Choose a layout that will keep people engaged – headings are good, and bullet points make things easy to read. Keep your sentences short and to the point – now’s the time to cut out all the waffle. Can you explain what a position involved in three sentences? Yes! Edit, edit, and edit some more. You can always add back in if necessary.
How Do You Stand Out?
Your CV is basically your way of selling yourself (in a good way!) to potential employers, so really take time to think about how you can stand out and what would make them want you over any other candidate… Highlight your strengths, skills and successes – and add evidence if possible – did you increase turnover, boost a brand’s social following or win any new business? Say so then! And don’t be afraid to switch things up – starting your CV with a killer paragraph about you, and moving your address and contact details to the end of the page, for example.
Keywords are… KEY!
Before you update your CV – or get started writing a new one, it’s a really good idea to brainstorm some key words. Think about words that communicate who you are and the type of role you want – these are really good for grabbing people’s attention and keeping them focused on your CV. Driven, flexible, ideas, quick, enthusiasm, creative – choose strong, punchy keywords to make a lasting impression.
The Right Look And Feel
Is Times New Roman really the best font for your CV? Or are you more of an Arial girl? Obviously, don’t lose sleep over your choice of font, but the look and feel of your CV is definitely important (and research shows that serif typefaces are easier to read, so that’s something to consider). And then there’s layout and design. What about capitalising your job titles? Or emboldening key words? Maybe you could italicise the dates of positions or your contact details, and bullet points are great for breaking up a big body of text. There’s no need to add in any crazy images or try to make your CV into a work of art. but do think about how your CV looks – and what make it different, individual – and all about you.
Ask For Feedback
Shiny new CV done and dusted? Don’t send it off just yet! Time to bite the bullet – and ask someone you know and trust for their feedback. One of the easiest ways of doing this is asking a friend (or friends) who’s currently job-hunting and doing a CV swap. Agree to spend at least half an hour looking over each other’s CVs and giving honest feedback – face-to-face is best. The CV swap can certainly involve coffee, cake or wine. Otherwise, you can always ask a mentor, family member or boss from a previous position for some feedback on your CV and what they would suggest you change – as well as what they like about it. Whatever you do, do NOT take things personally – your CV is a CV, it’s not you. And constructive criticism really will make a huge difference.
Last But Not Least…
Don’t forget your cover letter! You might have the best CV in the world, but if your cover letter’s not up to scratch… A CV and cover letter should work together to give companies and recruiters a full picture of who you are as a potential employee – so make sure your cover letter is every bit as amazing as your CV. PS. We haven’t mentioned spellcheck because… well, come ON!