Ten CV tips to see you through to interview
In a competitive job market, writing a CV can be a daunting prospect. It’s the first thing recruiters and hiring managers will consider and your first opportunity to make a big impression. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution though so writing a good CV can be stressful but worth the effort to get it right.
So, how to write a CV with impact? Simply writing down your qualifications, skills and work experience might seem enough but there may be more to do to make your CV stand out. Rather than using a generic CV template, ensuring your CV is tailored to the specific job description is of utmost importance (and that includes your cover letter too). Learn how to write a CV that’ll ensure your success with our top CV tips.
1. Cover the essentials
You may have some fantastic achievements but, without the essential information, your CV will be lacking.
Remember to include all personal details, like your name, address, mobile number and email address. Adding your LinkedIn profile or website is good for employers to gain more information.
A short, succinct personal statement at the top of your CV is your opportunity to sell yourself. Give details on who you are, what you can offer and what you’re looking for in one short paragraph. Be confident and make it relevant to the role you’re applying for. Follow this with professional skills, qualifications, work experience and achievements.
2. Design is key
A confusing and badly-designed CV will discourage any employer from giving your CV a second look so pay attention to the CV format. Choose a professional font that’s clear and readable, and use the same one throughout.
Order your content in a logical format with sufficient spacing and clear section headings. Use bullet points rather than long, lengthy sentences for a concise CV format, but include required context that ensures the information makes sense. For example, skills in customer service may be transferable, but explain why, otherwise, it becomes a meaningless statement.
3. Think about order
A logical order is vital to a successful CV. If the information isn’t clearly presented or doesn’t appear where expected, you’ll confuse the employer and they’ll disregard your CV.
Experience and qualifications should be detailed in reverse chronological
order with the most recent and relevant first. You may have an achievement you’re particularly proud of and want to give it prominence on your CV but, if it’s not relevant to the job, then it shouldn’t come first, if at all. Use the job description to refine what you include.
4. Avoid cliché statements
Employers, and especially recruiters, often react badly to overused statements in CVs. Among particular pet hates are statements like, “I work well individually as well as being a team-player,”or, “I can multitask.”
Phrases like these seem like you’re just trying to cover all bases which ends up being a little meaningless. Try not to alienate your employers. Instead, provide actual examples of where you have shown a skill, whether that’s working as a team player or an individual achievement. Choose one relevant to the job not both.
5. Tailor your CV
When applying for jobs, it can be appealing to use the same CV template and send the same CV every time. But the best CV will be tailored to the specific job description and company.
The job description is essentially a description of the employer’s perfect candidate. Use this to mould your CV to each job and show how you’re the
perfect fit for the role. Apply this to your cover letter as well.
6. Check your spelling
You might think that a little typo here and there is no big deal but it’s a huge pet hate of employers and recruiters alike. Not only does it signify a lack of basic communication skills, but it also shows carelessness and lack of attention to detail. And neither of those will get you that interview.
Use suitable language and make sure you check spelling and grammar two, if not, three times.
7. Use specific keywords
Recruiters and hiring managers use automated tools and jobsites to help them filter the volume of CVs they receive. So, including keywords on your CV is an effective way to stand out.
Be specific with any industry terminology in your experience and skills, and use several names for roles where possible, e.g. Sales Advisor, Retail Assistant.
8. Use facts and figures
Evidence-based facts are always preferable and that’s no different when looking at how to write a CV. For specific achievements or results, state your targets and goals as amounts or percentages. For example, detailing an uplift in sales in a percentage really demonstrates how you’ve overachieved.
Try to pick at least one specific example for each job you include on your CV and explain how it was beneficial to your employer. Use bullet points to make these key bits of information stand out.
9. Do your research
Knowing the industry you’re looking to work in and the company you are applying to will set your CV apart. Your employers will be impressed at your efforts and consider your CV more seriously.
Research the company and gain a thorough understanding of their brand values and any key competitors. You can then shape your CV so that your skills and experience match. This will make a big impact and also help you if you get through to interview stage.
10. Refresh your CV
Whenever you complete a new achievement or gain a new qualification, add it to your CV. Think of it as a live document rather than something you only update when looking for new roles. That way, you can save time and respond quickly when you find your perfect job.
If you’re changing industries or going from being self-employed to employed, your CV might needa complete refresh. Similarly, if you wrote your CV five years ago, the CV format might need modernising.