I’m sure no one would dispute that the job market is a competitive place. As a small business we received over 1200 applications in August alone, a notoriously slow month given all the fabulous summer holidays people are finally able to jet off on again! It’s important therefore to do everything you can to stand out amongst the sea of applicants that companies receive. A huge part of this is your CV.
There are many statistics surrounding how long a recruiter is actually going to spend reviewing your CV, with some as little as just 7 seconds on average! What everyone is in agreement on though is that it’s not long at all. Therefore a good CV is more critical than ever, something as simple as a small spelling mistake could mean the difference between an interview or a rejection. This kind of mistake is rookie, as you can quickly and easily check the grammar and spelling of your CV content using free online tools such as Grammarly.
Even though your CV is so important to your success, our current education system doesn’t do an awful lot to set us up with the knowledge of what is considered a ‘good’ CV. And so, many people find themselves stuck, circling the job application pool, wondering: what else can I do to be more hireable? When it comes to putting a CV together, obviously, we all understand that spelling and grammar is important. But, what are employers and recruiters actually looking for? What’s going to set us apart? What’s going to secure us that all-important interview?
We could write about the good, the bad and the ugly of CV writing for an entire dissertation, but that seems excessive. So, instead, we’ll just focus on our 10 top tips for levelling up your CV and ensuring it catches employers’ attention for all the right reasons.
Formatting Your CV
Get the formatting right. Don’t be fancy here (unless you need to be e.g. marketing applications), recruiters will be viewing your CV in many different ways and any fancy formatting can throw your CV off when downloaded into a different application e.g. Word to PDF. The last thing you want is to spend hours making the most fabulous CV, but as soon as the recruiter downloads it, your name disappears, there are random lines all over the page and that lovely coloured background is no longer centrally located around your paragraphs. It just ends up looking messy and confusing. Simple formatting is always the safest option and can still look smart! Here are some simple CV templates from Zety to help your resume look professional and structured.
Make It Easy To Read
Bullet points are your new best friend. Don’t write essays of information. Keep it short, sweet and to the point. Don’t try and cheat and think that because you used bullet points you can still write paragraphs of info – it still becomes difficult to read. Split each part into a clear new section e.g. education, work experience, extracurriculars. Remember, someone is going to spend minimal time looking at your CV, you need to ensure they can get the required information quickly and easily.
Keep Information Relevant
Recruiters don’t need to know what you had for dinner on Tuesday last week. An exaggerated point of course, but you get the point. Ask yourself, does the recruiter need to know all my GCSEs from 10 years ago? Maybe not, perhaps just the core subjects will do or perhaps they don’t need to see it at all. Do they need to know about your first ever job working in a kitchen when you’ve had 3 other roles since then? Again, maybe not.
Keep Your CV Up To Date
It’s easy to forget to update your CV, especially when using platforms such as Indeed, where your CV is saved for easy applications. Triple check you are applying with your current CV to give you the best chance of an interview and to avoid any awkward moments having to explain that what they think you do currently is not actually what you do.
Bridge Those Gaps
If you have career gaps on your CV, explain them! A recruiter will wonder what you have used that time for, whether it’s to travel, raise a family, look for work due to redundancy, study etc…put it on your CV! Career gaps don’t always have to look bad. A gap where you have used your time constructively could even set you apart.
Back-Up Your Buzz Words
Don’t use vague statements and buzz words. A CV full of unsupported claims won’t be wowing anyone. If you claim you are organised, how have you shown this in your roles? If you claim to have improved efficiency, what statistics evidence this? Utilising examples and statistics (briefly) shows you can walk the walk and also gives you talking points during any future interviews.
Although you want to keep your CV short and sweet and avoid too much funky formatting (unless you’re a creative superstar), injecting personality is still important. Ultimately your CV is a recruiter’s first interaction with you. You could include a cover letter to showcase yourself and your personality. Your writing in both your CV and any cover letter, and the tone conveyed by it, can also help give the recruiter an insight into you. The interests you showcase through your extracurriculars are also key to this!
Sort by: Most Recent
This one may seem obvious – but is often forgotten. When your CV is being reviewed, your most current education and/or work experience is of the most interest. For this reason, each section of your CV should be written in reverse chronological order i.e. most recent first with other items in descending order from there.
Short & Sweet
Keep your CV to 2 sides of A4, max. For the same reason I won’t natter on about CVs for pages and pages, you shouldn’t do it either on your CV. 2 sides of A4 is plenty of space to talk about your education, your work experience, and convey a bit about yourself. If you don’t think it is, then it might be time to re-evaluate if all the information you’re including is truly relevant.
Go Get a Job Hobby
Finally, have some extracurriculars to talk about. Join clubs, develop hobbies, and find your passion. It’s great for your CV and helps potential employers get a feel for who you are as a person, and is ultimately just a great way to make the most out of life!
So, there you have it, our top 10 tips for a great CV. Hopefully, there’s plenty of information here that you will find useful. Apply these tips to your own resume and WOW those potential employers. Even if it’s very small changes, it really is worth spending the time to continually level up your CV. In the wise words of Tesco… ‘every little helps’.
Now you have the perfect CV, you’re ready to get applying. You can check out our live roles on our website and on Indeed. If you’re interested in sending that freshly polished CV over to us for any of our opportunities, you can skip the queue and email us directly at [email protected].