Your CV is the first thing your potential employer will see, and first impressions count for a lot. It’s vital that your current CV is not only up to date, but an accurate reflection of your personality and everything you could offer a potential employer. This is particularly relevant in 2019, with the job market more competitive than ever before.
No perfect CV template exists. If it did, it would only make it harder for yours to stand out. Although different sectors might require emphasis to be placed on different aspects of the document, there are some basics that will apply to any CV.
Refreshing your CV doesn’t need to be a mammoth task, but it is certainly something to take seriously. Some of the tweaks and ideas discussed below could take mere minutes to implement but they could make the crucial difference between a call back and a rejection. It’s a case of highlighting your accomplishments in one sleek and attractive page, but for many professionals, cutting to the chase is easier said than done.
To really impress a recruiter you need to think like a recruiter. Any recruiter sorting through potentially hundreds of applications will always home in on the CVs that are neat, grammatically flawless and free of spelling mistakes. If you’re unsure, run it through a spelling and grammar checking service such as Grammarly, which is free for non-premium use.
Recruiters and recruitment firms are often incredibly busy, so when refreshing your CV, make sure it’s easily scannable. If you want to make it through the ‘first round’ then make sure that everything fits neatly onto one A4 sheet of paper. This means you might have to play around with the fonts and the layout but it’ll be worth the experimentation.
No matter how qualified you might be, your CV will always be left at the bottom of the pile if it’s difficult to read. Keep fonts consistent and bold (comic sans will most likely be rejected on sight), use precise bullet points over ponderous paragraphs and make sure that each section is segregated using efficient page breaks.
Finally, you’d be surprised how many candidates forget to include their most up-to-date information. Make sure that your professional CV not only includes all relevant social media links but your most recent contact numbers and an email address that you check regularly.
When going through your career history, be selective and only mention roles that are relevant to the kind of jobs you aspire to, and the companies you aspire to work for. Don’t be afraid to spend more time and more column inches on the roles and the achievements that truly matter.
If there is one role in your past that you feel is particularly relevant, don’t be afraid to indulge a little and provide some specific examples and case studies proving your value. It’s easier for executive recruiters to understand your accomplishments if they can put them into some context. Impressive sales figures or perhaps a short anecdote about how you solved a specific problem will always go down well and the more tangible the link is between your past achievements and the job you’re applying for, the better.
Aside from your career information, you might also want to consider a little spring cleaning when it comes to completely superfluous information. As far as your personal profile is concerned, stick to your most positive qualities and skills and any hobbies that could be applicable to your career. You might be a keen guitar player and marathon runner, but those facts are unlikely to mean anything in a professional context.
Of course, a CV should be more than just a boilerplate list of previous jobs, but don’t go overboard with the details. ‘Less is more’ might be an old adage, but it speaks volumes here. You are not filling out an online dating profile; you are looking for a job!