Top 10 tips to improve your CV

Have you started your job search? Dusted off that old CV from your emails several years ago?  The first stages of seeking new employment usually start with finding the CV you had from your last role, and just adding a bit and then applying for multiple roles via a jobsite. This is how the majority of people apply for jobs and on average 250 applications are received for a particular role, so how do you stand out from the crowd? Hooray recruitment represents high quality candidates and we know what a great CV looks like – here are my top tips to improve your CV and increase the likelihood of that exciting first call back.

  1. If you are starting out on your first CV, you can use a template from the internet or you can ask your friends to send you their CV and look at what looks attractive to you. I would recommend being specific with the structure- think about what you want recruiters to notice. Likely if you think it looks good, so will recruiters, however try to avoid too much graphics or features as a busy CV can distract from the essential elements you want to emphasise such as skills or experience.


  1. Think about structure – often recruiters only spend an average of 5-7 seconds looking at your CV – make sure it is punchy and brief to make an impact. The best structure is most recent job first and in backwards chronological order so that they can know your most recent and relevant experience, which is what they are most interested in. Also space out your roles and divide your CV into sections such as work experience, education, and interests.


  1. What type of role are you applying for – ideally it would be best to look at the job description of the role you are applying for and tailoring it to match, emphasising the skills and abilities they are looking for. This is the best way to ensure you get noticed- it is time consuming but definitely worth it as the effort really shows.


  1. Be brief – try to keep your CV to 2 pages as best you can- recruiters and HR professionals don’t need to know full details of every role you have ever undertaken- if the experience is irrelevant to the job you are applying for, reduce the level of detail to maximum a few lines and try to emphasise the relevant experience to the role you are going for by adding detail, especially if it matches duties or skills outlined on the job description.


  1. Stay current – an out of date CV will always mean that recruiters may discount you as you haven’t put skills or experience on there that you do have or think that you have not made an effort for a role that they are recruiting for- this may decrease the likelihood you will be shortlisted. So put your latest experience and update your interests and education as you may need to pretend you still like skateboarding which was on your CV when you were 18.


  1. Put the right contact details- in this day and age of identity theft, I would recommend that you don’t put your full address on the CV, best idea to put your local area such as Jane Smith – Churchdown and only put the details you want to be contacted on in. It is important to update all your contact details and ensure they are up to date and in a place on your CV that they can be immediately noticed. You would be surprised the number of people I call with out of service numbers who have now likely missed out on an exciting opportunity.


  1. Stand out – To ensure you are noticed, a brief profile about what you are looking for or a description of your personality traits in a professional manner can help recruiters get to know you and explain why you are looking for a certain role; e.g. I am a driven and professional salesperson looking for work in a creative industry.


  1. Try to avoid too much of a personal touch- i.e. family details, number of dogs etc as this may not come across as professional as you would like to appear, however hobbies or interests are good to put on there to add a new dimension to you and to see if you fit in with the work atmosphere.


  1. Please check spelling and grammar- if it is not your strong suit, ask someone you know to help you- even if you are skilled at editing it, it is always a good idea to have someone else proof read it. Spelling and grammar mistakes can put off a potential recruiter, especially if a role involves paying attention to detail.


  1. Think about your profile on CV websites too–ensure you have also updated your profile as well as your CV on the site- if people are searching for your CV an old detail such as you are still looking in a certain area may get you excluded from a search and mean you may miss out on a role.

These tips are by all means not exhaustive but I hope that it helps you when you start seeking your next challenge! If you have any questions and would like to register with us to help with your job search, we can give further advice on your CV please call on 01242 300228 or email and we promise to get back to you.