Top 10 tips for CV success
As you can expect, as recruiters we spend countless hours of the day reviewing CV’s and as you can imagine we see some horrors… spelling mistakes, poor layouts, huge gaps in career history, clip art images all over the show – we’ve even had one before without any contact details on it!
Now don’t get me wrong, I do understand that CV writing is something that people often struggle with but believe me, it should not be an arduous task!
So what happens if you have a poor CV?
Hiring managers don’t always have time to decipher messy resumes or call a candidate to attain missing information. Did you know that the average employer spends between 5 and 7 seconds looking at a CV before making their judgement? CVs that are not presented correctly, use multiple fonts, read like an essay, or are missing vital information subsequently end up being passed over.
Once you know how, putting together a good CV is easy and our aim is to give you some hints and tips that’ll get you on the right track.
1. Keep it presentable and easily legible
- Stick to one font, remember that you’ll probably come back to it at a later date to edit it
- Avoid using tables, the formatting does not always translate well when emailed over
- Keep it concise, hirers are often very busy
- Don’t use photographs or imagery unless it is relevant, they can be a huge distraction from the important information
2. Specify roles and responsibilities
- Remember to include your individual job roles that you have undertaken with an employer – you may have transferred roles so be clear on your specific responsibilities in each role
- Include a brief bullet-pointed list of your main responsibilities, this doesn’t need to be exhaustive but it’s important that prospective employers know what skills you’ve acquired
3. Get your dates right
- Be specific about the dates you started and left each position, employers will question if there are gaps in your CV so be sure to make them match up
- Press F7 before it goes anywhere. Spelling and grammatical errors are possibly the biggest pet hate to employers reading your CV, those red squiggles are there for a reason.
5. Keep things in order
- Make sure your contact details are right at the top (name, contact number, email address, and home address) – nothing is more frustrating than hunting for a number to contact applicants on
- The best practice for detailing employment history is to start from your most recent position and work your way backwards
6. Explain any gaps
- Don’t brush over gaps in employment, whether you were caring for an ailing family member, raising children, travelling or just looking for work, include a short sentence explaining this
- Equally if you were unemployed but took a temporary role or volunteered don’t forget to include it
7. Don’t be overzealous
- Try and stick to a maximum of 4 pages for your CV. If you’ve been in employment for a long time then there’s no need to go back to day dot with full details of each role. Use your common sense as to when to stop.
- Keep your personal profile brief with just a few key competencies and achievements, anything too long will be skimmed over
- Focus on grabbing their attention and remember that you (potentially) have the interview to really sell yourself so don’t waffle on
8. Keep interests relevant
- Everyone enjoys socialising and spending time with their friends, it’s irrelevant. Your interests should demonstrate a skill or particular personality trait
- Sports activities are always good as they suggest an ability to work as part of a team and any volunteering work looks great too
9. Choose a sensible and professional file name
- A long file name with an assortment of numbers, upper and lower case letters looks messy and gives a bad first impression
- Stick to your first name, surname and “CV” on the end, then you literally could not have made it any clearer
10. Double check it!
- Have a family member, partner, or friend look over it for you – they may spot mistakes that you have missed! After staring at a document for too long we tend to miss minor details and a fresh pair of eyes is needed to pick up on them
Still not convinced that you know where to start? Take a look at our CV Template here for a step in the right direction.
A CV is the first impression that a potential hirer will have of your competencies – don’t fall at the first hurdle!