When you apply for a job, your potential employers don’t know how smart and enthusiastic you are. They don’t know how much you brought to your previous company, or that you have great design skills. All they have to go on is your CV, and if that doesn’t tell them the important things about you in a clear and easy-to-read way, then they will never know that you’re the perfect candidate. Follow our top CV tips to ensure your CV is successful and attracts the right attention.
Successful CV Tips
Here are some things you can do to ensure that your CV gets your foot in the door.
Make it look good
First impressions are everything when it comes to a CV. Make sure it’s not too cramped and you keep it clear by using bullet points. Ensure all your sections have clear headings to make it easy to skim over. Keep white space in between the sections so they are clearly identifiable.
If you’re applying for a creative role, utilise your skills and show your employer what you can do! Not only does this show what you’re capable of, but it also makes your CV stand out from the crowd!
Formatting is crucial, especially if you’re applying for a role that relies heavily on document presentation skills. Formatting errors will jump off the page and damage the reader’s impression of you – and you only have one chance at a first impression. If you put a full stop at the end of a bullet point, make sure that there’s a full stop at the end of every bullet point. If you want to list your achievements in columns, ensure that they are equally spaced and structured. If you capitalise one job title, capitalise all of them.
Don’t let a spelling mistake or typo scupper your chances by making you appear careless in your work. Take the time to proofread your CV thoroughly or, even better, get someone else to take a look at it for you. Don’t just rely on spell check (and, if you are using it, make sure it’s set to UK English rather than US English). There are plenty of free tools out there that can help you check your spelling and grammar – we recommend using Grammarly!
Ensure all your contact details are on the CV
It’s a basic staple of a CV, but it’s surprising how many people forget to put their email address or phone number on it. Triple-check for any typos in your essential contact details, you’d be surprised how many people miss a number out of their phone number.
When providing your email address make sure you’re not using an old embarrassing email address that you’ve had since a teenager – keep it professional.
Top tip – Add your LinkedIn profile. Make sure all your information is up to date, make your profile stand out and utilise the platform! LinkedIn is a great way to make show yourself off to potential employers.
Lead with skills and achievements
Don’t just put a block of copy under every job detailing the day-to-day tasks you carried out in that role. Instead, list the skills and achievements you gained while working there, and explain a little bit about them. Where possible, quantify the work you’ve done and show results. For example, increased sales by 15%.
Tailor your CV for the job
If you’re applying for a number of different types of jobs, then prepare tailored CVs for each. What would sell you well for a document production job won’t necessarily be the best way to sell yourself for a team leader role. Focus on the skills that are applicable to the job you are applying for. Look at the job specification and relate your experience to their requirements as much as you can.
Keep it simple
Employers on average spend six to eight seconds scanning CVs, so your first impression really does count. Don’t go over two pages and avoid heavy blocks of text. Employers will be looking for keywords, so you want to make them noticeable. Don’t be afraid of bullet points, or of putting key phrases in bold so that they stand out.
Keep it positive
Don’t mention any failures and don’t complain about a former employer. It will make you sound defensive and unprofessional.