Your essential CV checklist
Your CV is your passport to that new job - make sure it doesn't let you down. Here are our quick top 10 tips to make sure your application stands out from the crowd.
1. Spelling mistakes. Spelling mistakes stick out like a sore thumb to recruiters so just one careless error can make the difference. The most common one? Driving ‘license’ when it should be ‘licence’. It’s easy to miss your own typos so get someone else to proof read your CV for you.
2. Keep it brief. Two pages are right for the majority of people. Remember most recruiters spend less than 30 seconds reading each CV on initial sift so try to get all the important information on the first page. Engage the reader and leave them wanting more.
3. Keep the format clean and clutter free. Presentation is everything. Don’t over design your CV. Keep the format simple, easy to navigate and with clearly marked headings. Don’t try to cram in too much information. Use typefaces like Arial or Tahoma which are easy to read.
4. Reverse chronological or functional CV? Reverse chronological CVs tend to be favoured by people applying for jobs similar to the one they’re in. If you’re moving into a very different kind of role then a functional CV (emphasising skills and competencies first) may be for you. In practice, you can combine both styles.
5. Write in third person. You can highlight your achievements and sound much more professional when not saying ‘I’ all the time. ‘A resourceful project manager with a keen sense of delivery’ sounds better than ‘I am a resourceful project manager and I am always keen to deliver’.
6. Your Professional Profile is the most important section. It’s the first thing that’s read and your best opportunity to impress. Keep it short, punchy and original. It should outline what’s going to make you excel in the role applied for.
7. Think achievements not duties. Your CV isn’t a job description, it’s a sales document. So don’t hold back. Think about all those wonderful things you’ve achieved and shout about them. Use facts and figures wherever possible to back up your claims.
8. Use keywords. Most job board technology allows recruiters to search free text for relevant key words so think carefully about which are the most important competencies or criteria in your line of work. The more keywords you have (eg customer service, team work etc.) the higher up their list of CVs you will be.
9. Your covering letter should complement your CV. 30% of recruiters won’t even read your CV unless the covering letter impresses first. But don’t just repeat what’s on your CV. Confirm who you are, which job you’re applying for and most importantly - why you believe you’re the best person for the job.
10. Tailor your application for each new job. Aim to have a generic CV that you can tweak for each application. Try to mirror the language used by the employer and align your skills to those being sought. You’ll reap the rewards by taking an individual approach for each job applied for.