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Time to Update your CV? Here's how to make it Perfect

Time to Update your CV? Here's how to make it Perfect

It’s time to update your CV. A task that is dreaded by many. What are employers looking for? How can you make the most out of your skills in just the recommended two pages?

You probably will have seen some of the creative CVs which have made big brands stand up and take notice, and you might be wondering whether you should inject a little something extra in yours. For example, Airbnbs once had a candidate who mirrored their website with her CV in order to demonstrate her understanding of the travel industry. However, these types of creative CVs aren’t for everyone. If you’re going for a role at a corporate company, this probably isn’t the best approach, where as a creative startup might welcome this sort of thing. 

Here are a couple of quick tips to get your CV in top shape, ready to send out into the world.

1.      A clear and concise opening paragraph

Open your CV with a brief paragraph, summarising the most relevant facts, skills and experience in just a few neat sentences. You may need to tailor this section to ensure that your key skills match the advertised role. It is said that some employers spend as little as 45 seconds skimming a CV before deciding whether it is of interest, a maybe or a straight up no. Make your opening profile stand out with its relevence.

2.      Tailor your CV

According to a survey by Careerbuilder, 79% of hiring managers said that they pay more attention to CVs that are tailored to their open position. If you are targeting a number of different companies, write out a spreadsheet with the names of the companies and the job you’re applying for. Then tailor each of your CV to suit those roles and companies. You might find the chance to get creative if it is appropriate for one of the companies you are targeting.

3.      Get experience

If you’re a recent graduate, and don’t have much experience on your CV, then work experience is an absolute must have.  According to research, 95% of employers want to see experience on the CV of graduate applicants. Start applying for internships in the industry you want to work in, look for volunteer work or Saturday jobs. This will show employers that you have work ethic and while you’re there you will gain confidence and learn more about the working world. Don’t be afraid of taking unpaid work either, the experience will pay off in the end.

4.      Keywords count

Keywords in your CV are necessary. This will help your CV to get past software scans when people are searching for someone with your skill set. However, don’t spam your CV by repeating words where they’re not necessary, this will make your application look unprofessional and will be hard to read. In fact, in a survey by Careerbuilder 41% of hiring managers said that they would reject a CV that had a large amount copied from the job spec.

5.      Education

On your CV you’ll need to include any degree, college, A-level and GCSE grades or equivalents. Don't forget to a Make note of any relevant extra-curricular activities too, these show that you are willing to learn new things and take on more projects.  

6.      Work experience

When you list your skills use words such as planned, organised, arranged and created. You should relate skills from previous jobs to how you could use them in the role you are applying for. If you've been working a while now and have had a string of jobs then list the most recent ones. The employer probably wont be interested in how you worked in your local chippy on Fridays when you were 15. 

7.      List your interests

This is a section that needs to be short and to the point. Key thing here is to avoid those boring phrasessuch as “socialising with friends” (yawn). Also, watch out for listing too much that makes you sound like you are not very socialble/a team player, such as reading. Write down sports you play and any hobbies that demonstrate something about you, such as your sense of adventure or your ability to work in a team. What do your hobbies say about your personality?  Do they show you as a planner, a hunter, confident or that you can work in a team?

8.      Presentation

Your CV should be in a readable font and in a reasonable size (calibri or something similar, size 11). Avoid any fancy tables or formating. Use bold for headings and break down long paragraphs into bullet points. Don’t over crowd your CV. 13% of hiring managers in the Careerbuilder survey said that they reject CVs that have too much text and not enough white space. (Oh, and make sure the correct contact details are on the top!)

9.      Spelling and grammar

In a survey by Careerbuilder, it was found that 61% of CVs with spelling mistakes or typos were immediately rejected. Spell and grammar check your CV. Then get a friend to check it too. Then check it again. Nothing puts employers off quite like spelling mistakes. Even more awkward if you have “attention to detail” listed as a skill on your CV next to a spelling error.

10.  The perfect length

It is important to have a CV that is informative and concise. Something that can be pretty hard if you have tons of experience. Here is a tip to help you break it down a little: Start by making a list of the most relevant skills and experience for the job you are applying, then if it starts going on to two pages, cut it down.  CVs which are more that two pages long were rejected by 22% of the hiring managers surveyed by Careerbuilder. However, keep your key skills listed on the page, 30% of CVs which don’t have any skills listed get rejected from the get go.

We've had some very long CVs come through our doors, one even had a contents page... keep it to two pages, trust us. 

Send us your CV, we’d be happy to give you a few pointers and help you to find the role you are looking for.

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