Your CV is a summary of your professional story, a snapshot of your career to date and the qualities that make you a great worker. It should be engaging, succinct, smart, and most of all, relevant. Sadly though, we see many CVs that fall far short of the mark, harming the candidates prospects.
As recruiters, we know exactly how to craft the perfect CV. So if you want to learn how, read on for 10 tips to create a perfect CV.
1. Keep it clear and concise
Keep your CV to within 2-3 pages, depending on your volume of experience, even if that means cutting out some of your less relevant experience.
Equally, make sure to include all important and relevant information regarding your skills and experience – if it’s not on your CV, the employer won’t know about it.
They receive dozens of CVs and they’ll want to scan your CV quickly and extract the most important information — so clarity is paramount.
2. Presentation is key
Your CV is a representation of you, so make sure it’s neat and well organized. Pay special attention to consistency in your font, presentation and style of writing.
If you’re considered and well presented on paper, employers will assume this follows through into your work and personality.
Inconsistent line spacing, font and sizing makes your CV look untidy and demonstrates poor attention to detail.
3. Avoid using photos
Photos take up valuable space on a CV that would be better filled with skills and experience.
So, unless it’s specifically relevant to the job you’re applying for, they’re best avoided.
4. Do your research
Carefully consider what the desired role requires and build your CV around your skills and experience that match.
Remember to consider the values of the companies you’re targeting, too. Many companies will explain their core values and culture on their websites.
Understanding this will greatly improve the quality of your application.
5. Check, check, and check again
Spelling, grammar and formatting must be perfect. A single mistake can demonstrate your ineligibility and discredit your entire application, so beware.
Check, read aloud, and consider asking a friend or family member to have a read of it before sending it.
6. Be contactable
Be sure to include your contact details so that employers can reach you.
Bear in mind that any email address you use for work purposes should be professional and regularly monitored.
Include relevant personal details only. Other information such as age, marital status and nationality are not needed on your CV and shouldn’t play a role in your job search (unless requested separately as part of a Diversity and Inclusion monitor).
7. Focus on layout
List your work experience in reverse chronological order – with the most recent role at the top.
Ensure that instead of simply listing your work history, you’re highlighting skills and achievements.
Be careful not to guess or stretch dates of employment to cover gaps; during the referencing process these are often uncovered and make you look dishonest.
8. Explain any gaps
Don’t leave gaps in your CV unexplained. If you’ve had periods of unemployment (and who hasn’t) explain why. Were you travelling, or perhaps looking after a sick relative? Either way, let the employer know so they understand your history.
9. Personality is important
Avoid buzzwords and clichés. If you want to prove that you’re a “hard-working team-player”, give concise examples to demonstrate it, don’t just say it.
When discussing hobbies and interests, ensure they’re relevant.
We all enjoy “socialising with friends”, but this won’t help you land a role. Focus on the things that make you “you”, and the things you’re proud of.
10. Get social
Social media websites like LinkedIn are great for researching companies and their employees.
Follow companies you’re interested in and you’ll get an insight into their achievements, the causes they’re championing and charities they support.
This will give you a good sense of a company’s culture that you can use to aid your application.
It also never hurts to connect with the hiring manger and get your name on their radar before you send your CV.