If you’re struggling to land job interviews, then your CV is probably letting you down.
But don’t worry… Fixing your CV is not hard when you follow the right advice.
At StandOut CV we help thousands of people to create wining CVs and land their dream jobs, so I have compiled a list of 17 CV help tips to boost your job search.
Research your target roles thoroughly
The number one mistake that I see candidate’s make when writing their CVs happens before they even start writing it.
That mistake… Is failing to do any research into their target jobs.
If you don’t learn what skills and knowledge that your desired employers want to see from candidate’s, then you will not know what content needs to go into your CV.
So, do your research first…
Head over to one of one of the major job websites and run a search for the types of job you are applying for.
Browse through plenty of relevant job adverts and make a list of the most in-demand candidate requirements.
Once you have this list, refer to it throughout the writing of your CV and try to include as many of your matching skills as possible.
Structure your CV for easy navigation
If recruiters and hiring managers find it difficult to read your CV and find the information they need, they will probably skip over it.
Make it easy for recruiters to navigate your CV by using this simple structure below.
Divide sections clearly
To further aid easy navigation of your CV, make sure that you divide each section clearly with bold headings and even borders.
This will mean recruiters are more likely to scan through and find the important facts they are looking for.
Break text up
Big chunky paragraphs are a reader’s worst nightmare, and will certainly deter recruiters and hiring managers from reading your CV.
Break the text in your CV into easily digestible small-paragraphs and one-line bullet points.
This will make a much more pleasant reading experience, and ensure that recruiters stay glued to your CV.
Write a powerful CV profile
Your CV profile is a short introductory paragraph which summarises your skills, experience and knowledge.
It should include things like;
- Industry experience
- Market knowledge
- Types of companies you’ve worked for
- IT skills
Keep it brief and tailor it heavily towards the needs of your target employers, to excite recruiters and encourage them to read your CV in full.
Add a core skills section
To ensure that recruiters stick to your CV, create a snapshot of your talents with a bullet-pointed core skills section.
These short terms spread over two or three columns, highlight your most valuable skills and can be digested from just a quick glance at the CV.
Structure roles properly
If you want recruiters to truly understand the vale you can bring to an employer, you must communicate your roles effectively.
The first stage of doing this, is to structure your roles in a way that makes it easy for you to introduce the role and highlight key features
This annotated role description from an example CV, shows how you should do this:
Avoid generic clichés
If you’re using generic clichés in your CV such as;
“Hard working team player”
“Results driven thought leader”
You are not describing yourself accurately, and you are not impressing anyone.
These tired meaningless phrases are overused and don’t tell recruiters anything factual about you.
Recruiters are interested in cold hard facts like…
- What IT software can you use?
- What product and service knowledge do you have?
- How many years of industry experience do you have?
- What qualifications do you have?
- What clients do you work with?
So, avoid clichés and stick to the facts in your CV.
Prove your impact
It’s important that your CV showcases your skills, but it’s even more important to prove what impact you make with those skills.
So, when writing your CV, don’t just say what you did, but show what the result of your actions where.
For example, don’t just list your actions like this;
“Managing suppliers and agreeing prices for services and products provided”
Instead, show what impact your actions have on the business by expanding to include the results achieved, like this;
“Managing suppliers and negotiating new rates on services to reduce business spending”
By demonstrating your impact, you show how valuable you can be to a future employer.
Use numbers throughout your CV
Words obviously play a big part in your CV, but sometimes they aren’t enough.
If you want to give a precisely accurate description of yourself, you need to include some numbers too.
Numbers give recruiters a clearer picture of your achievements and allow them to understand the scale of your impact, and the level you work at.
Don’t just say,
“I manage a team”
“I manage a team of 25 people”
Don’ just say,
“I manage a budget”
“I manage a budget of £300k”
Adding numbers give much more clarity to your CV.
Use a professional-looking email address
If your CV is labelled with an old email address you created in your teens like, BadBoyzForver69@hotmail.com then you are not setting a professional tone.
Always use a simple address like FirstnameSurname@gmail.com – this will give a much better impression.
Use a clear font
It’s tempting to use an elaborate font when you want to stand out and get noticed, but often the negative effects will outweigh the positives.
Fancy fonts can be difficult to read, so stick to something plain and crisp to provide a pleasant reading experience and a more contemporary look.
Do not add photos
Some people like to add a photo of themselves to the top of their CV to add a personal touch, but personally I think they add no value.
Hiring decisions are made on skill and abilities – not looks.
So, a huge photograph just wastes space that would be better filled with compelling written content.
Give lots of detail on your current role
Recruiters are most interested in your most recent role because it’s usually the best way to gauge your current capabilities, so that’s where you should add the most detail in your CV.
Don’t add your latest role to your CV in a rush if you’re updating an old version. Make sure you shorten some of the older roles to make some more room to add plenty of content to it.
Exceptions: If your current role isn’t highly relevant to the roles you are applying for, then it may be better to draw attention to a different aspect of your CV, such as an older role, your education, or a voluntary role. Just make sure whatever you expand on, it’s relevant to your target roles.
Explain gaps in your employment
Leaving big unexplained gaps in your employment will worry recruiters.
They will often assume the worst and think that you’ve been fired, or out of work doing nothing.
To avoid these negative preconceptions about employment gaps, be up front and explain them in a positive manner.
For example, you may have had some time off to travel or spend with family.
Or maybe you took time out to train or complete a personal project.
And having time off for serious illness is nothing to be ashamed off either – a good employer will not discriminate against you for it.
Don’t add too many contact details
When it comes to your contact details, all recruiters need to know from your CV is:
- What your name is
- Where you can work
- How to call and email you
In the early stages of recruitment nobody needs to know your full address, date of birth, marital status etc.
These details are surplus to requirement and waste lots of valuable space.
There’s also no need to include references on your CV.
CV Help – Start landing more interviews
Hopefully these CV help tips have given you some good guidance to get your CV back on track.
If you can demonstrate your skills, knowledge and impact in a well-structured 2-page document, you should start to pick up interviews quickly.
You can also check out our CV writing guide and example CVs for further guidance.
Good luck with your job search!