5 tips for creating a stand-out CV
While a great CV alone won’t get you a job, it gets you on the road towards it. More importantly it will help you reach the interview stage. Therefore, it is a vital document and something that is well worth spending time on. Don’t think of it as chore – see it as an investment in your future.
Once you’ve created a core CV you are pleased with it is easily adjusted to make it relevant to each application and allows you to quickly apply for jobs as soon as you find them.
Here are our top 5 steps to writing your winning CV
- Don’t forget the basics – Most CVs only receive between 20 and 90 seconds of initial reading time. Make sure that you convey the critical information and don’t hide it in a lot of blurb.The general rule is that a CV shouldn’t be longer than 3 pages in length, ideally it should fit on 2. If you’ve had several roles this will require some cleaver editing. Keep the information on older jobs brief, leaving space to cover your more recent achievements in greater detail.Don’t forget to ensure the simple things, like your name and contact information are clear and easy to find, and above all correct. Use an email address that you check regularly and try to avoid unprofessional email addresses, if needs be create a new account with a professional sounding name – ie no firstname.lastname@example.org
- Play it safe – while delivering your CV iced onto a cake might get you noticed, it might not necessarily be for the right reasons. When it comes to creating your CV, play it safe and keep it conventional. Use word, limit the use of fancy fonts, too many colours or over complicated formatting and refrain from adding a photo. This will ensure that your CV will be delivered, can be opened, and easily read by recruiters.
- Tailoring is essential – Tailoring your CV is not an option – it is essential. Each vacancy will be looking for a different combination of skills and experience and each organisation has its own culture and style. Your CV has to show how you fit a specific role and environment. One size won’t fit all. With perhaps 200 people applying for any one job you have to shout loud and clear how you meet the specific requirements of any job you are applying for.Many people write CVs that try and prove they can be everything to everyone. This “generalist” approach means breadth not depth. Most roles are looking for depth somewhere – be that technical expertise, sector experience or proven ability to deliver projects. Make sure your CV demonstrates exactly what the advertisement is asking for.
- Get a second opinion – Before you do anything thoroughly review your finished document to make sure there are no errors and that the formatting is spot on. It is always a good idea to run it past those whose opinion you trust. Ask for honest feedback after only 20 seconds of reading. Have they recalled your four or five key messages? Before you send it anywhere, check it again for any errors.
- Keep it consistent – Remember that recruiters will also view your LinkedIn or other social media profiles, so ensure that your online profile is consistent with your CV. These should always be updated at the same time and reflect each other. If there are inconsistencies, such as different job titles, employment dates or missing roles. It will cast doubt over you as an applicant, even if there are very valid reasons for this.
Whether you’re just starting out or already have an established career, creating a stand-out CV is an essential tool for anyone looking to further their career. If you’re planning on a move then read our quick tips for January job seekers and if you’re looking for your next HR role then please do get in touch with or view our latest HR vacancies.