7 Quick tips to get your CV to the top of the pile
Trying to cram an entire lifetime’s worth of education and experience into a couple of sheets of A4 paper is a tough task. But your CV is crucial to getting the right job, so you need to make the most of the opportunities it offers. Here are some tips to make yours stand out from the rest and get you nearer to landing that dream role.
1. Font of knowledge
Often recruiters spend just a few seconds doing an initial scan of your CV so it needs to look professional and be easily readable. This is not the place to use fancy script fonts or Comic Sans. Use a clear, simple font such as Arial or Calibri, or for senior posts something traditional, perhaps Times New Roman. And – however tempting it might be to pack in as much as you can – don’t make it any smaller than 12-point.
2. Basic information
Make sure the important information is easy to find. Your name and contact details at the top, followed by your employment details, working back from your current job. Make sure you include dates for each role. Use bold to pick out the headings for each section and identify them clearly. Increasingly, recruiters are likely to use AI to do an initial scan of applications, so be sure to include details that are relevant to the post you’re applying for.
3. Kill the vague
Lose any vague statements like, “I am looking for a challenging new role”, that much is obvious from the fact that you’ve sent in a CV. Instead, you should emphasise the skills and experience that make you a suitable candidate for the job. Ideally, your CV shouldn’t be more than three pages long, so you need to be ruthless about what you include.
4. Down with school
Once you’re a few years into your career, your school results and what clubs you belonged to at university become entirely irrelevant to recruiters. Do include your degree subject and any professional qualifications you may have, but the rest of your education can be safely left out.
5. Bite the bullet
Don’t write lengthy, detailed paragraphs about your work experience. Instead, use bullet points to emphasise the key duties and accomplishments in each role. Include as many skills as you can, but make sure they are relevant to the job that you are applying for. Here again, if AI is being used to screen applicants, it will be looking for specific keywords and phrases related to the role.
6. Numbers game
Where possible you should look to quantify your achievements. “Increased sales by £300,000”, “managed 12 client accounts” or “boosted footfall by 50 percent” are all more impressive than statements which don’t have associated values.
7. Check before you send
Before you submit your CV, make sure you proofread it carefully. Don’t just rely on a computer spell check which won’t take account of grammatical errors. If you aren’t confident about your grammar, get a friend to double check it.