Studies show that recruiters typically scan a CV for just six seconds before making a decision on the applicant. So if you’re searching for your dream job, making sure your CV is as impressive as possible should be the number one priority. Your resume is usually the first chance to get noticed by a potential employer, and, as there are generally more candidates out there than roles, you want it to dazzle. From choosing the right font to prioritising the most relevant information, we offer some top tips for producing an outstanding CV.
Prioritise and craft your content well
With such a brief window available to impress, make sure your content is concise, well prioritised, straightforward and honest. Include a brief summary at the top with high-level information about your skills and experience that relate specifically to the role. If you have worked in the field for more than a few years mention this and make sure all your content earns its place on the page. There’s no room for vagueness, humble bragging or repeating yourself and absolutely no place for truth-stretching or large gaps in your career path that you haven’t accounted for.
Make sure it’s faultless
Even the smallest grammatical or spelling error could affect your chances of landing an interview. Alongside the usual spell check software, you could also try using free tools like Grammarly and Hemingway which help with grammar, sentence structure and length and advise on when you’re using passive language. Remember that some tools may not pick up on things like missing or repeated words or incorrect tenses. After you have proofed it a handful of times, ask a friend or two to give it a thorough review.
Make your CV easy to scan
Your recruiter is likely to look through dozens, if not hundreds of CVs. The last thing you want it to add to their workload with a poorly structured, overly-wordy document. Opt for a font that is easy to read such as Times New Roman, Arial, Calibri or Garamond and choose a font size of around 12 ideally and no less than 10.5. Never use novelty fonts, even if they are your usual preference - they just don’t look professional.
All the sections of your CV should be lined up neatly with subheadings to draw attention to each section and bullets to format and segment your skills, experience and achievements. If you’re struggling to format the content, take a look at the many free templates available online. Try to keep your CV to two or three pages and try to position the different sections so they flow well over the page breaks.
Make your CV relevant
It can be a challenge to adapt your CV every time you apply for a role, but it’s well worth targeting the content to appeal to each recruiter. What are the aspects of your experience that are most relevant to them? If the role involves managing a team, have you clarified your successes in this area? Whatever you do, don’t use generic language or stock responses. You want to stand out, after all!
To gain extra credibility points try to include the right language for the industry but don’t weigh it down with jargon - it must sound natural and demonstrate your understanding of the sector.
Update your LinkedIn profile
Employers will often cross-reference your CV with your LinkedIn page so it’s worth revisiting your profile to make sure it is up to date, well-written and that it’s a good showcase for your skills and experience. LinkedIn is a great platform for directing employers to testimonials, or recommendations, something the conventional resume doesn’t offer. If you don’t have these for recent or key roles already, get in touch with former managers or colleagues and ask if they would mind submitting one. You can always offer to submit one in return as an extra incentive.
If you have other professional social media channels that relate to your work, consider linking to these from your CV. Be aware that your personal channels may also be viewed, so adjust your privacy settings accordingly!
Clarify your achievements
Don’t fall into the trap of simply listing all your skills and experiences without giving examples of what you achieved in each role. Aside from adding credibility, showing you have ambition and take pride in your work, stating what you achieved helps your prospective employer to imagine what you could do for their business.
Try to use examples of different types of accomplishments that will encourage the recruiter to think about the ways you’ll benefit them and their business. Include some relating to revenue generation or winning new business, some that demonstrate an innovative approach to an aspect of your role. Perhaps you used your initiative to improve business processes or identified an opportunity for engaging colleagues in a project that had previously struggled to gain interest.
Your CV checklist
Don’t press send on that application without checking you have included the following:
We hope these tips on producing an outstanding CV have been useful. If you would like to find out more about how Bramwith could help you find the role you’ve been looking for contact us today.
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