How to improve your CV
Writing a CV is easy! Let’s be completely honest, it is. Anyone can write a CV – list all their skills, qualifications, complete work history, and so on. However, writing a professional CV to a high standard is a far different story.
This article is aimed at anyone looking to improve their CV – even if they don’t think it needs it. No matter how great your CV currently is there still may be room for improvement. Especially if you don’t have the exact experience that your prospective employer is looking for.
Fortunately, there is plenty of help out there to get you on track. Follow these easy tips to ensure your CV is as polished as it could be, and make some important improvements today…
Choose the right CV template
Did you know that you can download and choose from hundreds of free CV templates? Well if you didn’t, you do now!
Gone are the days when you had to sit for hours in front of your computer trying to create your own template. You can now simply select one you like, and let us take some of the burden away from you. Focus upon the quality and content of your writing, and have a more stress free job hunting experience.
However, not all templates are equal! Your CV template should be neatly laid out and professional, allowing recruiters to quickly spot what they’re looking for. A brief three line personal statement at the top is a great place to summarise how you meet the job specification.
Don’t rely on your spell checker
Spell checkers often confused on the rules of language. If you use the wrong word but spell it correctly, you may find it isn’t flagged. Get two or three academic or professional people to look over your CV for errors. Don’t just rely on your own eyes and the spell checker!
Tailor your CV to every job
It takes a lot longer but it will increase your chances of success dramatically. Highlight the skills, experience and qualifications that the employer wants, particularly when writing your personal statement.
Choosing to simply list all of your skills will only succeed in frustrating the hiring manager. Instead, just select the most relevant ones if you can. The same goes for your qualifications and career history. Try to keep the irrelevant information down to a minimum, and make sure you expand upon what’s important.
Tailor the cover letter
If you don’t meet the exact job specification, you can still explain to the employer why you can do the job. Use a cover letter to address this in more detail, and show how passionate you are.
For example, the employer wants 2 years of management experience. You’ve never been a manager before, but in your current role you’ve been leading and supervising a team of 5 people for the past 2 years. Although your exact title was not that of a ‘manager’, you are clearly already demonstrating your leadership qualities.
Another example: The employer wants 2 years of management experience. You’re not a manager in your current role, but on weekends you lead a team of 10 at a voluntary project for your local charity.
Add a ‘core skills’ section
The employer doesn’t have a lot of time to read through your every CV, and will want to quickly check you can do the job. You might have 5 years’ experience as a secretary, but the recruiter wants to know:
- How fast you can type
- Whether you can do shorthand
- Whether you’ve typed to dictation
- Which software packages you’re used to
It’s easier to skim through a bullet pointed list of skills than to pour over a lengthy job description – so make key information visible in an instant with a ‘core skills’ section.