Top Tips for Creating the Perfect CV

9th September 2020

 

  1. Think like an employer

When creating or working on your CV, try to adopt the mindset of an employer and imagine how they would see your CV.

It can sometimes be hard writing about yourself as you will have had personal experiences in each job and may have preferred some to others. But try to think about whether your CV would grab their attention and showcase your skills and experience in the best way, especially if they were to receive many others for the job role and only had a few seconds to view yours. In this competitive market, don’t be afraid to talk about your skills and achievements.

Take out anything that is irrelevant and use the job advert to target the CV to the role and the employer, and ensure you proofread for any grammatical or spelling errors.

  1. Tailor your CV to the position you are applying for; your CV gets you to an interview, not the job

Your CV is a short introduction to your skills and how you would be beneficial to the company, allowing you to successfully secure an interview. You may have a generic CV in place already, but when applying for jobs always tailor your CV. Use the person specification  to see what qualifications, skills and experience are important in the role, and look at the job description to understand the responsibilities of the job to make sure your CV is targeted to the role and the employer.

  1. Less is often more

The CV should be concise and ideally no more than 2 pages. Therefore, ensure you remove everything that is irrelevant and does not add any value to the role which may distract the employer. This could include your full address, your references, job responsibilities which go back decades, and hobbies that are not adding any real value to the potential job. Make sure you use every line to sell yourself and illustrate what benefit you have to the company and position.

  1. Account for gaps

If there are any gaps in your CV try to fill these with things you were doing during this period that may be attractive to an employer. For example, if you were doing any work experience, part time work, volunteering, or self-study, this could be included in the CV.

If the gap was recent and none of the above apply during this time, be honest but explain it in a positive light, and make it clear that you are ready and able to go back to work. (There are many examples here: https://www.reed.co.uk/career-advice/how-to-explain-a-gap-in-your-cv/ ).

Another way to reduce gaps in the CV is by omitting the month you started/completed job roles and just putting the year.

  1. Think outputs and outcomes (what I have done and what the result is)

In order to impress a potential employer, it is not sufficient to just list your past job responsibilities as this doesn’t reveal anything about your real performance, but instead mention your key achievements. For example, ‘Increased the number of clients by 25 % within 6 months’, or ‘Reduced the number of complaints from 50% to 10% from the previous year’. Do not hold back on mentioning your achievements.  Employers like to know that you can make a difference in the workplace.

  1. Create a coherent narrative

Employers want to read a CV that makes it very clear as to how you can benefit them. They want to see a coherent narrative through your roles and achievements that give them confidence you have the skills and knowledge in place to do the job well.  So ensure your CV presents a convincing argument to support your value to the company, and is relevant to the types of roles you aim to take on.

And finally…

  1. Please remember that your CV is your advert and NOT your autobiography

Employers do not need your occupational life story.  They simply need to be persuaded you’re your qualifications, skills and experience are a perfect match for the demands of the role they need filling.  So make sure you show them!

 

We are here to help!  Please look out for our online CV workshop, and book a one to one appointment: www.theworkavenue.org.uk/meeting