How To Improve The Quality of Your CV
by Chris Carr
Your CV can be skimmed in as little as 7 seconds. Wouldn't it be great to know exactly what hiring managers are looking for to help you stand out from other applicants?
Improve the quality of your CV by focusing on the actions that make a positive difference:
- Prioritise the user-friendliness of your CV. Use bullet-pointed descriptions throughout, which are far easier to digest than large chunks of text.
- Where the job requires a specific qualification get those initials after your name and refer to the qualification again in your personal statement. If you've got it, flaunt it.
- Avoid self-diagnosis in your personal statement – keep it factual, and no longer than four lines of text. Include areas of expertise, years' experience, relevant qualifications and information about your suitability for that specific job.
- Most hiring managers will jump straight to your Employment History, particularly your most recent roles – don't put hurdles in their way with unnecessary summaries or content.
- Help the reader understand more about the companies you have worked for by describing them in terms of size, industry, expertise, headcount and turnover.
- It is tempting to make job titles sound more impressive than they actually are. Don't – reference checks will catch you out! Note your official titles, explaining anything misleading in a snappy bullet point underneath.
- List dates of employment by months not years, for example, October 2017 to April 2018 rather than 2017–2018. Take the opportunity to explain any gaps in employment.
- If you've held multiple roles with the same employer, break down your length of service by the job titles held. Include responsibilities for each role, demonstrating your flexibility and breadth of experience.
- The best CVs list job-specific achievements – include projects, initiatives and general successes under each relevant role on your CV.
- Detail your IT experience with a list of systems used, and where applicable the level of proficiency held.
For more advice read our insider's guide to simple actions you can take which will make a positive difference to your CV.