Our 20 simple tips will help you fine-tune your CV. These include using an easy to read font, placing your work experience above your education and keeping your job descriptions/responsibilities short and simple.
There's no doubt a complete CV overhaul is important every now and then.
Taking a few hours to really clean it up, or even start from scratch is invaluable if you're on the job hunt. But we all know it can be tricky to find the time to do this - and this can quickly become a major obstacle stopping you from finding a new job.
If you're just looking for a quick tune up, here's 20 quick CV fixes you can do in less than 20 minutes:
1. Switch your font to Georgia, Arial, or Calibri.
Don't overcomplicate things by opting for a fancy font. There's a reason these fonts are so common - they're readable!
2. But don't use Times New Roman.
Times New Roman lacks certain typographical subtleties, actually making it harder to read at a glance.
3. Need more space?
The recommended length for a CV is between 1 and 3 pages, but if you've shortened it down as much as you can and are still struglling for space, reduce your top and bottom margins to 0.5" and your side margins to no less than 0.75".
4. Include clear signposts.
Clearly signpost key headers like education and experience by increasing font size and making them bold. This makes it easier for recruiters to skim to the relevant section.
5. Add divider lines between relevant sections.
6. Remove your address.
While there's no need to include overly-personal details like your age, gender or address, studies show even innocuous details like where you're from may affect your chances of getting an interview.
7. Remove your DOB.
See above! And read: 9 things you need to take off your CV right now.
8. Include a link to your LinkedIn profile.
Don't forget to include a hyperlink to your shiny, wonderfully-kept LinkedIn profile.
9. Watch your spacing.
Increase your line spacing to two points above the size of your font (so if your font is 12 point, switch it to 14).
10. Type out acronyms in full.
They may be well-known industry terms, but for the odd person or two who might not be aware, including an acronym in your CV might hinder your chances of getting the job. Find any acronyms and make sure you type out the whole thing first. E.g. Certified Public Accountant (CPA). This will also help any parsing software pick up your key terms.
11. Lose the visuals.
Get rid of any photos or visual elements unless you've been asked to provide one. They can be distracting and are unnecessary.
12. Gaps in employment.
If you have any gaps of a few months in your employment history where you were unemployed, sometimes it's a good idea to swap out the start and end dates with years. This helps keep the attention where it should be, on your relevant experience.
13. Keep job descriptions short and simple.
Make sure you don't have any more than six bullet points of information for your position. It doesn't matter how good you think they are, they won't get read.
14. Prioritise your work experience.
Move the experience section above education if it isn’t already. Your degree isn't the most important thing about you anymore!
15. Get rid of "references available upon request".
If you haven't already, remove this unnecessary statement from your CV. It's stating the obvious and taking up space.
16. Double check formatting is consistent.
You'll want all headers to be in the same style, all bullet points to match and all indentations to line up.
17. Spell check!
18. Read it aloud.
It's the best way of identifying any awkward or strange-sounding phrases.
19. Save the file as PDF.
That way the formatting won't be mixed up if, for example, you type it up on Word but it gets opened in Libre Office.
20. Change the file name to put your name at the front.
It stands out and can be searched for more easily.
For more advice on CV writing, take a look at our CV writing section.