Customise your CV towards specific organisations, industries or roles. Keep it short by sticking to the facts. Bring key selling points to the forefront. Showcase your positive attitude. Avoid typos and mistakes.
When you have decided to start looking for your next career challenge the excitement of a fresh start can be really motivating… until you realise one of the first hurdles is updating your CV.
No one looks forward to it… you just have to get your head down and do it because if you really want an exciting new job, it’s worth it (and necessary) to put some effort in.
Your CV is the sort of thing that arguably will never be perfect. You can always make adjustments and improvements, and different employers may look for different things. So when you’re reviewing it the most important thing to ask yourself – “is it worthy of the job I want?
1. Tailor it
Make the effort to adjust your CV for each job you apply for. Tailoring your CV for specific roles and organisations shows the employer you have really thought about your application and it demonstrates passion for the role.
For example – if you are applying to work for a large corporate company – be sure to highlight previous large company experience, large scale projects or industry relevant exposure you may have had and what you enjoyed about it.
2. Trim the fat
While 1-2 pages is still the general desired length for a CV, what matters more overall is how you write and present each section of your CV and the order of the information.
Use your opening statement as a way of summing up your passion and suitability for the job you want. 1-2 sentences should suffice, so try your best to be succinct and if you can manage it – why not see if you can limit it to the length of a tweet?
Resist the urge to use too many descriptive words throughout - sticking to the facts and using direct language helps keep the word count down and is easier to read.
When explaining your current and previous experience – use bullet points (1 line max per point ideally) to sum up the key aspects and responsibilities of each role. Where possible keep the most relevant as high in the order as you can. This means the employer can read your CV and get the relevant information quickly – which will give you an advantage.
3. Don’t hide the best bits
Some people have the tendency to be modest in their CV - but as the saying goes actions speak louder than words. If you have major achievements amongst your experience, big project wins, awards or great success in something you worked on don’t hide them at the bottom, put them at the top of the relevant section.
Having relevant experience and skills is of interest to an employer, but proof that you have succeeded in something relevant will impress them even more.
4. Demonstrate your mindset
Things have moved on as we are in the midst of the digital transformation era. Employers are not only interested in you demonstrating your skillset, they also want to know about the way you think and behave to decide if that will work in their business environment.
Use an example of your experience or achievements to outline either why you were successful or what you learned from it. This sort of detail is often asked about in the interview stage, but if you can fit it into your CV, it might just get you an invitation for interview where you can explain in further detail.
5. Get it checked
One of the golden rules of updating your CV will always be ensuring you have correct spelling and grammar, and so asking someone else to double check for you helps discover anything you may have missed.
While they are checking it – ask them if they can pick what role it is you are applying for just by reading it. Don’t tell them first, see if they can guess, and if they found it easy to read and understand. If your CV is clear to them it will also be to the employer you are applying to.