January is a busy time in recruitment. With the new year, many workers take a moment to consider whether or not it’s time for a new move in their career. In fact, at the end of 2018, we ran a survey to find out just how many people would be looking for a new job this year. A huge 84% of our website visitors said they would be looking to move jobs in 2019.
Starting a job search can be a daunting process, especially when faced with the prospect of updating your CV. If you’re looking to move roles this year, here are some tips to help get you started with getting your CV into shape.
1. Where to start
Don’t start by putting ‘CV’ or ‘Curriculum Vitae’ at the top. You have limited space to impress recruiters, don’t waste any of it with irrelevant information. Instead, use your name, professional title and contact details to start off your CV, giving the recruiter all the details they need to get hold of you.
2. Make the right things stand out
Be strategic with what you want to highlight on the page. You can use different font sizes and weights to draw a recruiter’s eye to the most important elements of your CV. Make sure these are the most relevant elements for the job you’re applying to.
3. Make it easy to read
It is essential that you choose a font that is clear and easy to read. You don’t have to be boring and stick to Times New Roman, but make sure you don’t distract the recruiter with your choice. Sans serif fonts tend to be clear and have a modern look. Whatever you do, avoid Comic Sans! Check out Helvetica, Verdana or Arial for some inspiration.
4. Tidy it up
Try and make your CV look organised and aesthetically pleasing. Pay attention to the balance of text and white space. Too much white space and it’ll look empty, too much text and it’ll be difficult to read and look messy. You might want to ask someone to take a look at your CV for you and get their opinion on this.
5. Formatting is key
Formatting your CV well is an easy way to stand out from the crowd. Recruiters are likely to receive dozens of applications for the same job so anything you can do to help your application stand out is well worth the effort.
Try breaking your CV down into clear sections and making the most relevant skills and experience take centre stage on your CV. Think about what you really want to show off.
Have you progressed quickly so far in your career and want to highlight this? Format your experience using a clear timeline to show that progression. Are you changing career and your skills section is more relevant than your work experience? Shift this section to the top.
6. What is the employer looking for?
As it’s likely that the employer will have lots of applications to look through, you’ll want to make it as easy as possible for them to pick yours out as a potential candidate. Think about what they are looking for in their ideal employee for this role and highlight the skills and experience you have that makes you a good fit. It’s always good to try and think about your CV from the employer’s point of view when deciding what to include.
7. Make sure you know the job description inside out
Don’t get ahead of yourself and start working on your application until you know exactly what it is that you’re applying for. Many jobseekers see a couple of keywords in a job title or job description and then throw themselves into their application. Spending a bit more time working out exactly what the job will entail will help you choose which of your skills and experience are most likely to stand out to the recruiter.
8. Make the most of a digital format
These days, your application is likely to be viewed on screen, rather than as a paper copy. Take advantage of this and add in links to your LinkedIn profile where employers can find out more about your skills and experience. If you have a blog or website that is relevant to the role, add that in too. This will show that you are passionate about the industry and will help your application stand out.
9. Complement your cover letter
While it is really important not to simply write out your CV in prose for your cover letter, there should be some continuity between the two. For example, if you’ve claimed in your CV that you’re creative, demonstrate this in your cover letter. If you’ve said in your cover letter that you have extensive experience in a particular area that makes you perfect for the role, highlight this in your CV.
10. Quality over quantity
You have limited space on your CV – which should be one or two pages long – so use it wisely! Make sure you stick to the most relevant details. Experience that demonstrates skills necessary for the job is more likely to catch the eye of a recruiter than a long list of irrelevant roles you’ve had.
11. Drop the jargon
There’s no need to bamboozle the recruiter with lots of complicated and unnecessary jargon. Keep it simple and try to include the terms they’re looking for. The job description and a bit of research into the company should help you work this out.
12. Focus on your CV’s ‘hotspot’
The CV hotspot is the upper-middle section of your CV. This is the point on the page the eye is naturally drawn to so you should try to put the most important elements of your CV here. Put your top experience or your most valuable skills here so it’s the first thing the recruiter sees.
13. Provide examples
Always back up your claims. Anyone can say they are a good communicator but it’s far more convincing if you can give an example of how you use this skill. You should be able to talk through each of the skills you put on your CV with examples as to how you’ve utilised these in the past.
14. Don’t be afraid to shout about your achievements
Your CV is no place to be modest. If there’s something you’re proud of in your career, let the recruiter know. Explain how this achievement showcases the skills they’re looking for.
15. Each CV you send out should be unique
Unfortunatley, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to create a ‘one-size-fits-all’ CV as each job and company will be slightly different. Generally, it’s better to send out fewer tailored CVs than dozens of generic CVs. The extra time spent on each application is well worth it.
16. Check and check again
If your CV is full of spelling and grammar errors, you’ll appear careless and this will put a recruiter off straight away. Check your CV thoroughly and get someone else to take a look too. A fresh pair of eyes is much more likely to pick up on mistakes.
17. Include a few extra interests
A recruiter will also bear in mind that you need to be a good fit for the team. Let them know about a few of your hobbies and interests (that require skills necessary for the job) and show that you’re an interesting character. These kinds of details can help you stand out and you might even find some common ground.
18. Tell the truth
Never lie on your CV. You’ll get found out and then the employer is very unlikely to pursue your application.
19. Say thank you
It’s important to be respectful and polite throughout the application process. Always thank the employer for their time even if they don’t offer you an interview or a job. You never know when more opportunities might arise with the company.
20. Highlight your promotions
Make sure you include your promotions within a company. It’s important that a potential employer can see the progression you’ve made with each business. Include all of the job titles you’ve had at each company.
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