Employers have lots to do, so don’t make the mistake of asking them to read through an unnecessarily long CV. A long, wordy CV will put off someone who is already short on time. CVs should be one to two pages to describe relevant work experience. A two page CV is no advantage if it’s full of information that isn’t reasonably applicable to the position you’re applying for. Use the space only if you need it to fully disclose your accomplishments.
Make Your Words Count
Your use of language is extremely important; you need to sell yourself to an employer quickly and efficiently. Address your potential employer’s needs with a clearly written, compelling CV.
- Avoid large paragraphs (over six or seven lines). CVs are often scanned by hiring managers. If you provide small, digestible pieces of information you stand a better chance of having your CV actually read
- Use action verbs such as “developed,” “managed,” and “designed” to emphasise your accomplishments.
- Don’t use declarative sentences like “I developed the…” or “I assisted in…”; leave out the “I.”
- Avoid passive constructions, such as “was responsible for managing.” It’s not only more efficient to say “Managed,” it’s stronger and more active.
Make The Most Of Your Experience
Potential employers need to know what you have accomplished to have an idea of what you can do for them.
- Don’t be vague. Describe things that can be measured objectively. Telling someone that you “improved warehouse efficiency” doesn’t say much. Telling them that you “cut requisition costs by 20%, saving the company £3800 for the fiscal year” does. Employers will feel more comfortable hiring you if they can verify your accomplishments.
- Be honest. There is a difference between making the most of your experience and exaggerating or falsifying it. A falsified CV can be easily spotted by an employer (if not immediately then during the interview process), and if it doesn’t prevent you from getting the job, it can cost you the job later on.
Don’t Neglect Appearance
- Your CV is the first impression you’ll make on a potential employer, and a successful CV depends on more than what you say; how you say it counts as well.
- Consider that the most common file format is Microsoft Word. Stay away from getting creative and putting together a Power Point CV or even worse, an Excel based CV. Avoid tables and tabs as they can become distorted if cut and paste is used to import your CV.
- Perfect the appearance of your CV. While the contents are important, so is the appearance. Use easy-to-read font type (Arial or Times New Roman) and size.
- Check your CV for proper grammar and correct spelling this is evidence of good communication skills and attention to detail. Nothing can ruin your chances of getting a job faster than submitting a CV filled with (easily preventable) mistakes.
- Make your CV easy on the eyes. Use normal margins (1″ on the top and bottom, 1.25″ on the sides) and don’t cram your text onto the page. Allow for some breathing room between the different sections. Avoid unusual or exotic font styles; use simple fonts with a professional look.
- Avoid lots of white space and aim for 2.5-3 pages MAXIMUM. Make sure the first page shows your key achievements – you want your CV to have an immediate impact and make them turn the page.
Target. Target. Target.
Emphasise what you can do for an employer. Be specific. If you are going after more than one job opening, customise your CV accordingly. It helps to tailor your CV for a specific position. Remember to only include the experience that is relevant to the job. Eliminate Superfluous Details.
Unnecessary details can take up a lot of valuable space on your CV.
- List your hobbies and interests only if you can relate them to the position you’re applying for. If you need room to describe your work experience, avoid this altogether.
- The phrase “References available upon request” should be left off if you need room to describe your work experience. Most employers assume you have references they may contact, and will request them if there’s a need to do so.
- Avoid the “Objective” statement – your objective should be clearly articulated in your cover letter. If you do include an objective, be specific. Vague statements, such as “Looking to utilise my IT skills” or “seeking a rewarding position”