5 tips for improving your CV

5 tips for improving your CV

In a world of online applications, social media recruiters and LinkedIn, your first impression to a potential employer is rarely made with a firm handshake anymore.

Candidacy for a role is being evaluated from the moment your application lights up an inbox – and we all know how easy it is to gloss over an email – so you want to make sure you leave a lasting impression. To make sure you stand out in the crowd, we’ve compiled a few things that could be the difference between ‘another one’ and ‘the one’.

1. Length

Your resume is a snapshot of your work experience to date; it’s not an autobiography nor a shopping list. If your CV looks like either of these you might want to employ your skills of revision first.

An abundance of personal information is not required. Cut the date of birth and references from the initial list until later on in the interview process, so it’s best not to have them taking up space that could be better used on elaborating your work history.

Regarding your experience itself, it’s important to find the right balance between describing your everyday duties and any achievements you may have earned during your time in any given role. Let the reader quickly understand your skills and key achievements without reciting the job description. Emphasising particular skills in bullet lists or making them bold with a sentence can help them pop out, too, but take care not to over-clutter. Save your big achievements for a cover letter, LinkedIn profile, or the interview itself.

2. Experience AND Interests

While your experience will primarily get your foot in the door, countless numbers of qualified young applicants are missing out on opportunities simply because they don’t connect on a personal level with the employer. Although a resume won’t change who you are as a person, it can certainly show it without detracting from the legitimacy of your experience.

A brief list of hobbies or a couple of sentences about yourself can convey a tone of honesty and openness, while subtly eluding to some additional skills. While these skills may not be immediately relevant, they can still promote your passion, determination, work ethic or particular points of difference.

3. Internships and extracurricular business activities

This point applies more to those hoping to enter their chosen industries more so than those progressing through them, but is still important to dedicate a section to achievements you made within, or even outside, your desired field. Whether paid or unpaid, one day a week or five, it can’t be emphasised enough how much of a difference an internship or any form of independent work experience can make on an applicant’s viability.

It shows the employer that you’re eager to further your career and skills, in addition to having experience in corporate environments.

4. Presentation ­

As we are now firmly in the 21st century it has been widely established that Comic Sans is not an appropriate font for any form of professional documentation. With that being said, playing it safe with Arial or Times New Roman might make you blend a little too well into the background.

While programs like Photoshop and Illustrator can really make a CV pop, not everyone has these skills; but even in Word there are plenty of creative ways to showcase your skills. Subtle use of colours, font size, bullets, paragraphs, graphs and white space can display personal organisation, aptitude and proficiency. Even little icons alongside your previous employers or hobbies can elevate a resume from one that’s glanced over to one that lingers in the mind of an employer.

5. LinkedIn

Those familiar with LinkedIn will tell you it’s a vital asset for your professional presence. A well curated, up-to-date LinkedIn profile will complement your application (and serious employers will check it out!), while also keeping you in front of recruiters and other potential employers who may scrape for suitable candidates before a job has even been posted.

The key with LinkedIn is to not copy what’s on your resume word for word, but instead to elaborate on your work, attach any relevant documents/media, and generally network within the industries you aspire to. An important thing to note, the more fields you fill out on your LinkedIn profile, the higher you will appear in search results!

Hopefully you are now prepared to take your resume from the rest to the best!

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