.Employers can spend as little as 30 seconds looking at your CV, so you need to make shortlisting easy for them. Make sure you stand out from the crowd and showcase your unique selling points, by following these top tips.
- Keep your formatting and layout consistent. Use the same font and heading styles throughout and stick to one or two full sides of A4. Some companies, particularly within the banking and finance sector, may request a one-page CV. If in doubt, ask!
- Use bullet points and write in clear concise sentences. They’re easier to read than long, wordy paragraphs.
- Tailor your CV for every application. Get a good understanding of the job requirements by reading the job description carefully. You may need to highlight different skills or experiences for different roles.
- Evidence your skills by linking them to your experiences. Don’t just claim you’ve got good communication, organisation or analytical skills etc. – explain when, where and how you gained them. Use the STAR technique to do this effectively.
- Use action words like ‘initiated’, ‘formulated’, ‘collaborated’ to get your skills noticed at the start of each bullet point. Use our power verbs generator.
- Include keywords from the job description. Your CV might go through an electronic checking system that scans for words from the job description.
- Quantify to give a sense of scale and responsibility. For example, if you organised events for more than 100 people or increased sales by 23%.
- Separate relevant and other experience. This allows you to bring your most relevant experience to the top of your CV and get it noticed, even if it wasn’t the most recent.
- Describe the transferable skills you’ve gained through part-time work, volunteering, or extra-curricular interests and responsibilities.
- Include a photo or personal information such as your nationality, gender or marital status on a UK CV. (This may be different for overseas applications – check with the employer).
- List all your GCSEs or equivalent qualifications individually. Summarise with the number and grade range, highlighting any that are relevant e.g. 10 GCSEs – grades A-C, including Maths A*.
- Include all your degree modules – be selective and list only those that are relevant.
Resources and support to perfect your CV
- Work through our practical steps to getting your CV ready.
- Get straight to it with our CV Builder tool.
- Run your CV through our CV360 checking tool.
- Attend a live event and ask us questions about CVs, cover letters, and applications.
Checklist – questions to ask yourself
- Have I tailored my CV effectively?
- Is it clear and concise?
- Have I evidenced relevant skills?
- Have I highlighted my most relevant experience?
Get in touch for further advice on anything careers-related, by talking to someone on Live Chat or drop in to see us at 5 Tyndall Avenue.