As we make our way into the new year, it's the perfect time to reflect and to start thinking about personal and professional goals for the year ahead - so why not start fresh and make the perfect CV for potential future employers (even if you're not actively looking!). In this blog, we list some of our top tips on how to write a CV, which gives you the 'competitive edge' and mention a few of the common issues we see daily which you should try to avoid.
Recent studies have shown that the average time HR managers or recruiters spend reviewing a CV is as little as 8.8 seconds, according to eye-tracking research. In addition to this, businesses and recruitment agencies over the last 5-10 years have started to rely on automation and AI screening tools that help to match the language within your CV to the job you've applied for - this helps to decide whether you are the right candidate for the role. In turn, your CV should be optimised to meet both the standards of AI technology and hiring managers.
There's always competition when applying for a job, so it's crucial that you're on the right track from the very beginning, starting with your CV - keeping it simple and relevant to the role you're applying for. Having a well-written CV is the first way to get your foot in the door to job interviews as it showcases the best possible version of yourself, whilst being the first impression before the interviewer meets you. So take a look at some of our top tips below!
Our Top Tips!
Structure - The structure of your CV is key, you need it to look professional but also make sure it's easy to navigate. It's best to start off with your contact details, so they know how to reach you for the next stage - so include your name, number and email. Sometimes it's good to link a professional social media account such as LinkedIn, as they can get an understanding of who you are and how you represent yourself professionally.
It's good to include skills in your most relevant and recent work experience that relate to the role you're applying for - even if they aren't 'directly relevant', they could be transferred.
Introducing Yourself - Arguably, the most important aspect of your CV is 'how' you introduce yourself personally. Consider the role you're applying for and what the reader is going to be most interested in when looking for the right candidate. You need to make sure you research the company, take into account their core values, and use key words and phrases that align with your own values and experiences, as using this can help you to stand out amongst others, whilst also not being disregarded by automation and screening tools.
Spelling and Grammar - It's simple, but an extremely common CV mistake that people make. Having a spelling or grammatical error within your CV can highlight your lack of attention to detail and can cause a negative impact for your chance to win over the hiring manager from the off - so in order to avoid this easy mistake, you need to make sure you're on top of this. There are plenty of tools you can use that can help to proof-read and check your spelling and grammar as you type, or you can even send your CV over to a friend or relative to help proof-read and they can even give you some constructive criticism.
Highlighting Achievements - This is something we think is crucial. A lot of people aren't exactly comfortable with "self-promotion", but highlighting your abilities, achievements, and transferable skills will give the recruiter a visual of what you can do, whilst proving that you're the right person for the role - if anything, your CV is exactly where you should be highlighting your achievements. Ideally, you want to write your CV based on achievements within specific positions, as opposed to simply describing your duties.
We suggest that rather than simply listing your previous duties, emphasising the specific results to highlight your achievements will definitely make your CV stand out from the crowd. If you can, consider using measurable data as it can distinctly demonstrate your capabilities.
Tailoring Your CV - This tip is vital if you want to stand out to recruiters. It's important to tailor your CV to each job you apply for, which may seem time consuming, but once you have built that great structure, it makes it a lot easier to amend each time whilst also showing that you've made more effort.
Having a tailored CV not only shows that you're interested in their job, but it also allows you to represent your skills and experience in a certain way that can prove your suitability to the role. This means that the employer or recruiter doesn't have to do any of the "heavy lifting" to figure out whether you'd be a good candidate, instead, you've done the work for them and they will appreciate this.
Tailoring your CV will also give you the opportunity to impress at the interview, simply because interviewers will use your CV to give them an idea on what questions they ask you - having a tailored CV will mean that they can focus on the right elements of your experience etc.
Keeping It Up-To-Date - It's always important to keep your CV up-to-date as you need to show your employer what you've been doing across the years. It doesn't matter if there's gaps in your employment history, especially during the pandemic - but you need to make sure you can explain the reason behind this, whether it's due to volunteering, studying or simply being unemployed during that time, employers will appreciate the honesty with an explanation.
Things To Avoid!
Lack of Relevant Information - A lot of candidates tend to make misplaced assumptions about what's important to the employer and end up failing to provide the relevant information within their CV - so do your research, show that you understand the role, what's required and that you're suitable.
Software Issues - When applying for a role, your CV tends to be scanned by software before human eyes. Using different formatting options like columns, shading and boxes etc may look nice, however they could interfere with the software's ability to be able to store the information on your CV. So you need to make sure the file is compatible with the software, or upload a plain version of your CV.
Poor Language - The use of jargon or cliché expressions can sabotage the chances of even the most suitable candidates. So avoid using the basic "I did this" or "I did that." Instead, branch out, and use positive action words to lead bullet points - this is more dynamic and professional.
Here at Talented Recruitment Group, we think it's extremely important to update and work on your CV, even if you aren't currently looking for a new role as it can only benefit you when you need to use it.
Using some of our CV tips can help you to build up your "brand" on paper and can make you stand out in a simple, yet effective way from your competitors. With the uncertainty of what the next year holds for us, being prepared for any obstacles or personal changes within the world of work is always a great advantage to have and can help you to land your dream job role.
Get in touch if you have any questions around your own CV - we're more than happy to help and provide advice and guidance to help you stand out from the crowd.