How long do you think employers spend reviewing your CV? Is it the time it takes to drink a cup of coffee? Or eat a chocolate bar?
I kid you not, some studies have estimated it at just 9 seconds…ouch!
But don’t despair…follow our advice and get your CV into shape and screaming “look at me” in no time. And you don’t need to start with a blank page - we’ve put together a CV template as a handy reminder of everything you need to include.
Our top tips for creating a winning CV…
1. Be human
As humans, we’re creative, passionate and interesting creatures! But sadly many CVs appear to be written by a robot..don’t let this be yours. Write your CV in the first person and avoid over-used words like ‘team-player’ and ‘results-oriented’, instead, use your achievements and examples to demonstrate you have these personal qualities.
2. Be keyword aware
Many recruiters and hiring managers will search CV databases to find candidates with the skills and experience they’re looking for. They might search for a job title, or a particularly hard to find technical skill or software experience. Many of these algorithms will push CVs with higher keyword density (more instances of the searched for keyword) up the results page, making these CVs more likely to be discovered. Think about what keywords you want to be found for, and ensure these are mentioned at least three times in the text throughout your CV. It’s critically important though to incorporate these keywords naturally into your sentences, don’t just list them out.
3. Tailor your CV
Tailoring your CV is one of the easiest ways to get your CV noticed.
Work through the job advert and update your CV to include everything which is relevant; from your work experience, to degree modules or coursework. If your CV begins to look cluttered, make sure you delete areas of your experience that aren’t relevant and ensure that your personal statement relates directly to the job.
And your covering letter…
Keep it short but relevant to the role you're applying for. This is your opportunity to explain what skills and experience you have that are perfect for the role.
4. Use relevant work experience and educational examples
If you don’t have lots of job experience, it can be more challenging to think about what you should include in your CV. Put yourself in the shoes of the hiring manager: what would they want to see in applications. But don’t be too quick to dismiss that bar job you did - especially if you can be used to demonstrate a desirable skill such as leadership or event organization. Your educational experience can also be a source of credible examples for your CV - include details of any relevant coursework or your role in university societies.
5. Results matter
It may sound obvious but companies are in business to make money. They value results that lead to more revenue and so, wherever possible, include the numbers your actions helped the business to achieve.
6. Showcase your skills
When describing your achievements, make sure you include the skills that you employed to achieve those results, focusing especially on hard skills and any technology that you used.
7. Don’t lie
While they may get you an interview, lies will be uncovered so don’t take the chance and focus on what you have achieved.
8. Keep it short
You need to be brief while still stating your applicable skills. Keep your CV to one or two pages. If you have a lengthy employment history you might get away with two pages, but only briefly list the older skills. If you can't highlight your talents on one page, you're giving the message that you are not concise.
9. Make it perfect
Typos and misspellings on your CV are generally not forgiven. Use spell-check, check and double check your CV, and ask a competent proofreader to check it as well. You would think this is an obvious one, but you'd be amazed at the number of CVs received with big blaring mistakes.