It’s never easy to write an awesome CV and yet, it is still likely the most important document you will need in the whole process of finding a job.
Feeling a little lost in the CV writing department? Don’t worry, you are not alone. Here are 20 tips that will help you polish your CV and help it do you justice in your job search!
- Delete Your Mission Statement
“I’m a high energy professional looking to….”. It’s just a little bit obvious—why else would you be submitting your resume? It takes up valuable space. One exception might be your first job application out of university if you really want to get across your deep felt passion about a certain industry.
- Remove “References Available Upon Request”
If a prospective employer wants references, they’ll ask for them. Use the extra space to add a detail about your abilities or accomplishments.
- Spell Check
Goes without saying really…
4. Save In Correct Format
Saving in PDF if it’s in any other format will mean your CV won’t get messed up when its opened on a different computer.
- Useful File Name
Instead of just, “CV”, change to “[First Name] [Last Name] CV” as it makes things easier for hiring managers and will help you stand out a little more in their inbox and saved folders.
- Make All Your Hyperlinks Live
Your resume is most likely going to be read on a computer, so making things like your email address, LinkedIn and other social profiles, and personal websites clickable makes it more likely someone will visit those pages and learn more about you.
If hyperlinks are unfamiliar to you, please have a look at Microsoft Office’s guide to adding hyperlinks.
- Keep It Relevant
Your birthday, marital status, or religious preference is simply not information that a decision whether to interview you or not should be based upon. It’s irrelevant data and should be excluded.
- Drop Your Education
No, not completely! Just make sure that it’s below your work experience. Unless you’re a fresh graduate, chances are your last one or two jobs are more important and relevant to you getting the job.
- Double-Check Formatting
Make sure formatting is consistent across your resume. All headers should be in the same style, and all indentations should line up. Match all you bullet points as well. You don’t want the styling to look sloppy!
For any doubts, feel free to check the Curriculum Vitae format here.
- Reduce Your Margins
Need a little more space to work with? Reduce your top and bottom margins to 0.5″ and your side margins to no less than 0.75″. This will keep your resume clean and readable but give you more room to talk about what you’ve got.
- Leave Secondary School Out
Unless you’ve just left school or if you’re one year out and need to bulk up your resume and did something highly relevant and awesome during your school years.
- Quantify Everything
Go through your bullet points, and add as many numbers and percentages as you can to quantify your work. How much did you increase revenue? By what percentage was efficiency improved? Quantified data is always so much more credible. Just make sure you can back it up if questioned.
- Split Your Skills Section
If you have lots of skills related to a position you can always try breaking them down into separate e.g. “Language Skills” or “Software Skills”.
- Avoid Acronyms
Assuming that a recruiter or HR professional is necessarily going to know the meaning of an acronym for a title, certification, or organization is a potential disaster. You should include both the full name and acronym, at least the first time e.g. CFA (Chartered Financial Advisor), to make sure the recruiter knows what you’re talking about. In today‘s world of applicant tracking systems, the full name is also more likely to be picked up on.
Unless you are a designer or are applying for the type of role that calls for a particularly creative resume, it’s best to remove any photos or visual elements.
- Proper Promotions
Worked multiple jobs within the same organization? Make sure to list them correctly on your resume, and in a way where your upwards internal movement is obvious rather than confusing.
- Stay Skimmable
Make your document easier to skim by adding divider lines between sections.
- Tell Your Story
In the first 10 seconds, would someone who doesn’t know you well be able to get a general idea of who you are and what you are about? If not, you might need to revisit your CV structure. Take a look at the info you have included at the top of the page. Does it pop? Does it grab the reader’s attention?
- Make Your Benefit Clear
Pick a few statements to take one step further, and add in what the benefit was to your boss or your company. By doing this, you clearly communicate not only what you’re capable of, but also the direct benefit the employer will receive by hiring you.
- Beautiful Bullets
Make sure each of your bullet points is necessary, readable and interesting to everyone who is likely to read them. You never know how the screening process is going to work at a company. It may be that an administration manager acts as the first gatekeeper, or that you can simply pass straight through to the eyes of HR. Keeping your bullet points beautiful will help you in either scenario.
Is your CV looking awesome yet?
Many of these tips are regarding the visual aspects of your CV more than the content itself. As long as everything is clear, you’ll help sell your own story in the best way possible. Hope these 20 tips have helped you!