My CV used to be a total mess and I found myself throwing it at so many jobs and agencies and
being completely ignored by the vast majority of them. I tidied it up a lot with the help of my boyfriend and I got interview offers as
well as agencies contacting me the very same day. That is no coincidence! A good, tidy CV can easily win you a job.
Funnily enough, now I actually look through hundreds of
CV’s a week so I thought I’d give you some quick and easy tips on how you can
approve yours. Please be away that this doesn’t apply to everybody. If you need to make a creative
CV then don’t listen to any of this, but if you plan to submit your CV to job
boards, online roles or agencies then here are a few thing I’ve picked up.
|image from Styledstock.co|
Please note that these tips are completely all my personal opinion (not that of my works, nor anybody else’s) and what is more likely to help me – as somebody who goes through CV’s – choose to read your CV and put you forward for roles.
Don’t over-format it.
Actually, don’t really format it at all other than doing the basics. You might think formatting it so the text is in visually pleasing positions makes it look tidy, but if a potential employer or agency is
looking through a job board then they won’t see that formatting. They’ll just get a plain, basic version of the CV and all of your hard work formatting it will be thrown out the window. Worse still, your text
could be thrown all over the place to the point where your whole CV doesn’t make a whole
lot of sense.
If you’re applying for a job through an agency, the agency will
often tidy the CV up a little anyway, but there’s a chance you won’t get to
that stage if your CV isn’t readable on the job board. Using cool little boxes to put separate information in, indenting text and aligning different parts all over the place doesn’t look as good as it sounds and can be a nuisance for recruiters when they send it on to agencies. Just align the text left and leave it be.
They also don’t show up on job boards and they’re pretty pointless. A lot of people like adding a photo of themselves to their CV, which is nice, but in my opinion not needed. Text only is the best policy. Often people add company or client logos as well as logos of the courses they’ve taken to their CV’s and that’s not really a problem. But again, it won’t show up to recruiters who are searching job boards, so be aware of that.
Use an Ariel or Times New Roman font the whole way
through, preferably in a size 10 font. Making titles larger is fine though! But using different fonts in different places makes it look a bit messy.
4. Bold your section titles so it’s clear and
easy to read.
For example ‘Experience’ ‘Education’ etc. Again, it’s not something you have to do, I just personally think it looks so much neater. I’d also go with keeping those black. It’s a little hypocritical because I’m sure my CV has them in Word’s blue headings, put I think they look neater when they’re black and bold.
5. Get somebody to
proof read it.
This one probably speaks for itself but it’s more important than some people realise. The last thing you want when approaching potential employers is spelling mistakes.
6. Open your CV with basic info
Name, email, phone number (always put your phone number), location etc. Then follow it with a short
paragraph about your work history and what kind of role you’re looking for.
This one might be personal preference of mine, but I find it helpful to
immediately know what kind of role somebody’s after, how much experience they have in that
field, and what their top skills are.
7. Don’t just list what jobs you’ve done
It’s important to talk about what you did whilst you were there, what skills you used, what
programs you use (if relevant) and don’t forget to write the duration of the
role and preferably which city or town the role was based in. Use lots of key words when writing your skills and what programmes/software you used during each role – that’ll help recruiters find your CV. This can be done in a short paragraph or bullet points.
8. Save it as a Microsoft word
For these types of roles it is far better to upload your CV as a Microsoft Word file than a PDF or whatever else
you thought of putting it in. It’s so much easier for employers and recruiters if you
keep it as a Word doc. If it’s not in that format I actually have to go back to the candidate and ask for them to send me another copy, which of course delays the process.
9. Don’t put your contact details in the header or footer
Again, these won’t show up on the job boards. Usually the job boards will have your contact details separately anyway, but just in case it’s better to put them at the top of your CV.
10. Keep it updated
Don’t upload or pass around a CV that has gaps, or that you’ve not updated in a year or two. Make sure all of your education, experience and roles are there in order.
For some reason my internal monologue was thinking in an Australian accent whilst I typed all of that. I’ve been watching a documentary on Netflix lately about deadly Australian animals (I’ve basically learned don’t go to Australia or else you’ll die) and I guess the accents must have stuck in my mind.
Anyway, I hope these will help at least somebody out there! Don’t forget to ask your friends and family for feedback. The more eyes, the better!
Let me know what things you would never put on your CV!