How to spring clean your CV

Posted on: March 14th, 2016


A CV is at the front line of any jobseeker’s search. You choose each word with care, work hard to convey all your good points and fine tune your personal profile to within an inch of its life. That’s a lot of time, care and attention going into something that fits onto an A4 sheet of paper, and why it is surprising so many job seekers fall into the same trap of just making a few tweaks every time they send out their CV for a new role.

Is this sounding at all familiar? If so, it might be time you gave your CV a spring clean – it’s the right season, after all. Everyone wants their CV to be placed at the top of the pile, so here’s how to get closer to making that happen.

1 Demonstrate a love of learning

In the fast-paced world of business, technology can move at a terrifying rate of knots. As a result you need to be able to demonstrate you are ready, willing and able to keep up with that pace of change. For example, in the world of marketing, analytics, data and social channels are big drivers for business right now and you’re most likely to be asked about them at the interview stage.

2 Ditch the jargon

The business world is fuelled by buzzwords and in an effort to show yourself as current it can be tempting to cram your CV with such jargon. However, rather than impressing potential employers, an overuse of buzzwords can have an adverse effect. Some of the most common offenders include: hard working; thought leader; results driven; and strong communication skills. Unfortunately, these terms have been so overused that they have no chance of helping you stand out from the crowd; they will simply make you sound the same as everyone else.

3 Get the right format

The best CVs are those that are easy to read and simple to navigate. Choosing the right format is vital to conveying this simplicity. CVs can be chronological, functional, creative, achievement-based, non-traditional or more. It’s up to you the format you choose, just make sure it works on the page; however much work has gone into crafting your CV behind the scenes, outwardly it needs to be effortlessly informative.

4 Less is more

There is an oft-quoted stat that suggests recruiters spend just nine seconds reading a CV, in which case it pays to keep it short. As part of your spring clean, the simplest way of condensing your CV is to cut the descriptions of previous roles and save the detail for more current experience.

5 Quantify your achievements

Your CV is designed to impress and should obviously feature some of your best achievements. For example, an administration or finance manager should back up an explanation about the success of a previous project with stats relating to timeframes, improved efficiency and so on. Give employers the hard and fast facts about why they should hire you and make life easier for everyone involved.

6 Take a fresh approach

If your CV hasn’t seen more than a few tweaks over the years it might be time to throw it out and start all over again. With so much technology driving forward the recruitment process a CV that was created to be printed and posted in an envelope might struggle to be relevant today. Traditional CVs don’t tend to offer insight into a candidate’s personality, so it could be time to opt for a non-traditional approach. Make sure you sell yourself through online applications, a personal website and networking sites such as LinkedIn to set off your shiny, new CV.

Feel it’s time to give your CV a new lease of life? Lucy Bristow can help you determine the most important elements to include in your CV – and the ones to leave out. Contact our friendly team today to find out how we can help yours to the top of the pile.

Image: Curriculum Vitae by The Italian Voice available under a CC BY 2.0 license

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