If you’re looking for a comprehensive guide to creating an incredible CV, you’ve come to the wrong place I’m afraid.
That’s ok. Luckily, the right place is just a click away: How to Write an Impressive CV and Get a Better Job.
However, if you’re on the hunt for some slightly less generic (obvious, boring) CV tips, welcome to this blog post.
This week, I’ve been racking my brain and digging around on the internet for some slightly more unique insights. Here are some of the best…
1. Scrap the title.
Simple, but effective.
I know it’s your CV. You really don’t need to put “CV” or even “Curriculum Vitae” right at the top.
Why not use the space more productively?
- Use your name and job title as a heading (so I know I’m in the right place).
- Do something brave and daring (like a snazzy personal USP).
Then follow this with your location, phone number and email. Sorted.
2. The “two-page” rule is a lie.
Seriously, who on earth decided that this should be a rule?
Now, I’m not saying you should babble on for 10 pages about every single task you’ve completed at every single workplace, but NO recruiter in their right mind is going to throw out a perfectly good CV just because it’s over two pages long.
Recruiter Pro Tip
Use your common sense.
- Have you included enough relevant information? (Between three and five short bullet points about your two or three most recent or relevant work experiences is fine).
- Is there anything you can “cut” that doesn’t really add extra value to your CV? (There’s definitely no need to repeat any information.)
- Is squeezing everything onto two pages, with a teeny-tiny font or squished up paragraphs really going to be more impressive?
It’s a good idea to read it out loud to someone (or to yourself if no one’s around). Is it interesting and impressive? Does it flow? Or is it long, slow and boring?
3. Squeeze in some keywords…
…but not too many.
Recruiters use a special kind of software to track down job candidates (Applicant Tracking Systems) and job boards work in a similar way.
It basically means that we can track down specific CVs, based on certain keywords found within them. For example, “blog,” “WordPress” or “copywriter.”
Roughly 70% of CVs will be screened via this kind of technology, so you need to make sure you’re searchable!
- Go through job adverts and specifications for your kind of role to come up with keywords and common phrases recruiters will search for and then try to include them in your CV.
- Make sure your job title is searchable; you may be called a “crayon wizard” at your current company, but no one is going to search for that.
- Keep it simple with formatting (no pictures, tables, graphs or weird and wonderful fonts). ATS systems just don’t seem to like them and you may not get searched.
Of course, it’s also REALLY important that you don’t overdo it.
Someone will eventually read your CV and if you’ve shoehorned the word “marketing” into it a million times, it’ll be pretty obvious (and annoying).
Recruiter Pro Tip
Only applying for jobs, directly?
It’s still worth thinking about those keywords! Psychologically, as a recruiter is scanning your page, if they’re coming across the exact phrases they’re looking for in a person, they’ll warm to your CV more.
Check out this blog post for more details on keyword insertion.
4. PDFs are not always better.
While we’re on this, you should also always send your CV as a word document (unless you’re doing something snazzy like an “infographic CV.”)
There are two main issues if you don’t…
1. Some ATS systems don’t recognise them.
Remember what we said about keywords?
Well some Applicant Tracking Systems and job boards don’t actually pick up words from a PDF. So when the recruiters are searching away for someone, just like you – you won’t even pop up!
Read this blog to find out more.
2. The recruiter can’t edit your CV.
Perhaps you don’t want a recruiter to edit it? Why not?
What if you’ve misspelt a word? Or made an error with your employment dates? Or what if they need to remove your contact details so you can remain anonymous?
There are plenty of positive reasons why a recruiter might want to edit your CV. If you’ve sent them a PDF it’s much more of a hassle – and you don’t want them to have to chase you.
Click here to read more about why you shouldn’t send a PDF CV.
5. Hopping isn’t the WORST thing in the world.
Some candidates still feel the need to hide their “job hopping” ways from potential employers.
Stretching their employment dates, they try to hide any potential issues from our eyes.
Problem is; your potential employer will eventually find out. And I promise you, getting caught in a lie is much more likely to lose you the job, than admitting to multiple employments.
Here are some pros to job-hopping, use them if you can…
- You’re a risk-taker.
- You must be adaptable.
- You’ll have a variety of skills.
So, you could write a section saying “as you can see I’ve not found my perfect opportunity quite yet, but if anything, my experience show that I’m adaptable, willing to learn new skills and a risk-taker.
Click here to read a great article from Total Jobs about job hopping.
Hope these tips helped you (I know, some are easy-peasy, but they’re still very important)!
- Stop using “CV” or “Curriculum Vitae” as a title.
- Be sensible when it comes to the length of your CV.
- Use keywords, but not too many.
- Send a Word document, not a PDF.
- Turn job-hopping into a positive.
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