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Simon Bath
8 months ago by Simon Bath

9 top tips for creating a winning CV

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Your CV is an important tool when applying for roles. It's your first opportunity to get in front of the right people, so making sure that you get it right is vital. Not sure what 'getting it right' looks like when it comes to your CV? Check out these tips and keep them in mind for the next time you give your CV a run out.

1. Keep it short (and sweet)  

The person reading your CV *probably* doesn’t need to know about the paper round you had when you were 12. In the name of keeping your CV to around 2-4 pages (of A4), limit your work history to the last 10 years or so.  

2. Adapt it  

Job hunting can be pretty stressful, and the temptation is there to just ping out your standard CV and hope for the best – but you’ll be doing yourself a disservice. Taking the extra 15 minutes to adapt your CV to the role, and to ensure your history and experience are tailored to meet the requirements of the company in question, will capture their attention – giving you a better chance of standing out against the competition.  

3. Lead with you  

Your CV is the tool that will get you in to interview. To that end, it needs to be both about you and make a great first impression. Some recruiters spend only 5-7 seconds looking at your CV – so include a personal statement, making it succinct, informative, and worthwhile.  

4. Back yourself up 

“I undertook BD activities and brought on new clients”  

Okay. Great. But what exactly is the reader learning there. Be more specific and be sure to include the facts and figures that make it worth the space on your CV.  

“Thanks to successful Business Development activities, I brought on 8 new clients in three months, which led to an increase in revenue of 15%”  

 

5. Be honest  

This is kind of obvious (hopefully), but tell the truth on your CV. This avoids any problems down the line – you don’t want to be put forward for unsuitable roles, and you certainly don’t want to be caught out in a lie!  

 

6. Spellcheck it  

Another obvious one – check, recheck and double check your CV for spelling, grammatical and formatting errors. It shows attention to detail and diligence. Some people will immediately discard a CV as soon as they spot an error – so be thorough to avoid an early exit to the trash folder.  

 

7. Make it pretty  

But not too pretty. It can be tempting to think outside of the box when you’re formatting your CV, but ultimately you just need it to be clean, legible, and an at-a-glance overview of your education and work histories and experience. Check out these formatting tips for a bit of guidance.  

 

8. Update it  

What’s worse than an untailored CV? An out-of-date CV. Some jobs these days get an average of 250 applications each, meaning a clearly old CV will earn you a one-way ticket to the reject pile. Spend some time sprucing it up and ensuring all your dates are current prior to sending it out.  

 

9. Keywords  

Finally, keywords. It’s all done online these days, so be sure to include the words and phrases that are relevant to the role you’re applying for – for example, if you’re applying for a software role include the skills you have somewhere on your CV e.g. C# / JavaScript. By doing this, you ensure you’ll appear in searches for those keywords.  

 

These are the very basics of a good CV, so spend some time actioning these easy tips today to give you the best shot at scoring interviews at the companies and for the roles you really want!  

 

Have any questions or comments? Please share them with us, or come and find us on LinkedIn for a chat.