Expert Tips on How to Improve Your CV.
Everyone has their opinion on how to write your CV. Your mum says to put your qualifications at the top, but your dad says to put your most recent work experience at the top. But who is right? The bottom line is that it won’t affect your chances of landing the job too much. Find yourself a guide you feel is right, research some templates, and find yourself a layout you find most appropriate.
However, what we’re going to help you with today is some small tips on how to improve your CV overall. No matter how small or insignificant these changes seem, we highly recommend applying them to your CV, as they’ll help in ways you may not even notice.
Believe it or not, your new employer may not want to hear about how you were the 100m sprint winner in secondary school.
OK, so maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but the principle remains. Many people send their CV to several different jobs and roles without reducing it down. This is an absolute no-no, especially if you’re looking for the next step in your working career.
When applying for a job, you’ll want to comb through your CV and find what’s relevant, and what’s not. If it’s not relevant, take it out. Again, as we’ve said, some qualifications or experiences you have may not be appropriate to mention or of interest to your potential new employer.
But why do we recommend this?
Well, many people feel the need to include every single achievement, qualification, skill, and experience on their CV. In theory, this is a great idea, but soon your CV becomes 8 pages long, of which all the employer wants to see could be condensed down to around 2 pages. And, if the employer is going through the arduous process of interviewing several candidates, 8 pages is going to immediately put you into the ‘no’ pile for the role.
Please note, we’re not telling you to lie or fabricate parts of your CV. What we’re telling you to do is to figure out what’s really not relevant, and to remove it for that application. Perhaps to have a ‘master copy’ of your CV, which contains everything, and that you slim this version down for each role you apply for.
Include a Personal Statement.
Short and simple, include a personal statement for every job you apply for.
I know what you’re thinking, ‘but that’s not part of my CV! Why is this in a list about improving my CV?’. Well, because we advise you attach this to your CV. Not only this but perhaps to once again have a type of ‘master copy’, which already contains your generic ‘I believe I would be a great fit for this role because’ and ‘I would be available to start working in this position from’ lines that you can then modify and customise for the role you’re applying for.
But why should you do this?
Once again, the interviewing process can be a long process. So, you want to provide the interviewer and potential employer with as much information as possible within the shortest space of time. A personal statement does this, without cluttering up your CV itself. Additionally, more and more online application portals are asking for a personal statement, why you want the job, or something similar. Having the basics already typed up will not only save you time but allow you to refine and perfect it over time.
Trust us, this may seem like a drag right now, but you’ll soon forget about it when it lands you a well-paying and satisfying job.
Include References (You Can Request Them Not to Be Contacted Immediately).
We know, this point has already blown your mind. OK, so maybe it hasn’t, but we’re sure the title of this point has piqued your curiosity. After all, why include a character reference if they can’t be contacted right away? Well, because it may interfere with your current position, which, if your current employer has no idea you’re currently looking or applying for work, can be bad.
Of course, it’s not polite to put someone on your CV as a reference without telling them in advance. However, this can be solved with a simple “I’m updating my CV, would it be OK to put you as a character reference for the future?”, or something similar. So, although you can request them not to be contacted until the later parts of the interview process, you should still make the person aware that they are a character reference of yours.
But why is this important? Well, because some online application portals aren’t the most up-to-date or forgiving, and some don’t let you proceed to the next point before completing every previous part. This can be frustrating if you’re looking to apply for work, but you don’t have many character references available. Additionally, your interviewer may not even contact your character reference if you’re asked not to contact them immediately, instead of focusing on other areas to judge your fit for the role.
So, the bottom line is that you should always include references. But these references don’t have to be a burden to you or the chances of you landing a new job.
Thanks for reading, and good luck at your next interview!