8 Tips for Improving Your CV

Written by on October 15, 2012 in Career - No comments | Print this page

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Your CV is the first impression you will make on any possible employer. These days everything is done via the internet, which means that you seldom get the opportunity to phone the employer first, have a chat to them and then send your CV as it was done in the past. Now you upload your CV and wait for the response.

This means that your CV needs to be impressive; it needs to make an excellent first impression and it needs to showcase your abilities so the employer wants to meet with you and know more.

An Introductory Paragraph

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The first step to a good CV is to add an introductory paragraph. This should be a short personal statement highlighting your strengths; don’t go into too much detail as the remainder of your CV will cover this. Keep it short, to the point and highlight any abilities that you feel will benefit you for the position you are applying for.

Bullet Points Rather Than Paragraphs

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Remember: employers who have advertised positions will get an enormous response. They want a document they can skim through easily. If there is too much detail and the document reads live a novel, it will get pushed to one side and they will pick up the next CV.

Use bullet points for each point you want to make, use short sentences and don’t “fluff up” your words. Quick points that get your message across and which is easy for the employer to read will offer you a higher chance of success.

Highlight Your Abilities

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Ideally you will have a CV for every position you apply for. Of course this isn’t always possible, so it’s essential you highlight your abilities. Using your bullet points highlight your excellent problem solving skills, your managerial abilities or your academic achievements.

Mind the Gap

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The biggest error on any CV is leaving gaps. If you were employed from this year to the next and then you started a job that you don’t want highlighted, leaving it out will only cause the prospective employer to become suspicious. Rather be honest, highlight your achievements at that specific job and put it in to avoid any gaps and unaccounted for years on your CV.

Be Truthful

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Many applicants make the mistake of writing their CV’s according to what the employer wants to hear. This is not the ideal situation to be in; with social media and so many ways of determining the truth, lying on your CV can be the biggest mistake you make. Instead (again) be honest about your abilities, previous work experience and accomplishments. Don’t only write what you think an employer will want to hear, but rather what you are capable of.

Stay Up to Date

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It’s imperative to keep your CV as up to date as possible, adding to it as you start a new job or leave an old one. You only need to highlight the past ten years. If you have been working for twenty years or more but have only worked at five companies, then by all means add them all in, but if you have moved around quite a bit during your working experience, only list the past ten years. Anything before that can be discussed at the initial interview.

Blogs and Social Media

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If you have achieved online success (perhaps you own a blog or a social media site) then highlight this on your CV, giving the employer an opportunity to see your abilities and what you do outside your working hours. The internet has opened up so many doors to us and this is a way to showcase yourself to prospective employers.

Keep it Short

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For any employer who is paging through the hundreds of CV’s they receive for one job posting, a long and dragged out CV is their biggest nightmare. Keep your CV as short as possible. Using your bullet points, keeping your information percise and to the point, ensuring you don’t go over two pages. This will keep the employer informed and able to make a decision with ease.

This is a guest post.  Alfie Davenport recently got a job with Telegraph Jobs and spent quite some time updating his Cv beforehand using many of these pointers.

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