Spring will soon be here, which means it’s time to spruce things up a little. At this time of year, many of us like to give the house a good clean, get the garden in order or dig out the paint roller. However, over time, one thing that can become neglected is your poor old CV. We’re a helpful lot here at Bridgewater, so we like to share our top CV advice to boost your chances of job hunt success. So, our next mission is to help you to spring clean your CV!
Considering how important your CV is, it’s surprisingly easy to let it get a little messy over the years. This is particularly true if you have quite a long work history. Admit it, have you ever just added your most recent role to your CV and then sent it out? This can become a habit and before you know it, your CV is totally out of date.
We’ve said it before, but we can’t stress it enough: your CV needs to make a great first impression. 9 times out of 10, this document is your only chance to convince an employer to take you through to the next stage. It needs to be good! Does your CV need a spring clean?
Here are some things that can be easily overlooked, but just as easily rectified when it comes to updating your CV.
Irrelevant Work Experience
You’ve been a Salesman for years, do your future employers really need to know about that time you did some bar work in Zante? Yes, you need to provide a comprehensive work history and it’s best to not leave any gaps to prevent raising any suspicions. However, try to keep things relevant to the role you’re applying for.
For example, if your past few roles were within the same sort of field or demonstrate a clear progression path toward the job you want, then these roles are your focus. Provide a breakdown of your responsibilities, in line with the requirements of the job you are applying for. You can then class the rest of your work experience as ‘Past Work Experience’ and simply give the company name, your role and the dates you were there.
If your work experience is more limited, then every little will help. What’s important is to tie any experience you have to the role in question and demonstrate that you have the necessary skills.
‘Old Fashioned’ Information
‘Old school’ CV templates will recommend that you include some information that employers simply don’t need to know. Similarly, if you first wrote your CV a while ago, it’s worth re-evaluating whether the details you have provided are entirely necessary.
Employers may once have wanted to know things like your marital status, whether or not you smoke, if you own a vehicle/home or the state of your health. This information is no longer crucial to your CV; in fact, including it could make you seem a little behind the times!
The best thing to do is to take a look at the job advert and only include information that recruiters want to see. For instance, if you need to have a driving licence, it’s definitely worth including this information in your CV.
This one is so easy to avoid but we see it all the time! If you have a job listed as 2006-2010, but then go on to refer to it as “my current role”, it doesn’t look good, does it? Mistakes like this can lead potential employers to question your attention to detail or working standards. You can’t afford to lose out on opportunities simply because you haven’t proofread and updated your CV properly.
Scan through your CV and make sure that what you’re saying makes sense. Are you using present tense where you should be using past tense? Have you referred to a past job as your present role?
You may think that the way you choose to format your CV doesn’t have an impact on your application. Don’t underestimate the power of formatting; it can affect the readability of your CV and says more about you than you may think.
Don’t go overboard; if your CV looks difficult to read, recruiters simply won’t go to the effort of reading it. Using an outdated font (Times New Roman, we’re looking at you) or one that is unprofessional (don’t kid yourself, Comic Sans is awful) might also put you at a disadvantage.
Again, it all comes down to what is relevant to the job you want to get. Unless you’re applying for a creative role, do you really need all that fancy formatting? If you don’t want to be a model, is your photograph entirely necessary? Keep it slick, modern and simple. You can’t go far wrong with clean fonts (similar to Arial, Calibri and Tahoma), bold headings and clear sections.
Keep Your Skills and Profile up to Date
It’s easy to fall into the trap of doing the bare minimum when it comes to updating your CV. You’ve seen a job you want to apply for, you quickly add on your most recent job and fire out your application. However, you could be doing yourself an injustice.
Chances are that, since you created your CV, your skill set has grown and you have developed as a professional. If your CV has a skills section, make sure that you have added any new skills you have acquired that would be an asset in the type of role you’re looking for.
The same goes for your profile. This is usually the very first thing on your CV, so it needs to pack a punch! Use this as an opportunity to really sell who you are and what you offer as an employee (but keep it brief). Before you send your CV off, re-read this section and make sure that everything you have written still applies.
The key things to take away are:
So, if your CV is in disarray, dust off the cobwebs and follow these steps. Your CV will be glowing in no time!