There's no better time to get your CV in top shape.
If you haven't given your CV much thought in the past six to 12 months, now’s the perfect time to give your CV a good clean. Here are seven CV tips and easy ways to optimise it to make a great impression with every job application.
1. Consider your CV’s age.
If it’s been 10 years since you were last on the job market it may not be worth trying to salvage such an old document. That being said, it’s always a great refresher to look back on your key responsibilities at previous positions, especially if your current role has changed over time.
If your CV was written in the last two years, then your best bet is to start with this version and begin tinkering.
2. Define the focus of your CV.
If you’re re-entering the job market, then you’re likely to be looking for a role that’s different, or new. Take the time to really define what the change is and consider how you might amend your CV to reflect your new career goal. This will allow you to set out the skills and experience essential for your desired role.
3. Reevaluate your old content.
Now that you know exactly what you need to include in your CV, you’re ready to go through all of the old content and decide whether it needs to be deleted, amended, or if it can stay the same. Use different colour highlighters to colour code what you’d like to do with each section of the old document. This will give you a visual idea of how much work lies ahead. Then you can sit down and start making changes with your new career goal in mind.
4. Add your most recent experience.
The biggest change to your CV format will be adding your most recent position. It can be tricky to boil down exactly what you do on a daily basis into a few sentences, so think about your position from a high-level. Don’t get bogged down in the day-to-day tasks. If you want to impress the recruiter, be sure to position yourself in the best light possible and to support your achievements with stats and figures, proving your value.
5. Tailor and tighten.
Tightening the focus of your CV is a key way of optimising the document and one of our best CV tips. While your CV should only showcase the most recent roles from your employment history, it’s important to tailor your CV to each job you’re applying for, so you can show the recruiter what’s relevant. By matching your experience and skills to keywords and phrases in individual job descriptions, your application is likely to pass the applicant tracking system, and the recruiter will see you’re a great match for the role.
6. Consider the look of your old CV.
Does your CV need a facelift? Don’t be afraid to experiment with the CV format and design, especially if the version you’re working with is quite old! Consider the best format to save documents for employers—often a PDF is the safest option.
7. Proofread over and over!
Once you’ve made all the necessary changes to your CV, take the time to read through everything to ensure it flows and focuses on your career goal. When proofreading, it’s always advisable to have a friend or family member take a look as they’ll offer a fresh perspective, or at least read your CV aloud as you’ll be able to hear what sounds off.
With your CV fully optimised and feeling fresh, you’re now ready to start applying for jobs that suit your career goals. Remember, if you really want application success, you can’t adopt a one size fits all approach with your CV. Keep tweaking your CV to every application and just watch those interviews roll in.
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