I’ve been asked six times now to help people out in making their CVs better or helping them produce their first CV since leaving university. I quite enjoy doing it and hope my suggestions help people get further in the interview process.
There are a couple of things I think are very important when it comes to CVs:
- Maximum two pages. A CV is a snapshot of your life and why you should be hired. An employer does not want your whole life history and will get bored if it is longer than 2 pages
- Highlight the relevant bits. Employers often get hundreds of CVs and will only glance through each quickly. Make it easier for them by putting important parts in bold or a different colour (e.g. any awards you’ve won)
- Only put in what is either relevant or impressive. If you have an entry that is neither, why do you want someone to read about it? You might have had 20 part time jobs during uni, but if only 2 are relevant to the job at hand, then just mention those two and talk more about them
- Layout. Make sure the CV is not too compressed with information and it is neatly sectioned. Some employers are looking for very specific details, and if you organise your CV well they will be able to find what they are looking for. Use headings like “Education”, “Work Experience” and “Skills”
- Spell check! This document is supposed to represent you at your best, make sure everything is spelt right and makes sense
- Add soft skills. Employers want to know what your soft skills are (team player, leadership, time management, communication, organisation etc) so add these to your work experience as things you’ve learnt. E.g. an IT retail job may mean you learnt to communicate effectively, and explain technical details to a non-technical audience.