Wednesday 9 March 2016

Spring Clean Your CV

Your CV is a lot like your wardrobe. After a long time not looking carefully at it, you wouldn’t know for sure what’s in it!

At least once a year, you should give your CV (and your wardrobe!) a good cleaning—updating the information, deleting unwanted items, highlighting new skills and experiences, and refreshing the design and layout.

The purpose of spring cleaning your CV is to make it:

  • Current
  • Relevant
  • Appealing
The fact of the matter is that the people who read your CV usually spend less than 10 seconds looking at it, so to stand out of the crowd it is essential your CV does the job quickly, effectively, and with a certain degree of flair.

Your CV is a powerful and flexible document because it can be adapted to any role or industry you're aiming for, but there are 3 things every CV—regardless of who you're sending it to— should accomplish:
  • Describe who you are in terms of your past roles, skills and experience
  • Explain clearly the new position you are applying for
  • Show you're the perfect match for what the employer is looking for

Make your CV scannable by keeping it short

The best piece of advice we can give to someone applying for a new job is:
"Keep your CV short and concise. Two pages maximum, as long as it is all relevant and informative."
Your CV should highlight your best achievements and the key responsibilities you held, so it doesn't make sense to drown that information in a sea of tidbits. Outline the most important stuff and make it effortless for people to scan through it and quickly find if you're a match for the role.

Emphasise the skills and experience that are relevant for your target employer

A messy and cluttered CV is a sure-fire way to end up in the "nope" stack on a recruiter's desk. We recommend presenting a clean and individually targeted document to every employer you contact.

In other words, don't include everything you've every done in your life in your CV!

Include only the stuff that have a high chance of grabbing the attention of an employer and base your CV around those specific skills or experience. You can simply focus on the last 5 years of work experience if that's relevant and highlight older roles only if they do a better job at representing your abilities.

Fill any gaps in your CV with other activities and training

A CV isn't set in stone and you’re allowed to experiment with the organisation, naming and design of the elements that make it up. Of course, however you design your CV, make sure that it looks respectable at all times and reflects the seriousness of the role you're applying for.

A practical and easy way to update your CV is by re-ordering your sections to give more prominence to certain information. If a job demands specific qualifications, then put that section at the top, whereas if a role is more skill-based, move up that section instead.

Organise the layout of your CV to reflect the requirements of the role you’re applying for

Recruiters have a knack for zooming in on any perceived gaps in your employment or academic history, so it is a good idea to prevent any awkward moments during the interview by filling in any gaps of 6 months or more with other activities or trainings, even if they’re not strictly professional in nature.

The important thing is to account for these “inactive” periods in a positive way. Even if you spent that time volunteering or focusing on a personal venture, odds are you’ve learnt something that can be useful in your everyday life as an employee, be it teamwork, organisation skills, or the discipline to stick to a project from beginning to end.


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