Spring Clean your CV in 5 easy steps

You know you should.....


Spring Clean your CV in 5 Easy Steps

I love this time of year.  All that renewal and fresh start stuff, not to mention light evenings, beer gardens, lambs and daffodils. Spring! It also means mowing the lawn, hay fever and my wife insisting I paint the garden fence, but you can’t have everything.  

When it comes to your CV it’s a great time of year to freshen it up and really give it a makeover.  

Here are 5 tips to get you started:

1.    Is it up to date?
When was the last time you updated your CV? Make sure you have included your current role and its responsibilities.  Have you acquired new skills and if so are they showcased effectively? What about your early career?  Is it time to declutter and reduce that first student job to one line? And have you been consistent throughout, for example is it all in the same font, and have you kept to the third person?  

Make sure it looks as clean and tidy as a university bedroom the day Mum is coming to call.

2.    Have you added your latest achievements?
I have a saying which everyone in the team hates: “it’s the sizzle that sells the sausage”.  A lovely sizzling sausage smells great, gets your taste buds going, the sound and the smell filling you with expectation. Your CV needs to do the same for your next employer. Check out my BLOG on this subject.  In the context of your CV the sizzle is supplied by your achievements.  And what are they? They are examples that evidence your expertise and excellence in your job.  Examples of achievements are: targets met, costs reduced, products designed ahead of time, contracts won, projects completed.  Wherever possible, back your achievements up with numbers.  

Look at this.

Which of the following has the most “sizzle”:
A.    Met annual target
B.    Beat annual target
C.    Delivered sales of 120% of target, ranking 2nd of 130 sales people in the company, an achievement recognised by winning an all expenses paid weekend in Paris. 

3.    Is it targeted?
You must always target your CV to the job and company you want to work for next. Do your homework.  Have you showcased the achievements that your potential next employer will find exciting?  Have you illustrated your knowledge by using the right language?

4.    Does it look the part?
Times New Roman is so 20th century.  Does your CV look visually appealing?  Use a nice, modern, crisp font.  My current favourites are Calibri or Avenir Book.  Is the layout consistent?  Are there gaps in the text that are making the overall document too long - less is more in a CV. Have you used a spell checker and also asked a friend to read it through? Please tell me that you have avoided twiddly fonts, coloured type and portrait photos that make you look like a glamour model or a serial killer.  And please don’t tell me that you like Italian food and the novels of Clive Cussler. Don’t include hobbies unless they add value to your CV.

5.    Keywords
In most industries the first contact that a recruiter will have with your CV will be mediated by a piece of software, In other words, the recruiter will scan your CV and the software will pull out and categorise all of the keywords present.  When a client gives them a job requirement the same process will be followed.  It will be scanned into the computer and all of the key words extracted.  The software will then match the keywords in the Job Order with all of the CVs in the database, and the 10 with the largest number of matched keywords will pop out.  

So, make sure that your CV is full of the keywords for the industry and the job that you want to do next.

I hope you can see that there is a lot more to this spring-cleaning malarkey than a can of pledge and a duster.  

If you have better things to do, like mowing the lawn or painting the fence, just give me a call on 0333 300 1296, or contact me for a FREE CV Review.  I’ll be pleased to help.


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