When Did You Last Look at Your CV?
Have you been in this situation?
You find an amazing job and then suddenly realise you need to update your CV.
So you quickly add in your current job details on your CV, update your application letter with the recruiter's name and send it off with crossed fingers.
But how often have you spent quality time updating + enhancing your CV BEFORE a job opportunity appears?
Whether you are actively searching for a role right now [or will be one day] - it's always a fantastic idea to proactively review your CV and give it some extra polish, WITHOUT the rush.
Updating it regularly every 6 months is a great guide, especially when achievements are fresh in your mind. This will help you to create a kick-ass resume that stands out from the other applicants.
Here are my best tips for creating an amazing + eye-catching CV (or resume):
Achievement Based Resume
Most people will list their previous roles and only include what their key responsibilities or duties were. This is a big mistake - as most recruiters already have a good understanding of what responsibilities and tasks a role has.
Your CV should represent YOU - not generic job descriptions.
For an achievement based CV, you can include a brief description of each role but more importantly - you list your Key Achievements.
You might think that your responsibilities ARE your key achievements, but describing your unique achievements and experience is what makes you YOU.
Your CV should be a reflection of what you have achieved, not simply what the role was.
What were the achievements, successes and growth that you experienced in each role? It is also important to include specific and tangible results.
These can be hard to write at first, but an easy way to create your achievements is to answer just 2 questions:
- What did you do
- What was the outcome/benefit/saving/value
For example - instead of writing:
- Responsible for conference and meeting management
- Successfully coordinated an international conference for 20 delegates across 3 different timezones, including resolving IT compatibility issues
Hint: Recruiters will prefer reading your personalised CV, instead of the same job descriptions that they have seen on so many other applications.
Your application letter and CV should always be tailored towards the role you are applying for.
Review the job description and identify the key themes or words that stand out. You can then use these throughout your CV and application letter.
Recruiters often use software to scan applications and you will be included in the results more often if you use the language specific to the role or organisation.
Ensure that the achievements you have included on your CV also match the role you are applying for. If you apply for different roles, create a separate CV for each type of role.
Hint: if you insist on including a 'Career Objective' on your CV, PLEASE ensure you have updated it so that it's current and is for the role you are applying for!
Format + Spelling
I have reviewed a LOT of CVs throughout my career - and it still surprises me how many people have submitted them with spelling and formatting errors.
Resumes don't need to have fancy formatting, font, borders or graphics. Simple text works - as long as it is clear, easy to read, well spaced and there are no errors.
Find CV templates online, use spell check several times and get someone you trust to review it.
Also - make sure your email address is professional. Did you know that you can also personalise your Linked In URL address?
Hint: remove jargon, acronyms or any confidential information from your CV.
Keep it to the Point
Your CV should only be 3-4 pages max. I once reviewed a CV that was 7 pages long... that's WAY too long!
The key is to keep it sharp and not waffle on. Use the space wisely to maximise the information you can include.
You can choose between a chronological or a skills based resume. This will depend on the type of role you are applying for and personal preference.
Don't leave role gaps - include jobs no matter how short or long they were. Be prepared to answer questions about short term roles or any gaps in your career history.
Previous roles that were too long ago can be described as 'Previous roles held in XXXX industry' or leave them off altogether.
Hint: Remember the CV is just an overview of you and your achievements. You will be able to share more detail in your interview.
Unique Selling Point (USP)
When writing your CV and application letters - remember to include your unique selling point, or USP.
What are the individual talents, skills and strengths that make you YOU? What differentiates you to all of the other candidates? Why are YOU perfect for the role?
Your USP is WHY they should hire you.
Your CV and application letter is not the time to downplay your achievements and strengths - get comfortable with promoting yourself and bring your amazing career to life on the page.
If you need help with creating a standout CV, the most effective job hunting strategies, or to nail that interview with confidence - find out more here.