This month, I thought I’d put together a tips post relevant to something I’ve been working on myself lately. Having not updated my CV since finishing university 3 years ago, I thought it was about time to get myself up to date and a CV that I am proud of. I must admit I had no teaching about how to put a CV together through school, sixth form or university so everything I’ve learnt is through friends or by using the magic of Google. I’ve now got a CV I love and am ready to send out as and when I see jobs I love.
Below, I’ve put together 5 of my top tips on what to do when you are creating, editing or updating your CV.
1. Put Important/Relevant Information in Prominent Positions
Your most important information is your most recent educational acheivements, your most recent job/work experience and your skills. They are the main things that any potential employer is looking at, in order to check your achievements, your past experience and what you have to offer the company and how well you suit the role you are applying for.
In my opinion, these are the areas that need the most information, put down your degree grade, put down your roles and responsibilities in your current job and emphasise your skills whether personal – hard working, good communications skills, reliable etc or professional – excellent at HTML, proficient in Excel etc. When it comes to your GCSE grades, don’t bother listing them if you have any education above that as employers will not really be interested if you got a C in PE but make sure you highlight your proficency in English and Mathematics as they’ll always want to know that you have the basics.
Also, make sure your contact information is visible, prominent and up to date!
2. Condense Everything Down To A Page, if possible
This sounds like the biggest challenge in the world, and quite frankly it is but if you can do it then do. I just managed to fit mine into just a page but if I get more experience I will need to go onto a second page. Me and my boyfriend have both spent a long time on our CV’s lately and we’ve both knocked nearly a page or more of our CV’s which makes things look neater and things read a lot better too. I’m sure you’ll have heard a lot about employers getting bored reading through endless CV’s and I’m sure that is very true, so the more you can fit on just one page the better and more likely employers will read the whole thing.
3. Edit, Edit & Edit Some More
My old CV was awful, that is something I realised as soon as I cobbled together my new one. I started with a completely blank document and added section at a time from my old CV, editing as I went. It is amazing how much I managed to get rid of, things I didn’t need, things that weren’t relevant, repititions and terrible grammar!
Like I said above, I ditched a whole page that was unnecessary through editing and making sentence strutures better. I didn’t lose any important information, I just made everything better than it was and a lot more to the point. I can’t stress enough that one edit is not enough either. Write it and edit, leave it and edit again and then ask at least 2 people to read through your CV before you even think about sending it off anywhere. It is surprising how something looks right one day but you notice the clear mistakes in it the next.
4. Use a Thesaurus
The thesaurus is my best friend, as a writer it is an invaluable tool for finding great words to use within my work, stopping the repetition and showcasing the best of the English language. On your CV, it can help with great ways to describe your skills or roles without overusing the same words or just using basic English.
I really think the thesaurus is great when it comes to CV writing and if you find you are repeating yourself a lot throughout your CV then get on the thesaurus website and find some new words to wow future employers with.
5. Keep Everything Up To Date
So now you have your new CV, it is all up to date, edited to perfection and full of all the important information about you that employers need to know. You are all sorted for applying for as many jobs as possible, however you need to remember to keep your CV up to date.
I recommend doing a review of it every month or two to be on the safe side but definitely make sure to update your CV the moment you change address, get a new phone number, change your surname, get a new job, take on new responsibilities at work etc. It is important to keep your CV up to date so employers know what is relevant and what is not, plus keeping contact details up to date is crucial in order to be informed of any interview or job offers given to you.
I’m not CV expert but these are all things I picked while edited and rewriting my CV over the last few weeks. I hope they will help any of you looking to update, edit or start out on making their CV.