When it comes to finding a new role, your CV is often the first thing potential employers will look at after your cover letter.
This means it is easy to feel the pressure of crafting a memorable, professional CV that lands you your dream role.
On the plus side, it is also an opportunity to showcase who you are, and what makes you an ideal candidate for the job.
The problem is that CVs are not as simple to write as they used to be.
With more competition in all industries, you’ll need to bear some important factors in mind when producing the perfect one.
Here’s what you need to consider when building the perfect CV…
It is tempting to write down everything you know about yourself when crafting your CV.
While you should be proud of every achievement and personality quirk, not all of this information will be relevant.
You might like hiking on the weekend, but unless this can further your application, it may be best to leave it out.
Despite this, there is some information you should always include.
Your personal profile, education history, key skills, work experience, and contact details should always be on there.
For a perfect resume or CV in this regard, run your first draft through an online test to see if you’ve missed out anything of value.
Another big trap to avoid is lying about experience, education, or achievements.
Anything that cannot be verified, don’t include.
Potential employers will find out pretty quickly whether these lies match up if they invite you in for an interview.
One thing you can do is enhance the truth.
Any impressive figures, awards, or companies should be bolstered as much as possible.
When you’re applying for your first, part-time job as a teenager, the same, standard CV will have been enough to get you a job.
As you get older, the story changes. You’ll likely be applying to various roles within the same sector, or branching out to join a new industry.
In any case, this means that your usual CV can’t be used when applying for every job role.
Instead, you’ll need to tailor your content (and sometimes your design) to match the company, industry, or role.
For example, you won’t need to detail your first bartending job when you were 18 for a job in software development twenty years down the line.
You may think this isn’t an important step, but tailoring your content proves that you’ve considered your employer throughout your application, by giving them only the information and flair they need to make a measured decision.
Content is king when it comes to crafting a CV, but the layout is just as essential.
Without a clear, reader-friendly layout, you can expect employers to throw your CV out before even reading it.
This is largely because they want to absorb all they need to know about you, without a clunky or gaudy layout getting in the way.
Layout covers various elements of your CV, like your font, text size, sections, and spacing.
Everything about your layout should be crafted with your employer in mind.
This means you might wish to use bullet points to detail achievements, or that you use a modern font that doesn’t distract from your words.
At the end of the day, employers be drawn in by a layout that makes it as easy as possible for them to read your information.
These requirements have led to a few, classic, golden layouts that you can rely on to make maximum impact.
The most popular of these is a chronological format, where you’ll list your employment experience from most recent to oldest.
If you’re applying to a new industry, skills-based formats may work more in your favour.
You can also combine these formats to make a more targeted CV that appeals to each different employer you’re applying with.
One last thing to remember is that employers these days may read your CV from their smartphones when on the go, or their tablet to save paper.
In the chance this happens, optimise your CV for mobile use, so as not to disturb your layout.
One of the biggest mistakes people make with CVs is trying to cram as much information on there as possible.
The perfect CV is going to need balance.
As previously stated, much of this “crammed” information won’t be relevant to your job role.
After you’ve cut down on fillers, work through each section condense it, by seeing if you can avoid repetition, tautologies, and clichéd jargon.
One rule that you should stick to is not having a CV that is over two full, A4 pages, if it can be helped.
Put simply, any more than this puts employers off from reading it.
It also shows you’re not able to condense useful information into digestible chunks- an important skill in any line of work.
If you’re having trouble filling this space, make use of paragraph spacing and bullet points to further improve your layout.
It doesn’t matter how incredible your words are if your design makes it difficult for employers to read.
Covering everything from background graphics to colour, the right design can make just as much of an impact on your progression.
The general rule here is that a cool, simple colour palette and geometric graphics looks slick and professional.
Yet, it is worth remembering that creative industries may value tasteful dashes of colour and bolder designs, as this showcases your imagination more than your CV content will.
Regardless of which kind of role you’re searching for, using colour sparingly can highlight the information you want employers to reach first.
Sticking to mostly black fonts, however, will also ensure that your CV design doesn’t make it harder for employees to read.
One thing to consider here is whether or not you would like to include an image of yourself on your CV.
While some companies prefer to take an anonymous approach, others may wish to see if your professionalism translates through your photograph.
Cheers for the information Gil!
Some top quality tips that you really need to keep in mind if you want to own the perfect CV.
For further help, check out some of our other blogs in our Candidate Tips.
You’ll find all the info. you need to get through your job search without losing hope completely!