How long has it been since you last gave your CV a major overhaul? Has it been a while? If so, then you can greatly improve your chances of landing a job interview by taking a fresh look at your CV and giving it a bit of a spruce up.
Whether you have been in your present job for some time and are thinking of a change of career, or you are still looking for employment, but continue to send out your same old and tired CV, there is no better time than now to revise your CV and boost your job prospects.
We have some top tips for updating your CV to give you a better chance of standing out from the crowd and being noticed by your next employer.
Don’t send out a generic CV for every job application
Having a bog-standard generic CV may seem like a good idea. After all, it’s a great time saver, right? Actually having a generic CV that you use for every job application isn’t a good idea at all. Your application would run the risk of coming over as wishy-washy and bland with nothing special on it that would make you stand out to employers.
What you need to do is to change the wording for each job that you apply for. You don’t have to completely re-write your whole CV, but simply add relevant keywords and highlight your most valuable skills that would appeal to that particular employer.
You can get a good idea about the sort of keywords you should use in your CV and cover letter by carefully reading the job advert and the job description. Each company has their own culture and way of using language that can differ from each other. Look for specific key words, phrases and descriptions and mirror those in your CV wording. These key words and phrases will stand out on the first skim of your CV and will help you get past the first stage of the selection process.
Highlight your most valuable skills
You will know from reading the job advert and job description what the company are looking for in a candidate. Usually they will spell out the sort of skills, experience and qualifications that you should have. Where you have matching skills and qualifications, then make these a priority. Highlight these at the top of each section when listing your skills and qualifications so that they are read first by the employer.
It is a known fact that most employers don’t read to the very end of each CV that they look at. They read enough to get a snapshot or a brief understanding of your skills and experiences and have usually decided if you are right for the position on offer within 15 to 20 seconds of scanning your CV.
You don’t want to overwhelm the employer with too much information, so when revising your skills and qualifications sections, take out any that are not directly relevant for the position on offer, or really old work experience that has no bearing on the type of work you would be doing.
Most employers will want to know your most recent work-related skills and experiences, so noting down that you spent a summer as a lifeguard ten years ago isn’t going to interest them if the job you are applying for is in a sales office. Keep your information brief and and geared towards the job in hand.
By highlighting the relevant skills and experiences that you have, the employer reading your CV will see that you are not only suitable for interview, but that you will potentially be bringing some valuable skills with you to the role.
Cut out the dead wood
Sprucing up your CV is a great idea because it gives you the opportunity to cut out old and expired information. For example, there may be some training courses you took a long while ago where the certificates or licences may have expired or may no longer be valid.
Remember that your CV isn’t an essay. It is a place where you store and display your most important and relevant parts of your history. It is a summary or snapshot of what qualifies you for the job you are applying for. This is why you should revise your CV regularly, especially to update it with any fresh skills or work experience that you have recently gained since you last amended your CV.
From a recruiters point of view, it is much easier for them to read and digest a CV that is short and to the point. Just the sight of a five page CV can make an employers eyes roll even before they have had a chance to read your name.
Take some time out to spruce up your CV and remember to tailor the details to match each new job that you apply for. This is the best way to get your CV noticed and put in the ‘yes’ pile for interview.