10 Quick Steps To Improve Your CV

Quantify your achievements
It’s all well and good saying you improved sales in your previous job, but by how much? Using numbers / percentages to quantify your achievements and responsibilities is the quickest and easiest way of improving your CV and can significantly improve your chances as a candidate.

Identify your target
When applying for a job, do some research. For example, if you’re a Payroll Administrator, looking to progress to a Payroll Manager, type ‘Payroll Manager Job Description’ into Google. This will give you an insight into the qualities a recruiter would be looking for. As an example, we found this (courtesy of https://www.careersandjobsuk.com):

“A Payroll Manager is responsible for all Payroll functions within a business and usually reports directly to the Human Resources Director and sometimes also to the Financial Director.

The responsibilities of a Payroll Manager include being responsible for managing all Payroll Staff, plus developing all processes necessary to manage the optimum functioning of all Payroll processing and objectives. This falls into the accounting sector.

A large part of the job’s scope requires fantastic interpersonal skills as the Payroll Manager is expected to manage Internal Auditors as well as external relationships with Auditors and governmental agencies.

A Payroll Manager spends a large amount of time planning, co-ordinating and implementation of the functions of the Payroll Department.”

In the above description, you should be picking out key words for inclusion in your CV. For example: your interpersonal communication skills, time management / planning and financial staff reporting.

Use an attractive CV design
Avoid using the standard CV templates provided on MS Word. Instead, try and create your CV in a unique style to grab the reader’s attention! For more information on this subject, read more on fonts to use on a CV and CV quadrant design method.

Prioritise your CV’s content
If you’re currently a Project Manager but have a history of experience in Training and are now looking at getting back into the training industry, you’ll want to ensure that this experience comes to the fore when writing your CV. You might need to consider using a functional CV design, rather than the standard chronological design.

Do not include personal hobbies
This is often seen as a difficult subject. A lot of CV writing companies tell you to include hobbies; others tell you to leave them out. We believe the best thing to do is to leave out anything that wouldn’t add any value to your CV. For example, nearly everyone likes to, ‘read, travel and socialise’…therefore, leave it out. However, if you recently completed a marathon for charity that showcases your self-motivation, include it!

Keep your CV black and white
It can be tempting to use images and fancy colours to make your CV stand out. However, with 99% of CVs distributed digitally and then printed off, there is a chance that your colour choices do not display correctly if printed in black and white (which usually is the case!)

Check, check and check again!
Before distributing your CV, ask a friend or family member to read through it and check for errors. You may think you’ve done this already, however, proofreading something you created is often the most difficult thing to you, as when checking, you often read what you ‘expect’ to be there, rather than what is ‘actually’ there.

Don’t use pronouns!
Ensure your sentences remain short and punchy throughout the CV and start them with action words / verbs. For example, instead of, “I researched the market for possible opportunities,” say, “Researched the market for possible opportunities.”

Check your contact details
Before submitting your CV to a recruiter, double check your contact details are up to date. It’s surprising how many candidates forget to update a new mobile number or have incorrect address details after moving. In addition, while doing this, check how professional your answerphone message sounds. There’s nothing worse than a recruiter calling you for an interview, only to be greeted by a ‘joke’ answerphone message!

Avoid content redundancy and duplication
If you have a lot of similar positions on your CV, avoid the temptation to simply copy and paste the responsibilities to ‘pad out’ the page. Instead, try and include something different in each position!

With 20+ years of experience writing CVs, it still puts a smile on my face when I hear a client has secured an interview Lee Tonge - Founder and Director


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