It can be daunting updating your CV, especially if you have been in the same role or organisation for many years. If it took you ages to locate your old CV, chances are your contact details, current position and qualifications are out of date too.
Do not panic. I repeat do not panic! Help is at hand. Melan Mag has a simple guide to refresh your CV and help you get to interview stage and improve your career prospects. Remember, a good CV can bring you one step closer to your dream job.
10 top tips
1. Remember what the purpose of a CV is:
A Curriculum Vitae, Latin for ‘the course of life’ is a snapshot of your career history, achievements, experience, qualifications and interests. It is often your first opportunity as a job seeker to connect with potential employers with the aim of being asked to interview for a role.
2. Should a CV be one page?
The priority is creating a detailed, yet concise CV. Ensure that the information you include is vital and the font size and style is reasonable – no smaller than size 10 font. Often the ‘one-page rule’ relates to advice offered to you in college and earlier stages of your career. Since then, you have probably amassed a wealth of experience and you may need more than one page. Therefore, relax! It is usual for a CV to be two pages, and academics CVs may be as long as three pages.
3. Presentation is everything
By improving the visual impact of your CV you are maximizing your chances of being noticed amongst other applicants. Use a professional template, such as those available in Microsoft Office, to keep the layout organised. Present your experience in reverse chronological order, and remember, bullet points are your friend.
4. Use section headers
For traditional CVs the following headers will help to give an accurate description of the information to include.
– Contact Details (include full name, email address, phone number)
– Personal profile (summary of yourself and your career objectives)
– Work experience (reverse chronological list of relevant job titles – include dates, and company name)
– Academic qualifications (reverse chronological list, highlighting your highest qualification)
– Skills and professional training (First Aider, Fire Warden, Conflict Management Level 2 for example)
– Achievements and interests (volunteer sports coach, book club member, for example)
5. Not just a Degree
Congratulations! You have a degree; now let recruiters know the skills you acquired because of it. Rather than a list of modules, explain how these modules and coursework developed particular skills useful for the position you’re applying for. Abagail Moss, Senior consultant at the Graduate Recruitment Company says: “A Levels should be subject and grade detailed, whereas for the GCSEs just the grades are fine.” For e.g: Attained 10 GCSEs (1 Grade A, 7 Grade B, and 2 Grade C).
6. Showcase your achievements
During your career you would have some achievements that you are proud of, won awards and taken part in extra-curricular activities. Select the examples that demonstrate how you are suitable for the role. Make sure you keep track of your achievements and include them on your CV. This is what sets you apart from other applicants.
7. Tailor your CV to the job you are applying for
CV expert, Victoria Matthews from The National Careers Service says: “If you’re replying to a job advert, look at the skills and experience it asks for, and make sure your CV and covering letter detail how your skills match the position.”
8. Be aware of using jargon
Avoid using jargon in your CV. It is important to use clear, concise English. Highlight your niche skills and role specific terminology if it is vital to a particular job you are applying for. Do try to avoid abbreviations where possible. Ultimately, it should be clear to anybody who reads your CV, what you do, so bear this in mind when choosing your words.
9. Avoid job descriptions
Recruiters are interested in how and what you did to achieve your duties rather than just a list of your job duties. “Concentrate on achievements such as products launches, sales increase, awards won – not rewriting your job description. Quote figures whenever possible.” The Telegraph
10. Proof read your CV
Grammar and spell check tools are at your disposal so make sure you use them. Spelling and grammar is important to UK employers. You will probably send your CV electronically, so look out for red and green underlines. These highlight simple mistakes and detracts from the content. Once you have double checked your CV, you should ask a professional friend/family member to review your wording and style.