How Can I Improve My CV?
How can I make my CV sell me better?
So you’ve made the decision to look for a new position. You want a fresh challenge.
But what to do about your CV?
If you’ve moved jobs a few times in your career, your CV can look more like a dissertation of the businesses in the area than a true reflection of your skills … it can go on for pages!
Maybe you’re someone who hasn’t looked for a job for years and you’re literally starting from scratch, which can be daunting.
When I interview people, as part of the registration process with Clarity Appointments, I always critique my candidate’s CV. I want them to come away from our meeting feeling that I am on their side and I genuinely want them to find the right job for them.
Hopefully, this blog will help anyone putting together a new CV or revamping an old one, with the main pointers I give everyone I meet.
Firstly, ensure you have your name and contact details on there. You may think this is an obvious one, but I can’t tell you how many CV’s I review daily that don’t contain these basics.
Start with a profile. This is effectively your elevator pitch. It should only be a few lines, but basically sums up your key skills and what you are looking for. Essentially, it should answer the 'why should I hire you' question. Don't be afraid to tailor this to the job you are applying for.
Then go into your career history. Some people opt for a key skills section above this. This is fine, but keep it brief.
The first thing most employers will look at first before everything else is your most recent job. Ensure you have the name of your employer, the dates of employment and your job title. Now, I suggest to EVERYONE I talk to (because 99% of the people I meet don’t do this), that you add a line about what the company does. If you know the company turnover and number of employees, even better. Just one line will do it. It gives some perspective to your future employer who won’t know what ABC Services does. Do this for ALL your employers.
Then give a brief list of your duties.
Do not just copy and paste the job description you were given 10 years ago when you started. Really think about what you do on a day to day basis, and if relevant, the volumes of work you are handling. E.g. if you work on purchase ledger, how many invoices are you processing daily, and what sorts of values are you dealing with, and so on.
If you can, add a couple of achievements from your time there.
Avoid general statements that mean nothing, like 'handling paperwork'. What is the paperwork? What do you do with it? How much of it? If you're taking phone calls, what do they tend to be about? What systems are you using? What are your Excel spreadsheet skills like? What do you use them for?
Try not to be emotional about your duties. Be factual.
There are lots of rules around how long your CV should be but the general rule, and one we stand by, is to keep it to three sides of A4 (max 4). This may mean you only add detail to your most recent roles. Keep the rest as a summary. Company, job title and dates only.
Then talk about your education. School / College / University attended and what you studied. Don’t talk about GCSE’s if you actually studies O’levels and you don’t necessarily need to mention grades, depending on where you are in your career, especially if they're not that great. Let your experience shine through.
Lastly, talk about your hobbies and interests. Some of my clients won’t interview people that don’t include this as it says so much about who you are. However, again be factual and not too emotional. This section should be an opener to find out more during the interview.
With references, there’s no need to include all your contact details. 'Available on request' will suffice here, but DO have a record of who they are and ask permission when needed, to request a reference once you have a job offer.
Pick a nice clear font like Calibri, Ariel or Times Roman, no smaller than 9 and no larger than 12, except maybe for headings.
One final note … use your spelling and grammar checker.
Please check out our website for a more in-depth guide ... https://www.clarityappointments.co.uk/candidates/CV-writing-tips.html
Most good recruitment agencies will give you guidance if you are really struggling, and there are plenty of templates out there. Take your time over your CV. It is your personal piece of marketing that your prospective employer will use as an introduction to you. It is incredibly important and needs time and care.
Clarity Appointments is an independent recruitment agency specialising in accountancy and office vacancies. With a registered office in Stevenage, situated between St Neots and Cambridge, we work within Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, with some clients further reaching due to work won through referrals.
Contact us now for a free, no-obligation chat. Contact Clare here.
Clare Wight is the founder and Managing Director of Clarity Appointments, an independent recruitment specialist. She served as a Regional Director for The Employment Agents Movement, supporting other independent recruiters.
She remains an active member of Recconnect (formerly Members Only), a recruitment leadership network promoting high ethical standards, collaboration, diversity, equity and inclusion.
She believes business owners are more fulfilled and higher-performing when they provide emotional and professional business support to other business owners, even those they deem to be competitors. She does this actively, whilst challenging and updating her skills and knowledge of the recruitment sector, enabling her to offer the best advice to firms looking to make their next hire.