Hannah’s Top Tips for a Successful CV

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31 Aug 2020 | Hannah Brewer

Let’s talk CVs. I see a lot of them and wanted to share my top tips for a successful and memorable CV. Your CV will ultimately decide the fate of your next career move. Sounds like a pretty big deal, right? Trust me, it is. The reality is, recruiters and hiring managers can easily spot the candidates who put in the extra effort and have given it their best shot to stand out, and those who haven’t. Unfortunately though, we see CVs every day that are missing that extra bit of love and attention and it doesn’t have to be that way. It won’t take long to jazz up your CV with my tips below to make sure you have a memorable and successful CV that will get you noticed (for the right reasons).

Your CV is the very first impression that you will make on your potential new employer – so you need to make it count! I’ll be completely honest with you, it’s an employer’s market at the moment, and a lot of amazingly talented candidates are applying for new roles. Competition is tough so you need to make sure you are memorable for the right reasons – a stand out CV showcasing why you are right for the role.

I am having conversations every day with businesses who tell me that they’re receiving hundreds of applications per role, so they are required to be extremely cut-throat – if they spot a typo, or the fonts and sizing are mismatched, the layout is inconsistent, explanations about responsibilities are brief or bland (the list goes on)… your application is more likely to be rejected. Attention to detail is key with your CV, and if you can’t get it right on your CV, it raises a red flag.

So take some time to get your CV up to scratch with the tips below, so you can put your best foot forward and give yourself the greatest possible chance of progressing through the process:

The Basics

Spelling, punctuation, and grammar are so important! You may have looked over your CV a hundred times, and that makes small mistakes hard to spot. It is critical to let someone else cast over it with fresh eyes. You could have overlooked the simplest mistake that a hiring manager will notice like a flashing light. It’s just so easy to overlook a small error on your own work.

Don't Forget the Detail

Is your layout consistent? Do your fonts match? What about your spacing?
You have about 10 seconds to make an impression on whoever is reading your CV. So you must ensure that it’s as clear and concise as possible. Your CV should look modern and relevant. If you last updated your CV 10 years ago and Times New Roman was your font of choice, this will now look outdated – a simple font change will have your CV looking much more impressive.
When it comes down to the crunch and you are ready to submit your CV, ensure that you send it as a PDF document, it looks much more professional and official.

Key Skills

Have a section under your professional summary that bullet points your key skills. Keep it simple. Short, sharp and to the point so it’s easy to read and is effective. This is particularly important for senior positions as there are certain skills that are required. For example, if you are applying for a Senior EA role that requires a lot of Board coordination, ensure you put your specific Board experience and skills in this section. Where possible, if you have a lot of the skills that have been advertised in a job, highlight these so that the recruiter or hiring manager can see immediately that you have the skills for the job. This will be one of the first things that a hiring manager will see when they open your CV, and you’ll already be ticking their boxes.

Dates

Your dates must always be laid out with the month and year – for example if I see 2017 – 2018, this could mean two years or two months, depending on the months! Please ensure you are writing June 2017 – December 2018. Make it clear. Some candidates worry that if they put the months it will highlight an employment gap or a short stint in a role – but this will all come out and when there are dozens of applications to go through and yours raises questions – there is a chance you will be overlooked as your experience wasn’t clear. A short stint with a valid reason isn’t a deal breaker. So try not to worry about something that is a fact. We will always ask your reasons for leaving, so it’s important that we have the full picture.
At the moment, I am seeing a number of candidates who haven’t updated their current employment dates – many candidates will still have ‘present’ on their most recent role, when in actual fact they left a few months ago. Make sure this is updated before you apply to any role as it’s all these details that count in building a good rapport with your recruiter.

So there you have it, a few basic tips to spruce up your CV so you can apply with confidence! Sprint is always here to be your fresh set of eyes, should you wish to put your CV forward for a quick critique.

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