Three Tips For Improving Your CV

October 2020

CV writing is very hard. It is by no means an easy thing. If you’re struggling with it, as I did, that is completely normal. It is both an art and a science as you have to write creatively and be impactful whilst still emphasising the key results and achievements that make it stand out. Here are my three top tips to consider when creating your CV.

1. Formatting

Keep it concise. Keep it to two pages and no more than two pages. Always use a professional sans serif font such as Arial, Times New Roman and Cambria. Correct tenses are important. Use bullet points and white spacing to separate the fields. Use Word and don’t convert to PDF. The majority of grad scheme scan CV’s digitally through an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), so if you submit a word document which is converted to a pdf, all the programme is going to do is convert it back to a text-based word document. This conversion may not always be 100% accurate, so you may lose vital information in the process.

2. Show don't tell.

When talking about previous job roles, don't just list your responsibilities. I see this with almost every CV I work on. Don’t just tell me what you did, show me how well you did it and what impact it had. Employers want to see quantifiable and measurable results.

For example, rather than saying: ‘Gained new business through various sales techniques.’

You could say: ‘Generated £25K of revenue through the acquisition of 12 new customer accounts.’

The latter is much more compelling and proves your value. Use the numbers to your advantage. 

3. Remove anything that gives employers an opportunity to discriminate

This could be something like your address. You could live in Leeds but you could be applying for a job in London. When an employer sees your Leeds address on the CV they may use that as means for rejection. They could think you’ve applied to it without realising the job location or that you won’t be able to commute the distance for example. Another thing could be your picture. Your CV might catch that recruiter on a bad day where for whatever reason they just don’t like the look of you. Of course employers shouldn’t reject based on this but take it out of their hands and don’t give them the chance.