7 Easy Ways To Update Your CV Right Now
The Debrief: Because a CV is the gateway to a person's soul. Or something.
A wise person once said: a CV is the gateway to a person’s soul. At least, I think they did. It sounds like something a wise person would say, doesn't it?
Regardless, it's pretty important to nail your CV, especially if you're trying to land your next big career move. Which is exactly why I spoke to Mildred Talabi, a CV Makeover Expert who's written a whole book about it, 7 Keys To A Winning CV, to get her advice on how to make sure your CV is as good as it can be.
1. Make sure it looks fresh
‘Give it a fresh look in terms of the layout, format: the presentation side of things. A lot of people still use the awful Times New Roman font on their CV - avoid this at all costs. Fonts like that and Arial are outdated and the fonts you use make a big difference so go for more modern looking fonts.
‘You can afford to be a bit more creative with your CV but it depends on your industry; if you’re going for an accountant job they’re most likely not going to appreciate a wild looking CV but if you’re going into the field of marketing, part of that is to market yourself so your CV needs to portray what you’re going for. Don’t go over the top, but make sure the presentation looks good and it’s suited to your industry.’
2. You don’t need a picture
‘In the UK you don’t put pictures on your CV – in other European countries it’s much more common. As long as you’re not going for a modelling or acting job or something where looks are part of your job then it’s not necessary. In fact, it can even open you up to discrimination.’
3. Layout is key
‘Never put “Curriculum Vitae” or “CV” at the top; it’s redundant. You know what a CV is when you look at one. Start with your name at the top, then your contact details as well as any useful social media links –if you have a LinkedIn profile definitely include that.
‘You then have a “Personal Profile” which should be a quick summary, about three sentences, of what you’re about and how you meet the objectives of the industry you’re going for, the general field – not specifically that job.
‘The next bit is “Key Skills” so your skills at a glance. Then I often recommend a “Significant Achievements” section to highlight the key elements of success in your career, like anything remarkable that you’ve done. The whole idea is that you don’t want the employer to work hard to find the information that makes you stand out – you want to present this as early and succinctly as possible.
‘Once you’ve done all that you can go into your “Career History” and then “Education and Training”. Then close off with “Interests and Activities”. If you’re a student or a graduate who doesn’t have much career history yet, then put your education first.”
4. It's important to include your interests
‘It gives a different aspect of your CV. Writing a few sentences on what you do outside of work and your interested acts as a window into your personality; who you are outside of work. That can help the employer identify whether you’d be a cultural fit for their organisation as well as just the skill fit. It can bring up a nice talking point with your interviewer when you get to that stage too.’
5. You don’t need references at the bottom
‘Definitely not! And not even “references available on request”. It’s just a waste of space - no employer is going to contact your references without you getting through to at least the interview stage. It’s something that we know that you’re going to need so you don’t need to say it. You only want things on the CV which will help to sell you and you want to communicate as concisely as possible.
6. Give yourself a headline
‘This is similar to what you have on LinkedIn and should immediately summarise what you’re about. For example, ‘award winning journalist’. For an employer reading your CV it means they can immediately tell what you’re about. You have to grab them from the beginning incase they don’t read on.’
7. Use bullet points where appropriate
‘They help to communicate a message quickly so something like your “Interests and Activities” section shouldn’t be written out, as should your “Personal Profile”. “Skills” should be in bullet points because it shows them at a glance. But don’t over do them: it loses the whole point of bullet points and it’s about having a mixture of both.’
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