How to spring clean your CV

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Recruitment agents and potential employers receive scores of applications for every job they advertise, so it’s essential your CV makes you stand out. Ensuring your CV says all it needs to without going overboard on the details is a tricky balancing act, but get it right and you’ll create an excellent first impression that could really take you places.

Yes, it’s great to talk results, but don’t divulge all your secrets about achieving them – save that part for the interview. Likewise, you can allude to the many responsibilities you held while working on a complex project without taking up valuable space by explicitly stating all the components.

Keep it clear and concise

A clear, succinct snapshot of who you are and what you’re capable of is what you should be aiming for, but how should this actually play out on paper? Limit yourself to one page if you’re only just beginning your career and keep it to two if you have more experience. Consider adjusting font sizes in order to facilitate this, but avoid making text hard to read or larger than looks natural. And always remember to number your pages and include your name in the footer, just in case they become separated at any stage.

Here are some other tips for spring cleaning your CV to make it really shine:

Remove unnecessary info – think ‘elevator pitch’ and condense your achievements down to the key essentials.

Eliminate jargon – ensure the language you use is easily digestible to facilitate skim-reading.

Create an appealing layout– white space is paramount on your CV, otherwise it becomes difficult to look at. Avoid page clutter by removing superfluous sub-headings and dates. Consider using different colours and fonts to break your CV into sections or make certain elements stand out.

Flexible and adaptable – your CV needs to be easy to tailor to specific jobs, so avoid spending too much time making it absolutely perfect in the initial stages and instead adapt it for every role you go after.

Update your skills – even without undertaking training courses or getting a promotion since you last went through the job application process you’ll have acquired lots of new skills, experience and knowledge that will impress employers. It’s also worth taking a moment or two to re-phrase existing sentences that are still relevant, in order to update them with current terminology or simply make you sound more senior.

Results speak louder than words – tap into what the recruiter is after and use tangible examples to prove you’ve got what it takes.

Use another pair of eyes – nothing’s more likely to get your CV thrown in the bin than poor spelling and grammar. Once you’ve put your CV through spellcheck and have read, re-read and read again to check for sense, get someone else to do the same.

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