How to improve your CV - 31 tips to bliss
I've got 31 tips here to help you write or simply improve your CV.
I'm diving straight in as I've got lots to say about it.
Be prepared to allocate a good few hours to this task – get yourself into a positive frame of mind before you begin
Find a simple, easy-to-use CV template so that you can focus on the content creation
Before you start typing away think about your personal highlights, achievements, and challenges. Jot down notes to refresh your memory so you can pick off the best ones later
When you’re ready use the companies, your roles, and the dates of employment to create the initial structure
If you worked at a start-up or lesser-known brand add a brief description – make it easy for the reader to understand your experience
Details of your college and university education can go at the back (high school exam results aren’t necessary)
You might want to add interests – if so keep them up to date. It gives more insight into who you are and you never know if someone is looking out for a film, wine, or art buff for example
Mention languages, awards & philanthropic ventures
The important bits
Don’t forget that your CV is a marketing tool and a pitching document as well as a record of your work history
When anyone looks at your CV they’re looking for evidence of why you might be useful and relevant to a business
Your CV can be visually scanned in less than a minute – even more reason to create easy to read eye candy
You need to be selective about what goes on it, repetition and meaningless claims don’t make for an interesting read
But don’t worry about editing as you go along, do that later
Don’t turn your CV into a job description – it’s not it’s a summary of your work history and experience
Highlight the key responsibilities but focus on the results and your achievements – put them in context using punchy sentences.
Avoid empty generic statements, clichés, and corporate jargon (remove the fluff)
Tread carefully with terms like future thinking, visionary, transformational, dynamic, and results driven. Better to have someone say that about you and for you to give examples of results
Technical language is for technical job roles
Don’t overload your CV with too much information – important details can get lost amongst too much text
Avoid using first and third person terminology (third person is for Bios)
Tailor your CV according to the role you’re going for (one size does not fit all)
As you’re writing always have the reader in mind
Do it yourself – whilst using a professional CV writer might produce a pleasing looking document it won’t sound like you and it won’t help you to tell your career story when you get a meeting or an interview
If you’re under pressure to produce a CV quickly create a one-pager summary. This will buy you some time whilst you work on the detailed version
If you get lost, or a touch of writers block go back to your initial notes and connect back to your success and achievements
The less interesting bits
When it comes to editing keep reading for meaning and keep an eye out for repetition. You want to get your CV down to a couple of pages – yes really. I don’t think you’ll be penalized for a long CV but it’s not necessary and you’ll feel sharper if you sharpen yours up
Spell check, re-read and edit again. And make sure that your contact details are up-to-date
Ask a friend to read it too– if they don’t understand what you’ve written it’s time for more tweaking
Print it off to see how it looks, then when you’re happy with it, save it in PDF format with your name
Now don't you feel blissful after getting that done?
Need some inspiration?
How about 65 power words?
Need more help?
Work with me
I’ll help you with CV feedback, recommendations, and improvement, content creation, the art of telling your story and a confidential forum to discuss your CV and any concerns you have about it. I hear it’s enjoyable too!
I do practice what I preach – I won't write it for you but you will get my support, guidance and a headhunter's perspective throughout the process.
By the end you’ll have a better CV and feel better prepared for interviews.
Want to know more?
Send me a message and let's talk about it
Tracy Short & Co offers executive career coaching, recruitment & talent services, and exclusive networking meet-ups.
Tracy has a unique approach to career success – a fresh alternative to traditional career coaching and executive headhunters.
Get in touch to find out how I can help you or your company.