Let’s be honest, you really hate doing your CV, don’t you? You can probably think of 101 more pleasurable things you’d rather be doing with your time than staring at your PC trying to figure out whether your education needs to go before your career history or vice versa.
Well, my reluctant jobseeking friend, in case you haven’t heard, unemployment rate is at its highest ever (2.67 million unemployed to be exact) which means that the competition for jobs is tough, very tough. For every job advertised, you’re now looking at an average of 69 other applicants vying for the same position as you. This means that if you’re going to have any chance of getting the job you want (or any job for that matter), you’re going to need a winning CV as your ally.
How do you know if your CV cuts the mustard? Very simple – if you can identify with one or more of the signs below, your CV needs a makeover – and fast!
5 sure signs you need a CV makeover
1) You have the words “CV” or “Curriculum Vitae” at the very top of your CV
Please be assured that the average intelligent employer knows a CV when they see one so you can safely remove these meaningless words with no consequences. A far better alternative is to write your name and surname at the top of your CV in big bold letters (I recommend a font size in the 20s) – if there’s one thing you want the employer to remember after reading your CV, it has got to be your name.
2) You’re still using the Times New Roman font
When computers were little more than slightly complicated versions of the typewriter, Times New Roman was the “in” font, alongside Arial. Whereas the latter is still hanging on by its last legs, Times New Roman has long passed its sell by date when it comes to CVs.
Using Times New Roman immediately dates your CV by about 10 years – it doesn’t matter how recently you may have updated it, handing in a CV typed out in Times New Roman screams, “Hey, this lazy one hasn’t even bothered to send in an updated CV!” and you can imagine which HR bin your CV will be quickly joining with this damnation.
These days you can get access to dozens of clean, clear, modern fonts in your standard Microsoft Word package (such as Verdana, Calibri or Tahoma) so you really have no excuse to still be stuck in the Times New Roman time warp.
3) You’ve included every single job you’ve ever done this side of the planet
I’ve come across countless CVs from jobseekers who take the “Career History” section so literally that they bore the employer to death by including every job they’ve ever had in their working life!
One of the vital 7 keys to a winning CV is to be very specific and targeted – this means deciding which industry you want to work in and tailoring your CV to match the necessary requirements of this industry and this industry alone. This affects everything on your CV – from the way you word your introduction (Personal Profile) to the skills you decide to display and the jobs you need to include.
The general rule of thumb is that the more you advance in your career, the less the earlier stuff matters, particularly where it is no longer relevant to your current career path. Getting rid of the dead wood also saves you precious space on your CV which you can use to highlight more of your good points.
4) You have full details of your GCSE subjects and grades received
If you’re under 21, fresh out of college or university and with not much experience under your belt to get started in the world of work, it’s okay to include your GCSE subjects and results on your CV – after all, there’s not much else to write about, is there?
But if you’ve been working for a while and you still mention the fact that you got a ‘C+’ for Religious Studies on your CV, it’s time to let go of the past. There are core GCSE subjects, such as Maths and English, that are important requirements for certain jobs, but if you really must list these, it’s better to put a summary sentence such as “9 GCSE A-C grades, including Maths and English” than to list every single one of your subjects and grades. This is even more important where you’ve since gone on to obtain far more advanced qualifications and training in your field.
5) You’ve been handing out your CV for months but still no interviews
This one goes without saying – if you’ve been actively job hunting for a period of time and you’re getting no results, it’s time to get a CV makeover. Yes, there is a chance that your CV may not be the culprit and something else may be to blame, however do you really want to take the risk of not knowing for sure? A far better strategy – which will also restore your job hunting confidence – would be to eliminate the potential that your CV could be the thing letting you down which would free you to then focus all your efforts on landing that dream job.
WIN A CV MAKEOVER!!!
To mark the launch of CV Makeover Expert, one lucky jobseeker will have the chance to win a CV makeover – worth £150 - EVERY month!
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