How to improve your CV
The CV can be written in a professional and neat manner that makes it easy for the recruiter to scan and read it; yet, most job hunters make the same mistakes in the compilation of their CVs. A few vital improvements to your CV can make the difference between you and the job hunter next to you. Check your CV for these common mistakes and use the guidelines to improve your CV.
Use bullets rather than paragraphs
Another way to improve your CV is to get rid of paragraphs. Paragraphs are great in your profile section, but should not be used throughout your CV. Use bullets to create a more readable CV. Always keep in mind that the recruiter normally scans through hundreds of CVs and should be able to identify the main points within 30 seconds.
List information based on relevancy to the employer
Your CV is not aimed at you as the reader and what may seem important to you is not necessarily relevant to the employer. Improve your CV by focusing on the most relevant information.
Your job title is the most important in your work history, so list it first, followed by the employer, city, and dates for starting and ending of employment. When you list your qualifications you should follow the same procedure. The name of the qualification (don’t use abbreviations) , the institute, city, completion date and the majors. Your work history and qualifications are listed in reverse chronological order.
Don’t assume the employer understands the acronyms you used
As a general guide, always spell out the acronym if you think that the employer may not be familiar with the term. Avoid using jargon and academic terms to describe qualifications and experience. They may look impressive, but the reader may not be familiar with the terms.
Get rid of unnecessary words and formatting in your CV
Only list dates that are relevant. You don’t need to state the dates for short courses, club membership or hobbies. Instead of parenthesis make use off commas as it improves readability. If space is limited, you can leave out the comment about references being available. Steer away from ‘I’ and ‘me’. Instead of using ‘I’ you could simply state the sentence. It is perfectly acceptable to use fragments in a CV.
Emphasize the abilities that you want to use at your next employer.
Don’t write essays on mundane tasks and skills. If you for example, did routine filing as part of your job, but had more important accomplishments you should rather list those.
Keep the verbs and noun fragments separate, for example:
Avoid words such as worked in – everybody works somewhere. You should rather specify the job. Use words such as collaborated, campaigned, marketed, controlled, managed, supervised, initiated, sold etc. instead of worked.
It is of no use to list published books or articles without dates and publishers. If you are the author of a book, include the ISBN number.
Even though the shorter CV is preferred, you shouldn’t cram the information to fit on one or two pages. You need a lot of white space and if your experience and qualifications necessitate more space then use an extra page. Many job hunters have far too long CVs because they repeat tasks and accomplishments for every job. You can shorten your CV by eliminating duplicate entries. Avoid having a full page, followed by a quarter-page information. In this case you should try to condense the content to fit on one page. You can do this by setting the margins and by using a smaller font, but not smaller than 11. If you are using headings on the left side with the information on right side, you can switch to headings on top with the information below. You should thus get rid of two columns and use one instead.
Include a profile or objectives section at the start of your CV
It makes it easier for the recruiter to scan your CV if you include a summary of your goals, skills, qualifications and experience at the start of your document. This should be focused on the job that you are targeting.
Only list the past 10 years experience
Avoid age discrimination by only listing relevant experience for the past ten years. You can list up to 15 years if you are applying for a senior level position.
Vocabulary should be achievement driven
Avoid the use of words such as ‘duties’ or ‘tasks’. Don’t list your work responsibilities; rather list your achievements in the specific position. You are supposed to be able to do the all the tasks, but why are you better than Ms. X as a secretary? Show how you have done more than what is expected and have performed better than your colleagues. Your contributions to the company and team should stand out.
Use the tips in this article to improve your CV. Never use a CV of three to six months old. Always update your CV for every job application.