Here at Caselton Clark we spend an awful lot of time looking at CVs. It’s our job, and every member of our team probably looks at several hundred new CVs every month. We'll take our time and look for the good in every one that comes into our inbox. But once we put a CV forward for a role, it only has a few moments to do its job - to make a good first impression for you and get you that all-important interview.
Based on our experience, we’ve pulled together three golden rules to help your CV end up in the 'yes' pile ...
1. Sell yourself
This is the top mistake we see in CVs. A very English sense of modesty frequently pervades them and whilst this is a really admirable character trait 95% of the time, it's important that you completely ignore it when writing your CV.
Rather than just listing your roles and responsibilities, make sure you take the opportunity to explain at every stage what makes you great at your job, how you've exceeded expectations and what your biggest successes are. By the time you're done, all the things you're most proud of in your career should be laid out on the page ready to thoroughly impress any prospective employer.
2. Be Clear
All the great achievements in the world will get you nowhere if the person reading your CV gives up after the first paragraph. Clarity is vital in two areas; firstly the design and layout. Your CV should be a maximum of two sides, clearly laid out with minimal white space on the page and using sub-headings to signpost what information lives where.
The second area of clarity is your writing style. Get straight to the point and avoid waffle and flowery language. Use short sentences, and stick to lists of facts using bullet points when you can - it's the quickest and easiest way for your reader to digest information.
This last point is often the difference between a good CV and a great one. Re-read the job spec you've been sent and think about which elements of your experience and achievements make you most qualified for that precise job - not just the general area, but that exact role with that specific company. Often you'll only have to make one or two changes, but they'll be the changes that take you from being somebody who could do the job to being someone they're really keen to meet. Make sure you pay attention to the words they're using in the job spec too - if you can mirror them in your CV you'll immediately start to look like the right person.
So whether you're currently looking for a new role or just feeling like you should dust off the CV and polish it up a little, if you're looking for some professional advice on how to improve it please don't hesitate to drop us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you have any thoughts or advice of your own on what makes a great CV, we'd love to hear it in the comments below.