Here's the inside scoop on how to create a CV that sells you as a professional!
Turning recruiters' heads can be a difficult feat. When you're looking for a new job, the first step is creating a CV that shows off your skills and experience. It's a tall order. Whether you've been working for decades or months, the chances are, you've got a lot to share with the hiring manager. So, how can you improve your CV to ensure that you get it right from the offset? Here at TopCV, we've got you covered with some insider secrets and CV tips that you won't hear anywhere else.
How to catch a recruiter's eye in seconds
Ready to start working on your CV? Before you get started, we've got some expert tips for you. Three of our best CV writers – Amanda, Jen and Jeremez – have shared their tips on getting it right. Here's what you need to know to craft an epic application.
Create a compelling narrative
Your CV is more than just a professional summary - it needs to tell the story of your career. Don't whack it all on the page haphazardly. The aim is to weave a narrative that will pique a recruiter's interest. Ideally, you want to show them how the plot has unfolded so far and where their company fits into your next chapter.
“Employers want to see more than a timeline of a candidate's education and experience. They want a CV to read like a story, explaining why the applicant is qualified for the job they desire,” says Amanda. “Instead of listing everything a candidate has ever done or learnt, I focus on emphasising the details that support the client's goals and downplaying or omitting those that don't.”
Keep it short and snappy
You might be telling a story, but it's not an entire novel. Recruiters take an average of seven seconds to look at each application. They don't have time to sift through loads of information. For that reason, you need to be selective when deciding what to include on your CV.
“Less is more!” explains Jeremez. “While you want to ensure that all vital details of your career are highlighted, you don't want to overwhelm the reader with information. Think carefully on the key aspects of your expertise and career background, and how they relate directly to the types of positions which you will be applying for, and present them concisely using dynamic, active language.”
Quantify your achievements
This is one of the best CV writing tips to turn a good CV into a great one. It's all very well telling recruiters that you're the best thing since sliced bread, but have you got the evidence to back it up? When you're writing your CV, you need to consider how you can prove your value to a potential employer. The more proof you have, the better your chances.
“This CV criteria is, by far, one of the most important, as it helps recruiters and hiring managers to appreciate and monetise your talents,” says Amanda. “In order to offer proof of a candidate's qualifications, I will ask them for specific examples, figures, or case studies that illustrate their abilities. I try to quantify their contributions and achievements wherever possible, to demonstrate the value they've created for past employers. If a client hasn't held a job that can be described in this way, my goal is to look for ways to prove to the reader that this candidate is good at what they do.”
Tailor your CV to suit the job
“Make sure that everything on your CV is relevant to the job you're applying for – keep it laser-focused so that the reader doesn't have to wade through reams of irrelevant detail and can immediately see why you're suited to the role,” advises Jen.
Using a one-size-fits-all approach when applying for jobs won't get you far. In fact, it's one of the biggest mistakes people make when writing their CV. Before you get to work, be sure to do your research and try to understand what the recruiter will be looking for. When you've done that, you can tailor your CV and highlight the skills and experience they desire.
“Think of your CV as a strategic marketing document, rather than a laundry list of everything you've even done and learnt,” says Amanda. “The information should be curated to clearly showcase the relevant skills, education, and experience you've acquired throughout your career that qualify you for the role you're currently targeting.”
“It's alright to minimise the details for those positions that don't support your current career goals, to highlight only certain aspects of other jobs that demonstrate your qualifications, or to dedicate more CV space to a position that best represents your relevant skill set. Pick and choose the information you share.”
Don't overcomplicate the design
Think that a jazzy design will land you that interview? Think again. While you might be dazzled by some of the more elaborate CV templates out there, the last thing you want is to overwhelm the recruiter. As a golden rule here, you should keep things super simple.
“When it comes to a CV's design, less is truly more,” says Amanda. “My colleagues and I purposely avoid custom formats and elaborate designs that make it difficult for employers to quickly find the information they care about. We write CVs with clean, consistent layouts that make it easy for readers to understand a candidate's career story.”
Get past the Applicant Tracking System (ATS)
The Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is software that can filter CVs by keywords. When recruiters are looking to fill a specific role, they may use this technology to help to shortlist applicants. Put simply, the software will scan your CV looking for specific words or phrases. If the software doesn't find enough matches, your application may not be successful.
“It's important to be certain that every CV we write is considered “ATS-friendly”,” says Amanda. “In addition to using a CV format and design that's compatible with applicant tracking systems, I also optimise each CV based on a specific job description or group of job descriptions to ensure that the most frequently used terms are incorporated into the document.”
Your career is a serious matter and you don't want to leave anything to chance. If you're looking for a way to stand out from the crowd, check out our CV writing services now. Our team has years of experience in creating clear, crisp, and compelling applications that will help you to bag that next interview.