The job seeking process can be frustrating and it is sometimes tempting to create a standard CV and send it to as many places as possible. However, while a basic CV may land you a simple retail job, the same CV may be useless for applying for financial services jobs. In reality, it pays to spend extra time tailoring it and getting it just right.
In addition, while recruiters are all different, certain types of CV will appeal to most employers, while others may be discarded every time. So, with these things in mind, here are five reasons why you should spend a little bit more time editing your CV before sending it off, because…
1. Your CV does not need to be more than two pages long
When it comes to writing a CV, in almost all cases, less is more. Most job adverts will be met with a large number of applications, which means recruiters have a large number of CVs to read through. A short one will make the recruiter’s life a lot easier, ensuring you automatically make a good first impression.
Unless you are applying for a highly technical job, it is unlikely that your CV needs to be any longer than two pages. In fact, many recruiters would love it if you could condense it down to one. Longer CVs often come across as self-indulgent rather than impressive and nobody needs to know about that part-time job you had 20 years ago.
2. You need to make sure you’re including key words and phrases
If someone is sorting through hundreds of CVs, they want to be able to access the key information quickly. Quite often, this process will involve extensive use of the search function on their computer, in order to find specific words or phrases they want to see. Give them what they want.
When applying for mortgage jobs, think about what a firm might expect to see on a CV and include it. If the role you are applying for requires specialist accreditations or qualifications, make sure you write that you have them. A basic trick is to read the job specification, pick out important words or phrases, and try to insert some of them.
3. Your education history matters less than you think it does
A common mistake with CVs is to place too much emphasis on your academic achievements. The truth is, some recruiters won’t even look at this section at all! The majority of employers are far more interested in your work experience, the skills you have acquired and the responsibilities you have been trusted with.
That is not to say you shouldn’t mention academic achievements; just heed the advice of point number two and keep it concise. Some jobs will specify that they require certain grades at GCSE or A-Level and if the role requires a degree, make sure it is mentioned, but unless you are just out of school, employment should be the primary focus.
4. You need to include signs of career progression
In most instances, employers are looking for ambitious people who want to further their career, so make sure your CV portrays you as this type of person. Generally, you will not have to include your full work history, so take the time to present your most recent roles in a way that demonstrates clear progression.
For example, if you have greater responsibilities in your current role than you did three years ago, get that point across. If you needed to acquire qualifications to do your current job, mention that you took the time to do so. Try to avoid looking like someone who bounces from job to job, never really advancing.
5. Recruiters want to see more personality
This final point cannot be stressed enough. Wading through a pile of CVs can become incredibly tedious, especially if they all include the same sort of information, same buzzwords and same clichés. For this reason, recruiters are always hoping to stumble upon a CV where a little more personality shines through.
There is no strict rule saying that a CV has to be completely serious and professional at all times, so throw in a joke or add a hint of self-deprecation. If you don’t feel comfortable doing either of those, at the very least include a fact about yourself, outline some personal projects, or discuss hobbies. Let them know there’s a person behind the CV!