Following a recent surge in interest and enquiries, I’ve decided to follow up on our previous “7 subtle snags holding back your CV” with further ‘snags’ to avoid when doing the dreaded CV update!
We all hate doing it, listing the reasons your dream employer should choose you, but now you’ve clicked the ‘open to new opportunities’ button on LinkedIn and the only thing holding you back is updating your CV, which, naturally, you’re dreading.
Don’t fear, here are 5 points to avoid to get you started on the impending update.
1. Have the CV fit the job
There’s not much point in applying for every job you think you might be qualified for, especially if you’re making this doable by sending out the same general CV. When you find a role that you want to apply for, take the time to adjust your CV, don't just make it a CV that kind of fits, make it the CV for that role!
Specifically tailoring your CV to the job description will show the hiring manager that you’ve taken the time and effort, and that you really want the job.
2. Achievements, not duties
It’s easy to get into the habit of listing the day to day of your job, which seems like the obvious place to start, right? However, be mindful of drawing up lists that you might see on job descriptions and instead focus on talking about your achievements. Give tangible examples of when you’ve gone above and beyond; the sort of thing you’d want to bring up in an interview.
Tell them about that project you lead, the one that finished early, and saved X amount of money, or about the training you gave your colleague and how they’ve been promoted since.
3. Be relevant
When putting your CV together, particularly if you haven’t had to update it in a while, make sure you’re prioritising the most relevant content. If you’re going for a role as an Insolvency Manager, make sure the experience you list in detail is relevant, they don’t need to know about the job you had at university - unless it relates!
But also, be sure not to leave gaps and aim to have an honest and prioritised overview. If you leave gaps in your CV, whether it was to have children or you were off sick, you’ll want to address this at the CV stage, as it’s only going to create doubt if they have to wait until the interview to ask you about it.
4. Too much text!
This goes hand in hand with point 2 about listing duties. Anyone who’s looking at your CV, from HR manager to department head, will be instantly put off if they only see a wall of text.
Studies show that text on a page is likely to be read most effectively when shaped in an “F”, so having subtitles with short, sharp bullet points is key to engaging your audience!
Make your CV easy to digest at a glance so your achievements jump out - bearing in mind the things that others in your position may not have achieved, the things that make you different (and better!).
5. Busy isn’t better…
Continuing on the theme of the previous point, make sure that your general presentation isn’t putting hiring managers off. We all think having an impressive and complex format shows our commitment to our job search, but by having a graphic (such as a star chart) to demonstrate your skills ends up sacrificing valuable space you could use to differentiate yourself from the rest!
For further inspiration for the beginning of your job hunt, make sure you check out Charlotte’s blog “Perfect film to watch when... Writing a Cover Letter”.
Alice Cahill is a Recruitment Consultant in the Accountancy Division at Harvey John.
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