17 July 2022
By Roger L. Kennedy
Your CV is the most important tool for applying to jobs, so it’s imperative to create a polished, effective document that represents your experience and accomplishments in the best possible light. This article will cover tips to help you create a professional CV that will catch a hiring manager’s eye and boost your chances of being called for an interview.
Format Your CV Efficiently
Your CV should generally be one to two A4 pages, depending on how much experience you have. Since you’ve got a limited amount of space to cover a lot of information, formatting your CV well is crucial. There’s no need to title the document or mention references on your CV—these things are both implied and will simply waste valuable space.
Use headings and subheadings to break up the content of your CV into easily scannable labelled sections. List all of your details using bullet points and in reverse chronological order, with the current or most recent item first and working backwards in time from there.
Choose a professional font such as Arial or Times New Roman and set the font size to 10 or 12 so it’s easily readable both on-screen or as a printed document. If you choose to add colour to your CV, stay away from neons or pastels that may be distracting or difficult to read.
Include a Personal Statement
Be sure to include a personal statement on your CV, just below your name and contact information. This section is sometimes referred to as a personal profile or a CV summary, and it essentially sums up your entire CV into a brief paragraph that’s designed to capture a hiring manager’s attention.
Aim to write about 100 words in which you share what your current role is, your career goals, your work experience, and a few of your most impressive accomplishments and skills. Write it in first person (using ‘I’ statements) and use full sentences as opposed to the bullet points which will make up the rest of your CV.
Most hiring managers spend less than 10 seconds scanning each CV that they receive, and your personal profile is among the first things they will see. It should be a very quick elevator pitch that will intrigue the hiring manager and entice them to read the rest of your CV. The more they read about your skills and experience, the greater the chances are that you will be called for an interview.
Use Action Verbs
Throughout your personal statement and your bullet points, use action verbs rather than passive voice as you describe your qualifications and achievements. Here are some examples of action words:
It’s much more powerful to write “Managed a 6-person sales team and increased annual sales by 70%” than it is to write “Sales were increased.” Use action verbs to describe your career accomplishments as actions that you have dynamically made happen rather than events that occurred coincidentally.
Tailor Your CV to Each Job Opening
Finally, take the time to tailor your CV for each job that you apply to. Read the job advert carefully and identify specific words and phrases that the employer uses to describe what they are looking for in a candidate. Then use this same language in your CV and showcase that you possess the desired skills and experience. Use the bullet points under your past positions to highlight how your skills are transferable and how they have allowed you to achieve concrete, measurable goals.
Do some quick research on the company that you are applying to in order to determine their goals, values, and attitude. Based on what you find, adjust the tone and contents of your CV to demonstrate that you will be a good fit in the workplace.