Writing a CV is difficult, whether it’s your first one ever or you’re venturing back into the world of job hunting after a career change. Don’t waste time staring at a blank document and worrying about getting it right. Instead, work based on the guidelines outlined in this post.
Does it belong?
Make sure everything you need is on the CV, and eliminate those parts that are unnecessary. Sometimes, people get so caught up writing their CV that they start adding things that really shouldn’t be included.
Your name and contact details should be presented clearly, but the following are unnecessary additions and should be removed:
- Marital status
- Criminal record
- Professional headshot
- Unrelated hobbies
If you’re confused, put yourself in the employer’s shoes and ask yourself, “does this make me want to employ this person for the role we’re advertising?” If the answer is ‘no’, remove that element.
Has it been checked?
You can only spot so many of your own mistakes. To avoid skimming over something obvious, have a friend or family member check over your CV… bonus points if they work in recruitment!
They may be able to help you restructure sentences, or decide whether or not those bullet points you were iffy about are actually a good idea. And, in lieu of a real-life proof-reader, jump over to the r/resume community on Reddit.com, where there’s always someone handy to help you out.
Is it in the right verb tense?
CVs should be written in the past tense. This is non-negotiable. The only place on your CV that should be written in present tense is where you’re describing your current job. If you don’t have a job currently, stick to past tense all the way through.
Pay special attention to action verbs at the start of bullet points. For example; change, “Delivers presentations to clients”, to “Delivered presentations to clients”. It may seem simple, but this mistake often goes overlooked and is the first thing recruiters notice.
Is my CV formatted properly?
Regardless of whether you’re presenting your CV in a traditional Word document, bullet point and heading format; or you’re experimenting with a more graphic format, it’s imperative that your formatting is “on point”.
Check for oversized headings, stray commas, and misplaced bullet points. Also, save your CV as a PDF – this ensures all recruiters see it the same way, and you aren’t worrying about your file being incompatible with their computer.
Am I making silly mistakes?
This is possibly the most difficult mistake to rectify, which is why it’s beneficial to be aware of it from the outset.
Comb through your CV and check for areas where you may have used the wrong word, added a bullet point too many, or committed to a decision you aren’t completely sure about.
When you come to edit your CV, make sure to hone in on the potential mistakes outlined in this checklist. This will ensure you have the ability to craft a brilliant CV that will wow recruiters and increase your chances of landing your dream job.