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Five tips to spring clean your CV

Kate Allen, Executive Chair and Marketing Director, Allen Associates

For the average UK vacancy, recruiters will receive over 50 CVs and shortlist just three. Figures like this illustrate how important it is to get your CV right, so make sure you give it the time and effort it deserves. In today’s competitive market, a one size fits all approach simply won’t do. It’s a bit like preparing for a special occasion. To fit the dress code, you’ll want to scan your wardrobe, pick out the best outfit or buy a new one if there’s nothing suitable. Your CV is the gateway to your next opportunity, so treat it in the same way. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

Do a CV audit

How long has it been since you updated your career history? For most people, the last time they used their CV was to secure their current role – so if you’ve been in your job for more than a couple of months, it’s likely that you need a review. Take a moment to make sure the information it details remains current. Have you tackled different opportunities learning new skills as a result? These things will be infinitely more relevant than the things you’ve listed in the past.

Have you sold your skillset?

What would you say to a recruiter to sell yourself given the chance? Don’t wait until the interview stage to pitch yourself – include this on your CV to increase your chance of a personal meeting. You need to make your CV different, so when you list your attributes, try not to include things that are overly generic. After all, everyone needs to be a good team player, able to turn up to work on time and be organised. Think about what makes you stand out, such as a particular achievement, experience or expertise and shout about it!

Personalise your CV to the job

Technology has changed the way modern recruitment works. In some cases, your CV could be scanned by an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) and rejected without even reaching a human. This makes it even more important to adapt your CV to mention the key skills required for the job you’re applying for. If you think this sounds laborious, it’s worth it. When you get to the interview stage, you’ll have to demonstrate you have an understanding of the qualities required, so why not do your research now? To alter your CV quickly, create a skills section which you can vary for each different role.

Edit, edit, edit

On your CV, the way you write is everything. Ditch the jargon and go through each page with a fine-tooth comb. Avoid buzz words like proactive, enthusiastic and independent. While these are great qualities to have, they’re often overused on CVs, and this becomes tiring for recruiters scanning piles of applications. Instead, stick to the facts and use real-life examples to back up what you’re saying. Most CVs are two pages, so question what you’ve included and ask yourself if it’s really needed.

Electronic CVs

Show that you’re tech-savvy by bringing your CV to life. For example, including hyperlinks to relevant work you’ve completed within the word document. If recruiters have asked for a paper CV, it’s important to include one. However, this shouldn’t stop you from adding a link to your blog, YouTube channel or online portfolio. If you’re applying for an industry where video presentation, content creation and social media knowledge is key, try to demonstrate this by giving managers the chance to see what you’ve produced. Finally, if you’ve produced a great CV, don’t keep it to yourself. Remember, there are plenty of job sites where you can upload it to attract attention.

Over the last 20 years, we have grown as a business to become one of the leading independent Recruitment agencies in Oxfordshire, and in 2018 have opened our first London office, to service Clients in the capital.

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