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When applying for a job, it’s important to get your CV right when you send it off. Here are 9 top tips to make sure your CV is perfect:

    1. Know What the CV is For: First thing you need to know about your CV is what it is for. The CV is not what gets you the job, it’s what gets you the interview. So don’t assume that you need to tell the reader everything about you, every single thing about you, there are things you may want to tell them at interview or not tell them at all. Keep it simple…
    2. Know Who Will Read It: Consider who is going to read it – what do you need to tell them in relation to this job? There is a common misconception that you do one CV and it works for everything and everyjob but actually a tailored CV is a much more powerful tool. So what does the person recruiting for this job actually need to hear about?
    3. Fancy Doesn’t Work: A CV is not a work of art, it needs to be very readable, not very beautiful. So forget your fancy fonts and layouts and go for simple. Most CVs will get stored into databases or applicant tracking system, or if you are putting it on the web your fancy fonts and layout will get stripped so you are wasting your time. Worse, sometimes in those databases the fonts and layouts get mangled and end up making your CV look an absolute mess. So ditch the boxes and the shading.
    4. Use the Right Words: Do you have the right words in your CV? Recruiters use search tools and key words to find the people they want to look at. So have you thought about what words they might use to find someone like you? What do you want to be found for? Another way of searching is to get a match between the responsibilities of the job and the CVs. So make sure that you have thought about the keywords!
    5. Where is Your Gold Dust? I have a theory that the better the match you are to the job, the longer the recruiter reads for. They’re busy people and they don’t and won’t wade through waffle to get to what they want to see. So structure your CV so that you get the gold dust up top.
    6. Is Your Information Tapered? The older you are the less information you need about your youthful activities. Yes, include your highest academic qualification but unless it is critical to the job you are applying for, leave out details of your early jobs and activities.
    7. Are You What They Want? If the job requires leadership then use your achievements to show that you have lead teams, if the job wants a team player then use your achievements to show how you have contributed to team goals and worked with others.
    8. Target Your CV: Putting your CV onto a job board means you have a challenge – you can’t tailor your CV to a particular job but you can tailor it to the work you want to do, make it more comprehensive and cover your bases. Still, cut the waffle and the assertions and get in the hard facts, the evidence and the achievements!
    9. Take Experts Advice: Take advice from people who know their onions. If you want a review of your CV, lots of people will do it for free, hoping you will pay them to re-write it for you. But feeling ownership for your CV and being able to make your own modifications and updates is critical. And beware, some of the people I have seen advertising as CV writers don’t actually know much about recruitment, they know about graphic design. Make sure that you work with someone who knows their onions!

About Mary Hope

Mary Hope is the founder of Mary Hope Career Success, she works with executives and managers to support them get paid more, promoted faster and feel more satisfied. She has 30 years experience of HR, training and headhunting both private and public sectors, is a published author and career coach. Follow Mary on Twitter @maryhopecareers

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