Easy ways to improve your CV

Maybe you're fresh out of university and your struggling to get your first job, or maybe you just need a change, but haven't updated your CV in a while. Well then this is for you.

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Even if you're happy in a secure job, it's always important to refresh your CV - no-one knows what's going to happen in the future, so why not keep your options open?

By following a few easy steps, you can make sure your CV will not only stand out to employers, but will also reflect well on you as a candidate.

Sell yourself

Sum yourself up in a few words at the top of your CV stating the type of work that you want and what you can offer in that position. Sell yourself and make your summary section stand out - and don't be embarrassed about it.

Make it clean and clear

A CV is an employer's first impression of you, so don't blow it - make your CV neat and presentable, so that it represents you in the best possible way.

In terms of general layout, pick one of the common typefaces (Arial, Times New Roman, Courier or Verdana) at size 10 or 12 and stick to it. Simple steps like these will make your CV look professional and, hopefully, increase your chances of finding work.

General CV points

  • Use left-justified text - it's easiest to read
  • Only use bold for headings (employment history, education etc)
  • Use bullet points
  • Dates of employment should include the month and the year, for example: Mar 2010 - Feb 2011
  • Save your CV in a word format
  • Include personal information, such as your name, full address, telephone numbers (day/evening/mobile) and email address
  • Place the important information at the start: Put experience and education achievements in reverse chronological order
  • Use positive language when describing your achievements - say, ‘launched' or ‘achieved' rather than just, ‘had to' or ‘tried to'

Adapt your CV to each application

CVs don't need to contain your life story - they should be tailored to each position that you apply for, so there's no need to mention part-time bar work if you're now applying to be an office manager.

Your main focus at this point should just be for your CV to not end up in the bin, so think about what the employer is looking for and make the appropriate changes.

Justify your claims

As mentioned, it really is important to sell yourself in your CV, but it's equally important to back up your claims. Examine the skills that each employer needs and explain how you have demonstrated these attributes in previous roles.

Examples of the benefits that you have made in former positions are far more appealing to employers than qualifications that you gained in the old days.

Candidates who can show that they are efficient, proactive and profit-orientated are always likely to appeal to employers.

Check, check and check once more

Once you've made all these changes, proofread your CV a couple of times and try to get some fresh eyes to scan it. CVs containing spelling mistakes often get thrown straight in the bin, so make sure that yours doesn't suffer the same fate.