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How to Level Up your CV

Maximise your job application chances with these CV tips


Writing a CV is maybe one of the most important, yet often overlooked parts of the job hunt. A good CV helps you to stand out from the crowd, and might just help you secure an interview over other candidates.

We’ve put together a few tips explaining how you can level up your CV, and help you stand out to potential employers during the first stage of the recruitment process.

1. Keep What’s Necessary

Despite what you might think, it’s not necessary for your CV to include every single qualification you’ve earned, or every job you’ve ever had.

While it’s true that many jobs require you to have achieved a GCSE or O-Level in English and Maths, they don’t need to know every single grade you got, just that you have them. An easy, neat way to show this, instead of writing them all out would be to have a point under your qualifications saying something like:

· 8 GCSE’s A*-C Including English and Maths

You should however make sure to highlight any relevant qualifications that will help you stand out in the industry you’re applying for. These don’t have to be from formal education – there’s plenty of ways to upskill yourself, and we’ll touch on that later.

Likewise, it’s important to streamline your work history so that it’s relevant to the role you’re applying for. If your former jobs have some relevance to the role you’re applying for, then by all means leave them in Maybe consider shortening some of the less significant roles to a line or two, to leave more space for the more relevant ones.

2. Upskill Yourself

Upskilling is a keyword you might have seen before, and while you might think it has a deeper meaning, it simply means learning new skills.

While educational qualifications can be important, this doesn’t mean that’s your only option for receiving training. Upskilling yourself outside of the classroom can be a fantastic way to distinguish yourself from other candidates.

In order to learn new skills, there are a variety of options. If you’re somebody who prefers to learn in person, it’s worth looking into local courses. Places like community centres often offer free courses, so this could be a fantastic place to start.

If you’re more of a self-studier, there are a range of options online. Google, and Udemy offer a range of free courses, and there are several paid options, like LinkedIn learning.

3. Use Keywords

Nowadays, there’s no guarantee that your CV will be read by a real person. Some companies will use what is known as an Applicant Tracking System, or ATS, which is a computer program used to screen CVs.

These computer programs work by looking for keywords in an applicant’s CV, in order to find a suitable candidate.

While this might seem daunting at first, an easy solution to this is to look through the job description and use the keywords within that in your CV. It’s likely that the ATS will be looking for the same things in the job description, as an easy way to weed out unsuitable applicants.

Another way to optimise your CV using keywords is to look at similar job listings and descriptions, and look at the keywords they use. While these might not be the first thing an ATS is looking for, they might be flagged in the same way, and either way will help your CV stand out.

4. Review the Layout

How you present the information in a CV is arguably just as important as the actual information itself. It’s estimated that a CV will only get 6-8 seconds of airtime, as recruiters are often inundated with applicants.

This means that you should definitely take the time to optimise the layout of your CV, so that even at a quick glance, it stands out to recruiters.

Avoid long chunks of text by splitting them into more manageable pieces, or consider splitting paragraphs into bullet points, allowing you to highlight the most important points.

Make sure that your CV is also consistent. While it might be tempting to use a range of fonts to make it stand out, it is generally better to keep consistency with the same font and spacing throughout. This will help you achieve a professional look, and highlight your job related skills, rather than your creative choices.

It is also suggested that you optimise the top quarter of your CV, so it contains the most pertinent information. This will allow recruiters to see the most important things first, and if they’re only scanning CVs quickly, it might help them consider giving it a further read.

Hopefully this blog has helped you optimise your CV. For more information about how we are able to help and support you in the job hunt, check out our website here