If you read our ‘first impressions count: your interview’ blog, you will know how easy it is for an employer to make a snap judgement about a candidate in no less than seven seconds. This also applies to your CV; as most employers spend just a few seconds scanning each CV before deciding ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
Your CV will be one of the most important documents you will ever write. It determines whether you secure the interview for that dream job or not!
So, you want to reflect yourself in the best possible light, especially highlighting key and relevant experiences.
We’ve included a few do’s and don’ts for the most important aspects of your CV.
Nowadays, presentation is key, and it matters. It’s vital towards influencing an employer’s first impression and standing out from the crowd. It is pretty imperative to have a standout, well-presented CV, especially if you’re in the creative industry.
• Ensure it’s clear! This sounds obvious but the amount of messy and cluttered CV’s we receive is surprising.
• Get your personality across through your layout, if you’re a designer – design it in a way that you like and that conveys your character.
• Ensure the info is concise, informative but creative.
• Make it too confusing and inconsistent when you are trying to be creative in your presentation.
• Add profile pictures as it can be viewed as irrelevant and a waste of space.
• Use anything other than Word or PDF as the format, as if it can’t be opened, it can’t be read!
• Ensure font is well-spaced and clear.
• Use a simple format and font (i.e. Calibri/Arial) so readability is not affected on different computers, screens and systems.
• Always include mobile numbers, email address and your location.
• Make sure your personal details only feature as a small section on your CV, so you don’t waste too much space.
• Help the reader understand the difference between responsibilities and achievements by separating the information into bullet points and paragraphs.
• Use inconsistent font and sizing.
• Include too much content/not enough, i.e. if you’ve been with a company for three years – you’ll need more than three sentences to display your skills and experience.
• Forget to mention clients and companies you’ve worked with, especially if you work predominately within agencies.
• A small section dedicated to hobbies and interests; this avoids your CV being too robotic and adds a bit more personality.
• Figures – for example: a percentage against a target, or great results from an email campaign you’ve created.
• Skills and how you achieved them, the evidence speaks for itself.
• Links to examples of work (copywriting, blog, portfolio) – a great way to get the reader to see physical evidence of your skills and work.
• KEY achievements within your roles.
• Education – GCSEs, A Levels, full degree, professional qualifications and training.
• Voluntary work.
• What sector you’re in, to ensure its really clear for the person reading, e.g. if marketeer makes it clear whether you’re in-house or agency.
• Hyperlinks to the websites of the companies you’ve mentioned in your experience – as a lot of people presume the reader knows exactly what the company does.
• Pretty much anything irrelevant to the job you’re applying for!
• “References available upon request” – name the references and provide their contact details (check with them first of course)
• Pointless verbs that are used for the sake of it in the profile section – should just be based on facts and figures., including achievements.
Your CV should be a constant work in progress; even if you don’t have any new roles or skills to add to it, you’ll need to adapt it to specific jobs, sectors and companies. Many of the background and academic details tend to remain the same but the tone and emphasis may need to change, depending on the different companies you are applying to.
Lastly, don’t forget to check it! Get a friend or a family member to take a fresh look to avoid any silly mistakes. Your description of certain experiences also might require a new perspective depending on the job you are applying for!
Written by the Moxie and Mettle team