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Makeover your CV

An impressive CV is an essential first step in securing that dream job. Done well it can impress your potential new boss and make you stand out from the hundreds of other applications they're sure to have received.

However, putting together a winning CV can be a stressful and tiring process. So, as the second instalment of our New Year Career Clinic, we’ve spoken to CV experts Wikijob to get their top tips.

CV Dos:

Do tailor your application to the role you’re applying for

This may sound obvious, but for many applicants the enthusiasm to write personalised CVs understandably wanes by the 10th job application of the day. Taking the time to ensure your CV covers the specific requirements advertised in the job description will increase your chances of being invited to interview. So if the advertisement lists strong time management, problem solving ability and good communication skills as key requirements, ensure your CV includes relevant examples from your previous employment or life experience.

Do make your CV easy to read

On average, recruiters only spend around 30 seconds looking at each CV, so it's important to make it easy for them to gauge your suitability for the job quickly. Be clear in setting out your previous job titles, employers, duration of employment, and the tasks and duties involved in previous roles. Have these under clear headings or separate lines with plenty of blank space around them so the recruiter can view them at a glance.

Do check your CV thoroughly

Double check your CV for errors, give it to a friend to check - and then check it again. The importance of this can't be stressed enough; spelling and simple grammatical mistakes will be regarded as lazy.

CV Don'ts:

Don't provide lengthy job descriptions for previous roles

Ensure that the overviews for your previous roles include the key tasks, duties and attributes which are relevant to the role you’re applying for - not every single thing you did in the job. If you’re branching out and applying for a role you haven’t previously done, pick up on the key skills and requirements listed in the job advertisement, and demonstrate how you have utilised these in other, unrelated roles. Good communication, team work and problem solving are not specific to particular roles, so take every opportunity to show your employer your transferable skills and strengths.

Don't write vague and wordy cover letters

A good CV needs a good cover letter. You should avoid avoid using vague and non-specific terminology; for example, the phrase ‘I am a quick learner and enjoy working in a team’, while highlighting desirable qualities, doesn’t do much to convince an employer you actually possess them. Rather, make a personalised and specific statement using examples from previous situations or roles, such as, ‘In my previous role as Sales Manager I headed up a team of five, overseeing their sales activity and providing motivation to meet targets'. Your cover letter shouldn't exceed three or four paragraphs and never more than one side of A4 paper.

WikiJob offers a CV review and writing service, visit wikijob.co.uk.

Picture credit: Rex Features

Do you ever recruit people in your job? What do you look for in a CV? Share in the comments section below.

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