15 CV Tips for the Perfect Job Application

15 CV Tips for the Perfect Job Application

Your CV is your chance to showcase your skills and experience to potential employers, and convince them you’ve got what it takes to do the job they’re hiring for. Spending time drafting and refining your CV can reap rewards when it comes to standing out from other candidates and making a strong impression with hiring managers. In this article, we introduce 15 key tips to creating a CV that’ll give you the best chance of success in the job market.

Tip 1: Correct contact information

Starting at the beginning, the first key tip to a winning CV is to include the right contact information. Employers are most likely to contact you via email or phone, and these are really the only two contact details you need to add to your CV. You don’t generally need to include a full address, but you might wish to add an indication of your location, such as your town or city.

Tip 2: No personal details

In some countries, it’s normal to include personal information in your CV header. This can include your age, nationality, gender and marital status. However, in the UK, the Equality Act 2010 prohibits discrimination based on nine protected demographic characteristics. As such, it’s best to avoid adding any unnecessary personal details to your CV, as it creates the risk of discrimination, whether intentional or not.

Tip 3: Realistic about skills

Most job adverts will have a job description or person specification, outlining the skills required for the role. You’ll want to make sure your CV refers to any of the skills listed there, but only if they’re genuine skills that you possess. Don’t pretend to be an expert at everything, but instead emphasise the skills you excel in, and anything that makes you a unique candidate.

Tip 4: Be to the point

The key to an impactful CV is to make it concise, and remain economical with your words at all times. When you’re describing your previous experience, limit yourself to a few bullet points and write a short sentence for each. Review and edit your bullet points until they’re distilled to the purest form, removing all unnecessary words and details. The ideal CV length is between one and two pages of A4.

Tip 5: Mention achievements rather than responsibilities

While your responsibilities and everyday duties in previous roles might feel relevant, hiring managers will likely read many CVs from applicants with similar experience and job history. It’s usually far more effective to focus on your achievements. Describe how your actions contributed to success in previous roles, and the tangible impact your skills had on outcomes such as revenue, profit, efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Tip 6: Include other sections

Make use of optional sections at the end of your CV, to help demonstrate the skills required for the role and to differentiate you from other candidates. You could include languages, certifications, training, hobbies and interests or volunteer work, as long as your experience is relevant to the role and helps you prove a skill that you haven’t covered elsewhere in your CV.

Tip 7: Include a summary or objective

The CV summary or objective is the perfect way to introduce yourself and highlight your greatest skills and achievements. Write two or three sentences at the top of your CV that will capture the attention of the reader and encourage them to examine your CV in more detail. Think about your best qualities, and any skills, experience or achievement that might set you apart from other applicants. Highlight these in a succinct, concise paragraph. You could also refer to your career ambitions, your reasons for applying for the role and how the job fits with your career journey.

Tip 8: Adjust to the job you are applying for

It’s essential to tailor your CV to the job you’re applying for. A tailored CV is guaranteed to be more effective than a generic CV. Make sure your CV proves how you can do the specific duties outlined in the job description, and use your CV summary to reference the hiring company and why you want to work for them. Tailoring your CV with keywords from the job description can also help you pass any ATS stages of the recruitment process, where software scans your document and rates your suitability for the role.

Tip 9: Use correct headers

Use a clear CV structure with appropriately labelled headings. This will make your document more readable and easy on the eye. It will also help make your CV more likely to pass the ATS stage, as scanning software will be able to identify each section and review the content more easily.

Tip 10: Include LinkedIn

It can be difficult to add every detail from your career without making your CV too long, crowded and difficult to read. Your LinkedIn profile can act as an extension of your CV, providing a more detailed career timeline that employers can refer to if they wish. The content of your LinkedIn profile also helps hiring managers to see more about you in a professional setting, so keep your content fresh and relevant to your industry sector.

Expert tip:

While it’s important to tailor your CV to the job description and reference keywords to pass the ATS stage, it’s also critical to make your CV reflect your personality and individual qualities. Employers often receive hundreds of CVs for every vacancy, often from candidates with similar qualifications and experience. As such, keep some space available to mention unique experiences and skills that can set you aside from other candidates.

Tip 11: Be honest

Lying or exaggerating on your CV is never a good idea. Lying to inflate your skills, qualifications or experience could come back to haunt you at an interview, when hiring managers may interrogate your CV and ask you questions you might not be able to answer. However, aside from all this, it can also be illegal. In some cases, lying on your CV can be prosecuted under the Fraud Act 2006.

Tip 12: Explain gaps

Gaps in your CV can create worry, but they’re perfectly normal. Rather than trying to ignore gaps or distract the reader from them, it’s better to be up-front and explain them. Employers will typically appreciate your honesty, and most will prefer a complete picture of your career timeline. You can either address career gaps directly in your CV work experience section, or in your cover letter.

Tip 13: Include a cover letter

A strong cover letter can make all the difference to your chances of success, so make sure you include one, and take the time to make it as professional as possible. Draw attention to your strongest skills and most relevant experience and achievements, and explain why you want the job and how it fits with your career pathway.

Tip 14: Use a professional template

The design and layout of your CV can have a big impact on your job prospects. Using clean, subtle design elements such as colour accents, columns, text boxes and clear headings in different fonts will make your document more readable. It can also help it to stand out from the crowd. CVwizard offers a wealth of stylish, professional CV templates to suit your personal style and the role you’re applying for. 

Tip 15: Have your CV proofread

Before sending your CV, review it carefully and correct for any errors in spelling and grammar. Ask someone else to review your CV and proofread the content. If possible, choose someone with experience in the sector or role you’re applying to, and be open to receiving any feedback they offer. Think about what you could improve upon, and redraft your CV until it’s refined and ready to send.

"It’s essential to tailor your CV to the job you’re applying for. A tailored CV is guaranteed to be more effective than a generic CV."

Key Takeaways for the Perfect CV

A winning CV isn’t something you can just churn out. It takes time to draft, review, tailor and refine your CV for maximum impact. Follow these tips and always make sure your CV shows how you meet the job description. Keep your document to a maximum of two pages and include only information that’s relevant to the role. The presentation of your CV and cover letter can help you make a positive first impression. CVwizard’s CV templates and tools make it easy to create a beautiful CV that stands out from the crowd. Sign up today to get started.

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