CV Tips | Smashing Your CV

When it comes to the best jobs, competition is tough, with roles frequently attracting hundreds of applications. What's more, the chances are that recruiters will only spend a few seconds – seven seconds, to be exact - reading your CV, so it needs to jump off the page immediately.


Here are our top tips to create a memorable CV that shows exactly what you have to offer.

  • Have a template or ‘master’ CV
    Having a master CV allows you to keep all of your skills, achievements and experience in one place - you can then rearrange and edit it for each application, to ensure that the CV you submit is completely tailored to the job you’re applying for.
  • Keep it concise
    When it comes to your CV, keep it short and sweet. You don’t have long to grab the reader’s attention, so make sure it highlights your skills and experience right away. As a rule, aim to keep your CV to one page – sticking to this will help make sure you aren’t waffling and that you include only the most relevant information.
  • Include keywords from the job description
    Recruiters will screen CVs and applications for certain keywords, so when it comes to editing your CV, read the job listing carefully and pick out the most important keywords to incorporate into it. What’s more, recruiters and large companies are increasingly using applicant tracking systems (ATS) software that helps them identify CVs with content that matches the role the company is wanting to fill, so optimising your CV can help make sure it doesn’t get missed. Look out for any essential skills and qualifications listed in the job description – if you are able to (legitimately) include these in your CV, you’ll maximise your chances of being invited to an interview.
  • Include ‘power words’ in your CV
    Use simple but powerful action verbs that highlight your most valuable skills and demonstrate what you have achieved, such as ‘designed’ or ‘launched’, and ‘modernised’ – instead of less impactful words such as ‘helped’ and ‘managed’. Try to avoid overused terms such as ‘hard-working’, ‘results-oriented’, ‘motivated’ and ‘proactive’ as these qualities don't automatically translate to adding value or producing better results. Most hiring managers would expect you to have these qualities anyway, so use the space on your CV to highlight the traits that set you apart from other candidates and that will make you a real asset to an employer.
    Similarly, companies will expect you to have a good knowledge of Microsoft Office, so there’s no need to include this in your CV; experts only recommend listing this skill if it's specifically mentioned in the job description. Instead, prioritise other computer-based skills the hiring company is looking for.
  • Use numbers to highlight your accomplishments
    Provide evidence of your achievements wherever possible: this could be the number of projects you have handled or delivered, the size of the teams you have managed, the percentage of sales growth achieved, or the contract value you were responsible for. Include any evidence that your work has made a positive impact in the business and that your skills are transferrable.
  • Tell the truth
    When it comes to CVs, one of the golden rules is to stick to the truth: don’t be tempted to list any achievements or skills if you can’t back your claims up. While you should definitely make the most of your skills and experience and present them in the best possible way, steer clear of exaggerating what you know or have done. Including false information in a job application is considered fraud, and it could cost you your job in the long run.
  • Include a personal statement
    A personal statement, which appears below your name and contact details, should present a compelling overview of who you are professionally. It should be concise – about 150-200 words – and should cover your career goals, why you're suitable for the role and what value you can add to the company.
  • Carry out a thorough spelling and grammar check
    It is essential that your CV is error-free: grammatical errors and spelling mistakes give an impression of sloppiness and will make cast doubt on certain skills you’ve claimed to have, such as attention to detail or excellent written communication. Use spelling and grammar tools to avoid giving recruiters a reason to dismiss your application.
  • Ask someone else to read your CV
    Besides helping you proofread for possible spelling and grammar errors, a third party might be able to notice any skills or achievements you’ve missed out. Whether it’s a friend, family member or colleague, another pair of eyes is always useful to have, and those who know you best will be able to tell whether your CV really shows what you have to offer to a potential employer.
  • Match your CV to your online professional profiles
    Job titles and employment dates on your CV should be consistent with your professional online profiles such as LinkedIn, as hiring managers and recruiters will often check a candidate’s social media presence before inviting them to an interview. It’s fine for your CV to be shorter than your LinkedIn profile; LinkedIn doesn’t have space limitations compared to a standard two-page CV, so you can use it to provide a more comprehensive professional profile, keeping your CV concise and impactful.

By following these CV tips you can catch the recruiter’s attention, show them how great a fit for the role and company you are, and increase your chances of landing an interview.

If you need help updating your CV or to find out about our latest roles, contact your local Adecco branch and connect with a recruiter today!

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