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Spring Clean your CV!

The clocks have gone forward and Spring is definitely in the air! It’s traditional at this time of year to spring-clean your home and get things in order for the new season. It’s also a really good time to spring-clean your CV, particularly if you’re looking for change of role. As someone that’s been involved in recruiting staff for a variety of roles, I’ve always been amazed by how CVs I receive that have information that is not relevant to the role, or is out-of-date.

This post provides some practical tips on helping you tidy up your CV to make sure it really reflects where you are now and sells your skills and expertise effectively.

Don’t rush in to it: Whether you’re looking to progress, change the type of role you’re doing, or wanting to work in a different type of business, it’s really important to do some research first. Look at the jobs you’re interested in – what skills and experience are they looking for? Does your current CV reflect that you match the requirements of the role? If not, then think about examples you can use that show you’ve got what the company is looking for.

Take some time to reflect: what are your most recent achievements? What are you most proud of? Does your CV showcase this? Your CV is one of your prime marketing tools – make it work for you by updating it with your most recent results.

Tailor your CV to the role: Think of your CV as a story you’re telling about yourself – your narrative should match the skills and experience that an employer is looking for. It’s absolutely critical that you highlight in your CV how you meet the requirements for a job. One of the main reasons people fail to get to interview is that they send the same CV to each company they’re applying to, without taking into account the different attributes and expertise that company is looking for

Focus on results: Don’t just describe the tasks you have carried out – shout about the results you’ve achieved by carrying out those tasks – this might be increasing sales, implementing new processes that have increased effectiveness, creating a new marketing strategy that drove up revenue – whatever it is, make sure it’s on there!

Put the important information on the front page: Most employers spend a maximum of about 30 seconds reading CVs so make sure that the key information is on the first page. This might mean adding in a ‘Skills’ section that highlights, with examples, of the key skills you have – choose skills that are a requirement of the job you’re applying for, and the employer will immediately be interested.

Keep it concise: Ideally your CV should be no longer than 2 pages of A4. If you have a long work history, be critical with jobs you held several years ago – how much information do you really need to include about them? Unless they are relevant to the role you’re applying for, it’s perfectly acceptable to keep it brief – just the name of the organisation, role, years worked there and a sentence about your key achievement there.

Review your portfolio: is it truly reflecting where you are now professionally? Freshen it up with examples of recent projects.

SELL YOURSELF! Think about the language you’re using in your CV – use powerful action words to make your experience stand out – have a look at this list for inspiration

Finally... it’s always really good to get a second opinion – use your networks, friends, family and recruitment industry contacts – ask them their opinion on your CV and use the feedback given!

Esme Caulfield is a professional People Developer and Organisational Change Manager with a strong background in careers advice and employability training. Her work is based on empowering people to be aware of their strengths, talents and achievements and using the confidence that gives them to enable them to progress in their career. Whilst working at the University of Salford, she successfully led a graduate employability programme, working with over 300 final year students and recent graduates to develop their job application and interview skills and place them with local businesses.

Esme will be sharing her invaluable insight via a series of regular write ups -

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