One of the most common questions I get asked as a recruiter is: “What can I do to improve my CV?”. There is a lot of information out there to help people write effective CVs, but I thought I would share my personal top tips from a recruiter point of view.

Each role can potentially attract tens, if not hundreds, of applicants. Recruiters will often only spend a few seconds scanning a CV initially, so you need to make sure your experience stands out.

1. Layout

The layout of your CV is very important. Definitely start with your most recent experience first, then work backwards. If you are a graduate with not a lot of experience, put your education somewhere near the top. Bullet points are also a CVs best friend:

  • Listing your duties as opposed to writing a big paragraph is a lot easier on the eye
  • It looks more professional
  • Generally, avoid saying “I do this” or “Part of my responsibility is…”

2. Content

It’s important to know what is relevant when creating your CV. For example, if you are currently working in a bank and are applying for similar roles, go into as much detail as you can. I often see candidates list ‘Deal with client queries’ as a duty – this isn’t enough information really. Ask yourself: what type of queries have I dealt with? Change of addresses, lost or stolen cards, fraud cases, making transfers/payments? This is all important information - get it on your CV!

Ideally, you need to be tailoring your CV to each role you’re applying for. Look at the job description, and if you have experience doing any of the required responsibilities make sure you have listed it on your CV.

3. Account for any gaps in employment

Gaps on your CV are fine to have as long as you explain briefly what you were up to. For example if a recruiter sees a 12-month gap on your CV this can ring alarm bells, however if you explain that you have been travelling for a year, this is fine.

4. Interests

Listing a couple of interests is fine to do, however making a large chunk of your CV about your 5 a side football team, travels in Asia, knitting hobby and how you enjoy socialising with friends is probably not going to help. Interests help the recruiter to build up a picture of you as a candidate, however if you want to list interests - keep it brief!

5. Make sure your contact information is correct

Seems simple, however I have had cases of candidates having typos in their email addresses, and even listing their old phone number which now belonged to their ex-partner (That was a very awkward phone call!) We can’t get in touch with you regarding your application if your contact information isn’t correct!

6. Don’t lie!

Simple as.

I hope this has been helpful in some way! If anyone would like more information please don’t hesitate to get in touch.