When writing a CV, content is key, of course! However, a lot of people forget to really look at the layout and formatting of the document, as it is usually a quick file put together to get out in front of recruiters and potential employers as soon as possible. Are we right?
We have put together some easy, yet VERY effective tips and tricks to help you het the most out of your CV before you hit that ‘apply’ button.
Creating your CV in Microsoft Word is key as you can save the editable version, as well as safe it as a PDF file to stop the Word document shifting around when presented across various screen sizes. Both files are also ATS compatible. However, Word’s margin pre-sets means that there is a lot of unusable space, which is quite frankly a waste of whitespace.
To get around this, simply drag the margins for the headers and footers to allow for more text space within the main body of the document. Be careful though as sometimes it can add unwanted space and pages further down which can be tricky to undo. So, always check the full document after every margin change and just hit the undo button if it knocks anything out of proportion.
Keeping it tidy
Headers, page splits and layouts…. It can be a bit of a headache we know! But having a clean and presentable layout means that your CV will be much more aesthetic for the reader. Remember you only have an average of up to 8 seconds before your CV is placed within the yes or no pile, so make this count!
So, how do you get past this potential roadblock? Attention to detail! Keep your CV neat and tidy throughout and always try to avoid splitting for a full job explanation over two pages wherever possible.
As a rule of thumb, your CV should never exceed two pages, unless you are at a very senior level or highly qualified. Therefore, the layout is key to ensure your CV includes the relevant keywords and detail without spilling over the recommended CV page limits. You’re giving an employer an overview into your skillset and relevant working history, not a biography, remember! You will have plenty of time to explain your working experience in greater detail at the interview stages, but you need to get there first. So, don’t put off the reader before they even know how right you may be for their job they’re advertising.
The point to a bullet…
We occasionally hear that people are advised against bullet points in their working experience. This is absolute nonsense. Remember our point above about how little time the reader has? So why would they want to read block text? We have said it earlier and we will say it again… Aesthetics!
You can really balance a well written document with bullet points. Perhaps think about adding them to a list of technical skills if you have experience in a wide range of software, or if you have studied a large sum of online courses or completed additional qualifications to boost your career development.
Leave out the unnecessary bits
Okay let us split these out….
Avoid adding this to your CV. There is absolutely no need to add it first of all, as employers and recruiters will never send a letter to ask for more information on your experience nowadays. They want quick answers and will therefore call and / or email you instead. It simply takes up room on your CV that you can use for something much more valuable! Not only this, but you could also be subject to location bias. It has been known that employers prefer candidates from certain locations for a wide range of reasons. One being, for example, that they ‘believe’ it may be too difficult or too far for the candidate to travel to and from work and therefore may decide to leave quickly for a closer alternative.
Photos are for application forms only and only if specified. Adding a photo to your CV just wastes space for important information. They don’t need to see what you look like to assess if you can do the job or not before your interview. Another key concern is that employers may make a premature and incorrect decision on whether you’re a good ‘person fit’ for the company before even learning about your experience, all based on your appearance.
Unless you have an IT qualification named ‘Driving Licence’, these words are not needed on your CV. If the job requires you to drive as part of your daily duties, it is very much a given that you should be able to drive before you apply. Unless the role is not on a bus route and is a challenge for you to get there, you should be fine. Most rural, difficult to access on public transport companies actually state this within their job adverts usually.
Date of birth:
Your date of birth has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that you may or may not be able to complete the tasks required within the job description. Okay so you may be a recent graduate with the most up to date knowledge from being fresh out of university or college as a postgraduate. Or perhaps you have a wealth of working experience under your belt following your career to date over the years, but your age has nothing to do with it in reality. Your relevance will already be explained in the relevant sections, so leave this minor detail off of your CV. Age discrimination is obviously a huge no no, but you may be surprised by how many companies still do it.
Say my name
So, you have completed your new interview winning CV. Time to save it as ‘new amazing CV’…. STOP right there! Think about how that may look when employers are looking at the file name on their end… oh yes, they CAN see it! Reed, Indeed, LinkedIn, it all shows if uploaded!
This is a very quick and simple change. Just save it as ‘[First Name] [Surname] [Current Year]’. For example, Johnny Depp 2022, though Mr Depp surely doesn’t need a CV, right? Adding the current year to the newly uploaded file name means that whenever the recruiter opens the file, they will see it is up to date. Eye for detail? They have it! Trust us!
If you feel you need some help in writing the CV and you have no idea where to start, then please do get in touch. We can check to see if your CV really does need rewriting in the first place absolutely free of charge. Our team of professional CV writers are all based within the UK with a wealth of recruitment and careers advice experience and can therefore help you with a number of services that we offer to get you noticed by employers and can aid you throughout the process to winning that job offer as much as possible.
Want to find out more? You can get in touch by simply clicking here.