If you are looking for a new job this January or you are starting to think about your options once you graduate, we are here for you. A CV is the first impression that an employer gets of you, so make it count. Here are some tips to help you sharpen up your CV.

1. Short and sweet

Two pages of A4 is the generally accepted length. Some employers don’t mind a third page but to avoid the risk, just keep it to two. On average, employers spend less than 10 seconds looking at any one CV so first impressions are everything! Keep it short and snappy without any large chunks of text.

2. Structure is key

There are a few ways to structure a CV, so it’s important to know who your CV is meant for and what matters most to them. For example, if an employer is looking for key skills, then a skills-based CV should list your abilities with the necessary experience to back them up. A chronological CV will list details of your experience, starting with the most recent, and emphasise career progression.

3. Don’t lie

This sort of goes without saying. Just make sure you can back up everything you’ve mentioned. Particularly when it comes to your skills, don’t just blindly list them. Make sure you can name a particular experience during which you developed the skills you’ve mentioned.

4. Tailor it

CVs definitely aren’t a ‘one size fits all’ matter. Don’t be surprised if you end up with hundreds of them saved on your computer. Every company is different so do your research! Look up the company values and use the job advert to find out exactly what they’re looking for and alter your CV so that it proves you’re the perfect employee.

5. Have a “CV Database”

On the topic of tailoring your CV, it might be useful to have a longer, uncut version of your CV listing all the details and all your work experience. That way, when it comes to tailoring a CV for a new application, you can just open this up, save a new copy and edit it.

6. Keep updating

Flick back to your CV every now and then to update your details. Every time some good experience comes your way, write it down and include details on what you did and what you learnt.

7. Power words

Poorly chosen words and clichéd phrases can butcher a perfectly good CV. Check out a list of the top 100 power words to use instead.

8. Get numerical

Backing up your achievements with numbers can make a big difference! If you were responsible for boosting sales, tell the employer by how much? Time is key as well. For example, a sentence such as “Increased sales by 99% over a two month period” will be incredibly impressive. Obviously that was a horribly exaggerated example, but you get the idea.

9. Proof read

Read and re-read everything once you’re done! Check your spelling, grammar and structure! Make sure everything is consistent, the spacing is all the same and you don’t suddenly switch to a different font. Once you’re done checking, send it to a few friends or family members and ask them to have a read through. Better yet, why not use the University’s drop-in service with a careers adviser?

10. Font

On the subject of font, be careful with this. Times New Roman is rather outdated. Instead, opt for more modern, sans serif fonts such as Helvetica or Verdana. And please…just please…don’t use Comic Sans.

11. Watch your email address

You’ll need to put your contact details so employers know how to reach you. You’ve probably heard this many times already but we’ll say it again, use a professional email address! Boozymike11@hotmail.com and fluffypinkunicorns@gmail.com do NOT make the best impressions.

12. Use the uni!

We’ve recently launched SURecruit, which have some great tips and tricks on their Facebook page and you can find out how they work and register with them here! Don’t forget the University’s careers pages where you can book one-to-one appointments and go through your CV with a careers adviser.

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