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5 Quick Tips for Creating a Great CV.

Writing a CV takes time and effort, there’s a certain style and format that is expected and if it’s been a while since you’ve had to use your CV it can be daunting. If you work in HR or Senior Management you tell yourself that you ‘should’ be able to write your CV, you’re used to writing reports and e-mails that influence people all the time. The CV is about you and no one knows you better than you right?


A CV is a different matter for three reasons:

  1. People read your e-mails and reports – computers are likely to read your CV first and they have a different logic to a human.

  2. When you write about yourself you forget half of the things you’ve achieved in the last 6 months let alone what you’ve done in the last 10 years.

  3. You tend to undersell yourself as you don’t want to appear boastful.

A Computer Reads My CV – Really?

Whilst you might think that not many companies use this technology Jobscan research found that 98% of Fortune 500 companies use ATS so if you are applying to a large organisation ignore me at your peril. This technology isn’t just for the big names a further survey by Kelly OCG estimated 66% of large companies and 35% of small organizations rely on recruitment software.

When an organisation can receive over 50 applicants for a role and sometimes hundreds the time saving alone is one of the big reasons this technology is so popular. The technology scans the CV hunting for key words that match the job description. If your CV hasn’t been tailored to the job you’re applying for you’ll be lucky to get sifted for interview.

Whilst a human can make connections e.g. if you talk about collaboration in your CV they know it is similar to teamwork. If the technology hasn’t been programmed to search for both words your CV will be sifted out even though you have the skill needed.

Tip 1 - Compare your CV to the advert and check you’re using the same terminology / key words. If they say teamwork and your CV says collaboration – change it.

The ATS technology also only reads a CV in the specified format so if you are asked to send your CV in word don’t send a PDF. If you are asked to send your CV in Word it is also likely that the technology used doesn’t scan pictures so if any of your CV formatting uses pictures or you’ve copied text as pictures this information will be lost.

Tip 2 - Use a simple word document, forget all the fancy formatting, particularly if you are applying to a big brand.

If you want to find out more about how these systems work click the below link for a free download.

I am the Expert in Me

As a busy professional, we often forget to celebrate your achievements and I often work with people who describe what they do and it turns out there’s lots of relevant information that is missing entirely from their CV.

Tip 3 – Keep a record of what went well and what you’ve achieved, either a small notebook and just jot stuff in it, a note on your phone or a word document where you put the things you've delivered or feedback you are given. Keep a folder on your outlook and put in e-mails where people say thanks for doing a good job.

It’s all About The Detail

The level of detail needs to be a bit like Goldilocks and the three bears, not too much, not too little but just right.

There are two common reasons my clients give too much information. They might find it difficult to exclude things you are proud of even if they aren’t relevant for the role you’re applying for. What happens is that they keep this information in at the expense of something that is relevant.

They may think the task was really complex and include lots of information and jargon explaining the task.

The idea is to give just enough information to get the recruiter interested to find out more. But how do you know if the level of detail is just right?

  • If your achievement statement is longer than 2.5 - 3 lines it’s too much.

  • If you just list the task and miss out the skills used and the end result it’s too little.

Tip 4 – Check your CV against the Job Advert, have you mentioned all the skills they are looking for? If you have and more you may want to streamline, if you haven’t look at what you’ve mentioned that isn’t required and replace it with something you’ve missed.

Don’t Under Sell Yourself

No one knows all the things you’ve achieved as well as you do, but when you write a CV other things come into play.

  • You might have been taught as a child not to boast so writing a CV feels ‘wrong’ because you’re told that’s what you need to do.

  • Your confidence may have taken a knock in your current role and that may influence how and what you write in your CV.

Tip 5 – Ask Colleagues, your Manager or Friends what they think you are good at. You’ll be surprised it may not be what you would list, but it is what they see.

If after reading these quick tips, you think your CV could do with some further work, but you’re not sure where to start don’t worry, that’s where we can help.

A full CV review can take the stress away from rewriting your CV and it’s a really quick and easy process.

You send in your CV via e-mail and we book a 90 minute call at a time that suits you. We review and update your CV and provide you with some written feedback, you can either make further changes before our call or we can revise it together on the call. Your CV is sent back to you ready for you to start applying for jobs.

If you’ve enjoyed these quick tips and just want a few more direct to your inbox click here.

The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this blog are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this blog. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this blog. Snow Limits Coaching, disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this blog.



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