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From Tiny Acorns – How Small Changes Can Improve Your CV

In a recent article we discussed 5 common lies told on CVs and the dangers of embellishing to make yourself look good.  The truth is that your CV can be improved by changing simple things and often this will have far more potential for improving your chances of being noticed than risking a lie.

There is that old phrase about mighty oaks growing from tiny acorns and it holds true with your CV.  Putting aside the obvious pitfalls of bad spelling and incorrect information (I am sure you wouldn’t make that kind of silly mistake) there are small changes you can make that will really help your CV stand out.

  • Think about structure.  Take the time to read through your CV for structure.  Does it show a build in your experience or career and is it easy to follow?  The employer wants to be able to see a snapshot of who you are now.  They shouldn’t need to fish around in the text to find that out.
  • Try to be accomplishment driven, not responsibilities driven.  Instead of ‘I was responsible for leading the team’ try saying ‘I lead a team which became the most efficient in the organisation at…’ or similar.  Employers want to see the results of your success.
  • There is nothing wrong with bullet points.  I am using bullet points here to clearly show where new information starts.  Do the same on your CV where appropriate.  The purpose of the bullet point is to convey areas of information quickly; part of the purpose of your CV is also to convey your information quickly.  There will be a chance for a personal statement during the application process where you can expand.  For the CV keep it simple and make it easy for the potential employer to read.
  • Don’t be too quirky or try to be humorous.  There is a place for showing your personality in the employment process.  On your CV there is nothing wrong with being ‘you’ but as soon as you introduce humour or something ‘off the wall’ you are playing a dangerous game.  Unless your prospective employer, and remember it may be more than one person, shares your sense of humour you may appear frivolous and as if you are not taking the job seriously.
  • Waffle, Waffle, Waffle.  The rule is simple.  Say what you need to say in the shortest possible way.  There is no need to prove your writing skills by over flowery language use or long sentences.
  • Be current where possible.  Past experience is important but only emphasise current experience and the important experience from older positions.
  • Relate to the position.  Rather than restate the job description, put it in context.  So for example if the job description asks for experience of international driving don’t just put ‘experience of international driving’ make a short, concise statement such as ‘Experienced in driving refrigerated units to Central and Eastern Europe’.
  • Acronyms and buzzwords.  If they are common then it may be OK to use them but remember that the first people reading your CV may not be specialists in your area.
  • Short is good.  Nobody picks up a well-written, concise and informative CV and thinks ‘they seem like a good candidate, but I would have preferred to read another page’.  Say what you need to say and then stop.

These are small changes; little acorns that could make your CV a real stand out one. If you need some help or advice with your CV please contact one of our recruitment advisors who will be happy to help.  


Published by Harvey

over 8 years ago


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