Five steps to spring-clean your CV

It’s the season for a good old clear out. So why not give your CV a polish, by following our five-step guide?

“The mistake many people make about their CV is to think of it as a static document. But it should be revised and reviewed on a regular basis and tailored to specific job opportunities. That way, it will always do the best possible justice to your skills, talents, and potential.”

      “The best CVs start with a statement that summarises a person’s strengths, experience and talents,”...  

That’s the view of Jody Collings, a senior consultant at Just Recruitment Group Ltd, who handles hundreds of CVs a month. She says the ones that stand out are concise, accurate and well written, creating just the right impression of a prospective candidate.

To ensure your CV is as sharp as a box of razor blades, here are Jody’s top tips to give it a spring clean.

1. Be ruthless

Okay, so your Mum and Dad are very proud of your silver medal in the school dance competition. But you’re a twenty-something professional, and it’s unlikely to help you stand out from the crowd when you go for your next sales job.

“Cut unnecessary detail from your CV,” advises Jody. “The average recruiter will have a large quantity of applications to work through. If yours seems verbose or self-indulgent, you’ll go to the bottom of the pile.”

Of course, what counts as “unnecessary” detail changes over time. Including a breakdown of GCSE results which is important if you’re a school leaver, but if you’ve been working for a decade or more, it’s probably sufficient just to say how many you have, and within what grade range. Your more recent educational and professional experience will trump what you did when you were 15.

2. Tighten the layout

You probably like to think that recruiters will focus on what you write in a CV, rather than how it looks. But the harsh truth is that visual presentation has a real impact.

“If you’re a busy person with a stack of CVs to review, you’ll be put off by clunky layouts that make the information hard to decipher,” says Jody. “It’s always worth making sure your CV is as legible as possible.”

Common mistakes to avoid are cutting sentences in half over pages, misaligning columns so they’re hard to read, or being inconsistent in the use of italics or bold typeface. As a general rule, keep your formatting as simple as possible – that minimises the risk of mistakes creeping in.

3. Be honest

Remember when you first started out on the job hunt and had to big up your limited experience? When you said that your role as a lifeguard included retail experience, because you were responsible for refilling the chocolate machine?

Now’s the time to go over your CV and correct those half-truths. Because if there’s one thing a recruiter can spot a mile away, it’s needless hyperbole. And even if you’re a great candidate, it creates an impression of someone who’s trying too hard – never a good look when you’re going for a new job.

4. Update your summary statement

“The best CVs start with a statement that summarises a person’s strengths, experience and talents,” says Jody. “Naturally, this changes over time, and you may want to play up different attributes depending on the job you’re applying for.

“My advice is to review this statement each time you apply for a job, and perhaps keep a file of alternative versions somewhere on your computer. Then you can cut, paste and edit the one that seems most appropriate, helping you create maximum impact with your prospective employer.”

5. Enjoy your achievements

Reading your CV can be a curiously pleasurable experience. It’s a chance to remind yourself of your achievements and celebrate life’s successes. This can be a helpful way to build your confidence before applying for jobs. So, enjoy it, and remember to reference the highlights in an interview situation.

“A CV should be an honest appraisal of what you can offer a prospective employer,” says Jody. “But it is a sales tool, too. So, if you don’t finish reading it with a renewed feeling of pride and self-belief, you probably need to give it a bit more work.”

© Copyright Just Recruitment 2019

If you are actively seeking for a new job – search here

You may also like to read – What are the most common spelling mistakes on CVs?

Jobs currently available

New job
Assistant Branch Manager
Sector: Sales
Salary: £29,000 - £30,000 per annum
Location: Chelmsford, Essex
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 909854
About the role

Just Recruitment is seeking an enthusiastic Assistant Branch Manager to join a company based in Chelmsford.

This is an excellent opportunity to join a growing organisation - offering a competitive salary and company bonus. Monday to Friday, 7.30am - 5pm and every other Saturday morning - overtime is paid. 

Free parking.

Company bonus scheme.

Previous experience within a Builders / Plumbers merchants is essential.

Personal attributes:

  • A hard-working polite team player.
  • A self-motivated person who understands the importance of getting the job done and/or responding to the customer as promised, and on time.
  • Should be punctual, well presented and like to operate in a clean and tidy manner.
  • Positive with a friendly "can do" attitude.
  • A good listener who is keen to learn, develop new skills and "get on" in the business.
  • Thoughtful and resourceful, someone who enjoys solving problems.
  • Real ambition and a desire to succeed would be beneficial as the role offers excellent opportunities to progress in the future. 
Read more
New job
Project Manager
Sector: Engineering and Manufacturing
Salary: £30,000 - £40,000 per annum
Location: Sudbury Suffolk
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 909743
About the role

Just Recruitment is recruiting for a Project Lead / Manager to join a company based in Sudbury Suffolk, on a fixed-term contract basis.

You will be an experienced project manager working with one of the company’s strategic suppliers, to move key electrical raw material components from their facility in the UK to the one in Romania.

The project manager will be the key liaison between the supplier and the company and is expected to keep the supplier on track with the expectations and standards of the team.

Candidate requirements:

You will have experience in working within a manufacturing environment and moving either manufacturing lines or supply lines across borders.

You will also have Medical device or Pharmaceutical experience.

We are looking at 6-12 month fix term contract with relevant notice periods.

Salary is negotiable depending on experience.

Read more
New job
Part-time Administrator
Sector: Public Service and Administration
Salary: Competitive depending on experience
Location: Sudbury
Role: Part Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 909844
About the role

Just Recruitment is looking for an Administrator on behalf of a company based in Sudbury.

The role involves being part of a small and friendly team on a part-time basis, working 2-3 days per week.

Duties to include:

  • Opening post
  • Franking post
  • Greeting clients
  • Answering telephone
  • Banking procedures
  • Filing
  • Setting up new client files (electronic and paper)
  • Maintaining current client files (electronic and paper)
  • Assisting with the smooth running of systems
  • Monitoring books in / books out
  • Liaising with other branches
  • Client billing
  • GDPR and Money Laundering paperwork (a strong understanding of this is essential)

May evolve to include other duties and responsibilities.

Read more
Designer
Sector: Creative Arts and Design
Salary: £25,000 - £30,000 per annum
Location: Colchester
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 909835
About the role

Are you a skilled designer looking for your next role?

Do you have luxury branding/magazine experience – including motion graphics (aftereffects) & digital design (social media etc)?

As a creative team member, you will be required to contribute to the wider creative thinking of a business based in Colchester, improving designs or presentations whilst working to tight deadlines.

You will be required to work in collaboration with the wider studio team and furthermore with the other departments across the business to produce the best possible outcome for each project worked on.

You will also be contributing towards the design presentations, so attention to detail and high standards in your work is a must.

Job responsibilities:

  • Creation of high-quality concept designs for necessary projects.
  • To work alongside the studio team to understand the project requirements and deliver them in accordance with the written brief.
  • To liaise and communicate effectively with the Client Services team to ensure the desired outcome is reached and the creative output complies with the needs of any marketing and strategic requirements.
  • Supporting the Creative Director and Head of Creative in bringing branding, design themes and relevant creative projects to life.
  • Responsible for managing and organising allocated projects efficiently and meeting their necessary deadlines.
  • To contribute to the delivery of client, new business or pitch presentations.
  • Any other ad-hoc duties required by the Creative Director or Head of Creative.

Person specification:

  • A relevant degree or similar level/achievement.
  • A previous position held within a similar role.

Knowledge and skills:

  • Highly proficient in Adobe Creative Software – InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, Acrobat and AfterEffects.
  • Ability to multi-task various goals and objectives.
  • Deadline driven.
  • Excellent planning and organisational skills.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication and interpersonal skills.
  • Exceptional attention to detail.

Personal qualities:

  • A strong team player.
  • Ability to work to tight deadlines.
  • An ambitious and driven individual.
  • Be able to work under pressure to meet in deadlines.

This is an excellent opportunity for a creative individual to join a fast-paced organisation on the outskirts of Colchester.

Offering a great package - depending on skills and experience - free parking is available on site.

Read more