How to design an eye-catching CV

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As a job seeker your CV is of paramount importance in selling yourself to a prospective employer. If you’re equipped with a good CV you could have multiple interviews lined up in no time, but if you get it wrong you may face many rejections or you may not hear anything at all.  This statement holds more truth now than ever, the job market is saturated with hundreds of candidates vying for the same jobs and there is simply no room for candidates with an ill written CV. It is the first, most basic step of applying for a new job and it is the easiest step to perfect.

Although all CVs follow a similar structure your CV needs to be tailored to every job you apply for so that it highlights clearly the background and skills that you need for that particular position or organisation.

Below are some key points to keep in mind when writing/updating your CV:

  • Make sure you have a professional email address – a version of your name or initials and possibly a number is most suitable. Your teenage email address is well out of date at this stage! 
  • Include a link to your LinkedIn profile. If you don’t already have a LinkedIn profile then it’s time to get one! Your LinkedIn profile should be up to date and reflect your CV, though it may be more generic if you have tailored your CV for specific roles. It’s more than likely any prospective employers will take a look at your Linkedin and other Social Media profiles so be mindful of what your profiles display to the public. 
  • Don’t include an unprofessional photo. There are many differences in opinion on whether a photo is necessary at all but if you do want to provide one make sure it is professional – no selfies or holiday snaps. 
  • Make sure your CV is always as up to date as possible– for example if you have finished up a role you need to up date this on your CV immediately. You may be overlooked for a position that is an immediate requirement if it appears from your CV that you are still working. 
  • Don’t overwhelm your CV with unnecessary content. Keep it clear and concise. Divide your CV into easy to read sections and offer enough information to entice the reader to want to pick up the phone and learn more about you. Try to stand out with key points about yourself that would match you up well to the position you’re applying for. Remember the average time a recruiter will spend reading a CV is 6.25 seconds. 
  • Don’t forget to include a start date and end date of employment relative to each position you have held. If you have any significant gaps in employment you should briefly state the reason behind this and include the dates. For example:

Maternity Leave,
September 2019 – May 2020

  • ALWAYS remember to use spell check – with this function there is no excuse for incorrect spelling or grammar on your CV. 
  • Keep to the same formatting style throughout your CV – try to avoid using fancy formatting and writing text in boxes and use the same font and sizing where relevant. Your CV should be neat and easy to read through quickly. 
  • Keep it simple - for most roles there is no need to be too experimental with your formatting. A CV that is too busy with styling/colours etc can detract from the important information on your CV – your experience! Exceptions to this rule would be if you are applying for a role within a creative/design-based industry. 
  • Always get a fresh set of eyes to examine your CV for you before you send it off. 
  • Save your CV as both a PDF and a MS word document – “PDF’ing” your CV will ensure that the look of your document remains how you want it to look, regardless of the system, font or program it’s being opened or saved into at the other end. A PDF is often recommended for most applications. The exception is if you are applying for a role through a recruitment agency, in this case it is best to send your CV in a MS word document, this facilitates the transfer of the details on your CV to the recruiters CV template and also allows for minor editing.