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​CV Success: tips for tailoring the perfect CV

20 July 2023

By Jess Watts

​CV Success: tips for tailoring the perfect CV

More often than not, the first thing potential employers see is your CV. A recent poll showed that it takes just 34 seconds for an employer to decide whether a CV is worth further consideration, so it’s worth making sure you are grabbing their attention and selling yourself. Building your CV is like creating an outfit. It is important that you are wearing an occasion-appropriate ensemble, that you are accentuating your best bits, and that you don’t overload or under accessorise; finding the balance can be tricky, but luckily, the following tips should be able to help you craft a CV that will capture interest and promote yourself in the best way possible.

Here’s how to wow:

Occasion-wear: choosing the right style

There is an outfit for every occasion, and there is a CV for every job. This isn’t to say you need a completely new CV every time you apply for a different position, but rather select the appropriate style for the individual company and role. Make sure your tone is in-keeping with the branding of the hiring company- research and fit your CV around what they promote. The introduction of your CV (the “about you” section) should be company appropriate- it’s never fun to be under or over-dressed.

Dress to impress: accentuate your best bits

A CV is all about presenting yourself in a way that makes an employer want to hire you. When you want to feel your best, you dress in a way which highlight the parts of yourself you like the most; when you want to get a job, you do the same. Use your CV to emphasise your greatest qualities. Identify the things that you feel make you the best you can be and include them. An example in terms of outfits: love your eyes? add a scarf that compliments their colour. In terms of a job application: feel like you’re great at conversating? add “communication skills” to your CV.

Tailoring: make sure it fits

If an outfit doesn’t fit properly, you are less likely to wear it; if a CV doesn’t align with a role, you are less likely to get an interview. Ensure you are tailoring your CV to each role, adding relevant information only. You don’t have to completely reimagine your CV for every new role, just change up individual bits to ensure you are hitting the mark! It is advisable to have a skeleton CV which you can add to or take away from depending on the role. An engineering job and an IT role will require different things, try to accommodate this.

The details are everything: don’t slip up

Many fashion faux pas are extremely well known but did you know that there are some CV mistakes that may cost you an interview? Spelling and grammar are crucial to get right as mistakes show a lack of attention and consideration. Also, seemingly minor details such as inconsistent formatting and font can also be red flags. Make sure you proofread your CV (and use the “editor” tool on Microsoft Word) to stop anything from slipping past you and preventing you from landing your dream job.

Accessorise: elevate your look

Not every ensemble needs a watch or a scarf, but for some, these things can elevate your look. However, if you throw on everything in your closet you might look confusing, jumbled, and disjointed. By picking a few particular additions to accentuate your outfit, you will look planned, together, and intentional. ‘Over accessorizing’ is a real thing, and it also applies to your CV. Don’t write your whole life story; instead, pick specific, deliberate additions to make your CV that much more memorable. Also be aware of adding too little, as this can come off as sparse- a CV needs some accessories at least to “complete the look”!

Don’t forget shoes: the necessities

Imagine leaving your house with a full outfit on but forgetting to add shoes; it’s unlikely, but not impossible. Though it’s unlikely, it is worth double checking the information on your CV to ensure you haven’t misspelt a common word or mistyped your contact details. You don’t want an employer to call ‘your’ number just for someone completely unsuspecting to answer. Double and triple check, it’s worth it to save embarrassment and future stress.

As you can see, building an outfit and building your CV are more similar than you might think; both require attention to detail, planning, and creativity. Visit our website, follow our tips, expand your ‘wardrobe’, and dress (your CV) for the job you want!

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