What Makes the Perfect CV?
I decided to pose this question to everyone around the office. I mean, who better to ask? Our Recruitment Specialists literally specialise in matching candidates with vacancies and helping people find jobs. We look at the CVs you send us so we’re pretty skilled at assessing the quality of a CV and likelihood of its success. We also liaise with businesses looking for candidates; therefore we know exactly what a specific client is looking for at a certain time.
So, what response should I have expected? A magic CV formula? A template with ideal answers?
I did not receive either of these things. Instead, every single one of our recruitment consultants made the same interesting point:
There is no such thing as the perfect CV precisely because every candidate and every employer are different.
In place of a magic formula, I was offered various CV tips and advice. Each recruitment consultant expressed incredibly similar sentiments in the advice they offered.
Thus, although there is no such thing as the perfect CV, there are clear and universally applicable guidelines that our specialists have noticed are valued by potential employers.
Follow our CV tips below to craft a clear, structured and valuable CV that will help you showcase your skills and experience.
1. Aim for 1 Full Page
Neither an employer, nor a recruiter, has the time to read 4 pages outlining everything about your life. 1 full page is usually a safe bet; it forces you to be concise and include only relevant information. Similarly, a half page CV will look rushed and appear as though you have taken little care.
2. Use an Ordered Structure
People can choose to include different sections in their CV, but a clear and recognisable structure is as follows:
- Contact Details
- Personal Statement
Using a logical structure with clear headings will increase the likelihood that an employer will take notice of your CV. They will probably have a pile of applications to look at, so they will take more notice of the CVs that are easy and quick to read.
3. Write a Concise Personal Statement
Full disclosure: not all employers appreciate personal statements. But the majority do, or at least don’t mind them and understand why they are often included in CVs. At Qube, we like to see a bit of personality so we always appreciate a succinct personal statement that discusses your career goals and why you have these aims. What propels you to pursue this career? What do you want to achieve? If you do include a personal statement, it’s important to keep it concise and focused. We don’t need to know that you’re more of a dog person than a cat person or that you collect rare coins.
It’s also best to exclude your hobbies from your personal statement and instead save them for their own section later on, if you wish to include them. Revealing your hobbies too early will detract from your career aspirations.
4. Use Bullet Points
- Bullet points are useful when stating your qualifications and skills.
- They make your CV easy and quick to read.
- They force you to be clear.
- They draw the eye of the reader.
5. Include Selected Hobbies
While you may enjoy attending music festivals with your friends or going shopping, this section is most useful for showcasing your commitment. Any volunteer work you may have done, competitions you entered or activities you partake in are all valuable additions to a CV.
6. Add No More Than 2 Useful References
Many candidates have no idea who to put as a referee, particularly if they are looking for their first job. Those with previous work experience can ask their supervisor or boss to act as a referee. Those without can ask their professors, educators and teachers. It’s no good putting down a family member or a friend; a referee should be someone who can assert your hardworking nature or justify your work experience.
7. Make Frequent & Final Edits
Proofread! Your CV is an example of your abilities and skills. If you don’t proofread your CV, it sends the message that you are not a conscientious or thoughtful worker. Ask someone else to proof read for you, as they may find a mistake you missed.
Other useful final edits include ensuring that your CV is up to date and denotes your current contact information and most recent experience.
Furthermore, many candidates neglect to tailor their CVs according to the vacancies for which they are applying. As we stated earlier, every candidate and every employer are different, so its consequential that every vacancy is different. It’s no good applying for a retail role with the same CV you would use to apply for a role at a logistics company. Generic CVs suggest that you lack a clear career direction which will not look good to a potential employer.
Now, Get Started!
So there you have it. Whilst there is no perfect CV formula, there some solid CV tips that will give you the best chance possible in your job search.