Want the perfect CV? Use these resume building tips

There’s a lot that can get in your way when you’re searching for a job. It’s time consuming, you have to find a perfect interview-worthy outfit, research the company, think of great questions to ask, and, before you can get to all that, you have to make sure you’ve got the perfect CV. 

It’s daunting. Overwhelming. It might make you feel like you should give up and become a human crash test dummy (yes, that’s a real thing). 

You might even be tempted to hit up Google and spend hundreds on a CV writer that claims your ‘perfect resume’ is just a click away. (Spoiler alert: it’s not.) A professional CV writer is incentivised to tell you that yours is garbage - just pure, stinky garbage - making you feel more hopeless than you were at the beginning. 

But never fear. There are plenty of things you could be doing (outside of making sure you’re using the same font sizes, types, and colours - consistency is key, and a great way to subconsciously show you’re reliable). Luckily for you, we’ve taken the time to compile our top tips. 

Experience

Your experience is the backbone of  a perfect CV. Without it, it all collapses into a pile of personal-profile-and-paper goo. So what can you do to make your spine the sturdiest it can be? (Besides drinking milk, of course.)

  • Make sure the size of your descriptions is proportionate to the length of time you were in the role. Two sentences for a ten year job, for instance, is far too little. And ten sentences for a two year job is, perhaps, far too much. 
  • Highlight your outcomes and achievements. Did you successfully invent a new way of organising the company’s tea bag selection? Or implement a project on time within budget? Whatever your high-points, write them down. 
  • Backup the points you make. You’ve heard of P.E.E? This is the satisfying end part. Using quantifiables to evidence, and explain, your achievements will make your CV much more substantial. Did your tea-bag system save hours of confusion at lunch time? What about the thousands of pounds you saved the business by coming in under-budget and in the allotted time-frame? 
  • Use jargon. Or, in jargon terms, keywords. When a hiring manager or recruiter is looking for their perfect candidate, they’re searching for specific terms that fit their desires, and scan through hundreds of CVs. If you completed a project using AWS, or JavaScript, or Azure, make sure to mention that. But don’t overdo it; we don’t need to see a complete history of your life. Save some mystery for the second date. 

And while you’re at it, separate the section. Formatting is key to creating your perfect CV, and the evidence should be emphasised. You want to hit them in the face with it.

Personality

The next most important point you need to focus on when creating your perfect CV is personality. Do you know how many CVs a hiring manager looks at daily? Neither do we, exactly, but it’s a lot. Trust us. 

You want to make it interesting - give us an indication of who you are and what you like doing. Nobody needs to read ‘I like to watch TV and hang out with friends’ again. Give us specifics. Tell us you love to watch Sailor Moon and go LARPing, or that you collect hot sauce and have a podcast. The more personality you give, the more likely you are to be remembered going forward. 

Get across your passions, especially if it’s related to the job. If you’re applying to be a shark wrestler, tell us how many times you’ve been to the aquarium, and if you’re applying to be a software developer, mention the projects you’ve done in your spare time. 

The best place to get this across is in a personal profile. It’s easy to forget, and writing it can be an awkward experience. But it’s a key component to making yourself unforgettable. 

Handy hint: if you’re a UX designer, don’t turn in a plain resume. You have the design skills; show you know how to use them. And if you’re a developer, try working in some pieces of code. A little extra effort now can save you loads of time, and rejection, later.

The Other Stuff

To wrap up our tips, here’s a few other important points to follow for your perfect CV.  

  • Don’t include your salaries. 
    • It’s much less common nowadays, but it’s still common enough that it needs saying. Including your salary puts you on the back-foot when it comes to negotiations. You want them to pay you for the job you’re applying for, not the one you currently do.
    • Plus, a figure can immediately put an impression in the hiring manager’s brain. Your current salary could imply an over-qualification or lack of experience.
  • Use bite-sized paragraphs. 
    • You want to get across your points, evidence, and explanations, but split up any long paragraphs into smaller chunks. Or, even better, bullet points! The longer the paragraph, the easier it will be for your reader to look away. 
  • Don’t use third person. 
    • You wouldn’t talk in the third person, so why would you write your CV in it? Using anything other than first person detaches you from the reader, and can come across as odd, and maybe off-putting. 
  • Avoid bold claims. 
    • We had a CV once pass through our neck of the woods that claimed to be ‘a real perfectionist’ who ‘never settled for less than perfect’. It should come as a surprise, then, that the CV was also full of strange grammar errors and out of place capitalisations. If you’re making a big Point, don’t forget to ‘E.E.’
  • Include links.
    • It may seem obvious, but if you have a portfolio, github, website, LinkedIn, or any other online professional profile, make sure to link it. 
  • Put your job roles in chronological order. 
    • But not your first job to your latest. When writing your CV, remember that the person looking at it is probably looking at hundreds of others, too. You want to get your pros across pronto, so start with the job you’re in now (or the job you just left), and work your way backwards. 

At the end of the day, great experience is going to shine through even the murkiest of bogs. But why hinder yourself? You could be up against someone with the same experience and skills; giving yourself every opportunity to stand out will never be a bad thing. 

If you’re struggling with your applications, have a chat with one of our consultants for perfect CV advice.