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Is it time to take a more critical look at your CV?

Published: Thursday 13th October 2016

A person writing text in a book

If you’ve been using the same CV layout for some time and it hasn’t yet landed you the job of your dreams, it might be good to look at it with a more critical eye. Obviously a fresh CV is a good CV, and maybe a layout change might help readability. But should you take the next step, and get your CV reviewed by a professional?

You are certainly too close to your CV to be impartial, and you may also miss those subtle mistakes that you as the author read over. Never forget: typos, spelling mistakes, poor grammar and misplaced apostrophe’s (!) are some of the main reasons CVs are rejected by an employer. So you should always give your CV to a friend to look over – they may see the glaring errors that you miss.

But what about a professional CV review? Cost would be one reason not to – pricing ranges from around £50 through to £100+, but could be seen as a sound investment in your job search.

However, many of the professional services do offer a free, basic review, and you should definitely make use of these (presently CVNow https://www.cvnow.co.uk/ and theFullerCV https://www.thefullercv.com are two of several that offer free CV evaluations).
In particular it can be useful for showing how you appear to a recruiter who uses an ‘applicant tracking system’ that scans your CV and presents a snapshot of you based on your CV. For instance, it will provide a view of your overall skills (e.g. 60% Marketing, 40% Technical).

Here are the top tips for a good CV that a review may well flag:

  • Keep it short, 2 pages at most
  • Triple check your spelling and punctuation – then give to someone else to check
  • Most recent jobs first, less details for older jobs
  • Think keywords

And be sure to write with a more action-oriented turn of phrase – you didn’t just ‘manage’ or were ‘responsible for’, you slashed/negotiated/improved/won/… Sell yourself!

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