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Inevitably, the time came this week to take my car into a local garage for a service and finally stop ignoring the multiple lights on the dashboard.
As with every other service, a few things needed addressing and naturally, I agreed on the cheapest and fastest course of action to make the car roadworthy without causing too much inconvenience.
I left happy in the knowledge that although the car was by no means exemplary or even in half as good condition as it could be, it would be ‘good enough’ and certainly was less embarrassing than the time I had to use duct tape to stop the wing-mirror falling off.
It occurred to me that many people also take this approach when updating their CV. There are few tasks as dull as updating your own CV, so it’s not surprising that so many people allocate as little time and energy as possible to the task, but at what cost?
The interesting thing about this analogy is that if I planned to sell my car, I’d probably spend a fair amount of time and money making it look and run as well as possible. But when it comes to selling ourselves we’re happy adding a few bullet points about our latest role and hoping for the best (even if some of it does date back to your first ever CV in 2000!).
As an experienced recruiter, I can honestly say that an outstanding CV is one in a thousand, and even those who are willing to invest a whole evening of our lives trying to drastically increase our own employment prospects, many of us still don’t know what an outstanding CV actually looks like.
Below, I’ve comprised a brief summary of some of the best ways to considerably improve the average CV.
Who knows, perhaps going the full overhaul route next time we’re due a service might actually serve us better in the long run?
- Rewrite the CV against the role specification for each role you apply for– this works wonders if you can conjure up the time and inclination to do it!
- Stick to achievements, not activities, describing every single task you undertake on a daily basis isn’t interesting to an employer; they only want to know what value you’ll add to their firm.Does this CV have any relevance to the role you’re applying for, have you highlighted what you’re doing now which will help you do the role you’re seeking to take on?
- Too much or not enough information; a good CV will describe the team setting of each role, the key purpose of the position and the key achievements.
- Look objectively, as an employer would you be impressed with this application? Get a second opinion.
- Update the old roles not just the new (your first ever vacation scheme might have deserved half an A4 side when you were first role searching, but it doesn’t now.