With the new year in full swing, many of you may feel that now is the time for a new challenge. With over a million positions unfilled, there’s never been a better time to refresh your CV and explore your options.
However, how do you write your CV these days? With the advent of video CVs, new formats and approaches are popping up everywhere. So how do you know yours will stand out and catch the attention of recruiters?
With the CV writing tips laid out in this article, you can ensure that your document is up-to-date and ready to get your hunt for a new job off to the best possible start.
But first, let’s recap how CVs have changed over the years and why it’s essential to make sure yours reflects these changes.
How Has CV Writing Changed Over the Last Few Years?
There’s no question that the pandemic has permanently altered employment. Remote working and hybrid arrangements are becoming more common, and these changes are having knock-on effects on recruitment.
Online assessments and Zoom interviews are all becoming more commonplace as employers try to streamline their hiring processes and reduce recruiting costs.
But what does that mean for CVs?
For starters, video versions of these documents are now commonplace, especially on platforms such as TikTok and Instagram. These 60-second videos showcase your experience, skills, and creativity in a much more dynamic way than a traditional CV ever could.
Even in written format, old CV templates are no longer applicable. The days of cramped two-page Word documents stuffed with all kinds of potentially relevant information are gone.
It’s all about brevity and clarity now.
So how can you make sure your document stands out and gets noticed in these changing times?
How to Write a Good CV in 2023
The good news is that you don’t need to reinvent the wheel when CV writing in 2023.
Some of the old staples still hold true today, such as listing your work history in reverse chronological order (this helps Applicant Tracking Systems to scan your document quickly), using bullet points to condense information, and making sure you use keywords that align with your skills and experience.
The bulk of your CV should still focus on your employment history rather than your education and qualifications. Try, where possible, to use the Problem, Action, Solution (PAR) framework to describe your duties in previous roles. This makes it very easy for recruiters to see that you have the correct skill set(s) for the job in question.
Include other staple elements such as your education, professional certifications (if you have any), and contact information.
These days, it’s not essential to include aspects such as volunteer work or training that you have done. In the past, it may also have been tempting to pad out your CV with non-work-related achievements to show that you are a well-rounded individual.
Today’s modern CV offers no room for this. Remember, clarity and conciseness are key.
If you feel some parts were difficult to cut out, keep a note of them and perhaps weave them into the interview if you get the opportunity.
Lastly, NEVER include any personal information, such as marital status, religion, date of birth, sexual orientation, or any other potentially discriminatory information – this information should be off-limits on a CV unless specifically requested as part of a job application process.
How to Make Your CV Stand Out Instantly to Recruiters
Recruiters spend an average of 6 seconds reviewing a CV before deciding whether to proceed with a candidate. That’s it.
Thus, if you can’t make your CV stand out to them in that brief timespan, then you’re wasting both their time and your own.
So what can you do?
One of the best ways to grab attention is to make an eye-catching CV header. With recruiters often sifting through hundreds of applications daily, you must find a way to make yours stand out from the rest.
So make sure your CV header is boldly coloured (to make it visually distinct), and ensure it contains all of the vital information from the get-go, including your contact information, LinkedIn profile, and, if appropriate, a link to your video CV.
Another critical aspect is your personal statement – the opening paragraph that immediately sits underneath the CV header.
It needs to be highly targeted to the position you’re applying for and clearly outline why you are the perfect candidate for the job in question. You should include the following:
- Why it’s that specific company you want to work for
- What specific skills and/or qualifications make you perfect for the role
- How you envisage your career developing with the company in question
Lastly, don’t be tempted to use fancy or coloured fonts – these tend to distract recruiters from your core message and can do more harm than good. Let your bold and distinct layout do the attention-grabbing for you.
How to Refresh or Modernise Your CV
If you haven’t applied for a new position in several years or more and are worried your CV may be a little outdated or even old-fashioned looking, don’t worry – you can refresh it quickly and easily.
You can use a professional CV builder to turn your information into a professional-looking document that will grab the attention of any recruiter who comes across it.
However, there’s no need to spend money on a CV template if you’d rather not. Free templates available online can help you create a fantastic-looking document that won’t cost you a penny.
For instance, look at these Google CV Templates, which are designed to be modern and fresh while maintaining a professional look and feel. The graphic design site Canva also offers dozens of free CV templates you can download and edit to your heart’s content.
So if you wish to create and write your CV for free (rather than using paid tools), these templates are a great resource.
Another way to ensure your CV is up to current standards is to have someone else conduct a CV review. Having an outside eye to evaluate layout, language, and overall quality can ensure your CV stands out.
While you could ask a friend or colleague to look at it for you, your best bet is to hire a professional service to review your CV and offer advice on what changes you should make to make it more attractive to employers. These companies review hundreds of CVs daily and know precisely what works and what doesn’t when it comes to catching a recruiter’s eye.
Getting Your CV Right in 2023: A Few Tweaks Can Make a BIG Difference
In today’s job market, you need to stand out from the crowd to land your dream job.
While vacancies are currently high, competition remains fierce. While many of the staples of CV writing haven’t changed over the years, there are a few things you should do to ensure you remain competitive in the job hunt.
For instance, it’s always a good idea to reformat your outdated CV to ensure it stands the best chance of being read by a recruiter. Simple things like using an eye-catching CV header and a clean layout can go a long way towards making your application stand out.
You might also want to add new media formats, such as a video, to your CV to add an extra dimension to your application.
Finally, try having someone else look at it to make sure there are no spelling errors or other mistakes that could damage your reputation in the eyes of the recruiter.
At the BIG Jobsite, we’ve partnered with TopCV to offer free CV reviews to help jobseekers improve their applications and get ahead of the competition.
Their CV review network boasts over 1,200 members, including certified career coaches, former and current hiring managers, HR professionals, recruiters and professionals with specialised experience in over 65 industries, who all work together to ensure you get the best possible advice when it comes to improving your CV.
If you want a free, confidential, in-depth review of your CV by a trusted expert, including personalised recommendations on how to make your CV stronger, click here to get started.