How to improve your CV

Getting a CV right is an essential part of securing the job you want, but there are many mistakes people often make
by Tom Hagues


The first, and perhaps most important, step to securing your dream job is getting your CV right. Here are five ways to make sure it grabs the attention of potential employers.
Make it stand outJobs in financial services are highly sought after, and for every role advertised, there will be many applicants. Recruiters will be sifting through hundreds, sometimes thousands, of CVs, so to ensure yours will be noticed, make it easy for recruiters to see the key, headline-grabbing information that you want them to.
Tailor it to the job you’re applying forEvery job is different and employers are looking for people to fulfil specific roles. Show that you’ve done your research by tailoring your CV to the job specification. Perhaps include a brief introductory paragraph that outlines what you are looking for in a job and why you would be ideally suited to this particular one. No employer wants to feel like a candidate has just sent the same CV to hundreds of other jobs without bothering to update it.
Keep it succinctThe older and more experienced you are, the more there is to add to your CV. However, while it may be tempting to list everything you have ever achieved, make sure you keep your CV to a two-page maximum to ensure a recruiter isn’t overwhelmed by text. Therefore, it’s crucial to keep things to the point, with all the attention-grabbing information you want recruiters to read as near to the top as possible.

Remember, the CV is merely designed to get your foot in the door. The job interview that might come is your opportunity to talk at length about your achievements and let your personality shine.
Make sure it’s relevantAlthough it’s tempting to list all your achievements at school and your interests, make sure you put the relevant information to the actual job you’re applying for at the top of the page. List professional development qualifications, relevant prizes, and the skills that you have acquired that will prove useful if you get the role. Once this is covered, and if you have enough space (remember – no more than two pages maximum), feel free to express some of your interesting hobbies. This can give an insight into your personality. For example, if you volunteer for a charity in your spare time, it can suggest that you are selfless, giving and hardworking.
ProofreadSpelling mistakes are a sure-fire way of showing potential employers that you don’t pay attention to detail – a crucial component to a successful career in financial services. Typos and poor grammar will show you rushed writing your CV, suggesting you might take the same approach to tasks at work. If you can’t be bothered to ensure such an important document is perfect, why would an employer trust you to take care with your work?

Max Fraser, consultant at global executive search firm for financial services, agrees. He says: "People in financial services have an untiring attention to detail and are very disciplined, so make sure your CV is punctuated by clear aesthetics, is grammatically correct, is consistent in its layout and does not say anything it doesn’t need to say when detailing your experience. Do feel free to animate yourself in an ‘interests’ section but keep the focus on what you’ve achieved first.”

It is advisable to ask someone else to cast an eye over your CV before you send it out. Having written it yourself, you might miss the odd mistake through familiarity. And they may have some suggestions on how to make it even better.

Then proof it again for good measure.

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Published: 04 May 2018
  • Career Development
  • The Review
  • professional development
  • advice
  • tips

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