CV best practices 2022
Seen the perfect job? Ready to apply? Most of the time, a well-polished CV is your only way to get your foot in the door. So, it’s really important it hits the mark.
But CVs are not the easiest things to write, and they need to evolve in line with your career. What’s optimal for your CV today is not the same as when you first started out or indeed, what it will look like in 10 years’ time.
There are, however, a few staple best practices that are good to have to hand so that when the time comes to apply for that dream job, you’re good to go.
To help you make sure your CV stands out in all the right ways, we’ve put together a list of top tips from our Recruitment Experts here at itContracting.
How to structure your CV
Firstly, it’s good to get the structure of your CV right. We look through hundreds of CVs every day and maintaining a standard format certainly helps us get a good overview of your skills experience nice and quickly.
The general order should go:
- Name and contact information – include a link to your LinkedIn profile here as well as a link to your online portfolio/website.
- Profile (objective or summary)
- Work experience
The optimal length is two pages and certainly no more than three pages and your work experience should cover the last 10-15 years – no more.
Make sure your headings are clear and keep the Applicant Tracking System in mind for keywords/categorisation. This means sticking to the standard headings such as ‘Work experience’ and ‘Education’ for example.
Top tips to structure your CV
CVs should be easy to read and easy to scan. So, big chunks of text will make it more difficult for the person reviewing your CV to get an idea as to your strengths and specific skillset. Keep your bullets concise and succinct.
As above, remember to use keywords to make sure your CV gets chosen for the right jobs. A good tip for this, is to check what phrases are in the job description for the role you are going for and match them up as much as possible in your skills and experience.
Don’t try to be too clever with the design
As much as you want to stand out, using unusual fonts and layouts might have a negative impact on your chances of getting picked out the pile. Not only can they be difficult to read but the Applicant Tracking Systems may also struggle with complex formats. Stick to a clear font, such as Calibri and keep to a standard heading, bullet, paragraph style format. You can then save your CV as a PDF or Word document.
Explain any career gaps
It’s really important you briefly explain any career gaps on your CV. As Recruitment Specialists, we pay attention to timelines and a sudden long gap will leave us guessing. It’s much better to add a short explanation to settle any concerns.
Make sure you update your LinkedIn profile
Yes – we always check your LinkedIn profile! So, make sure this is up to date with a professional photo, up to date experience and skills, as well as a well-written profile summary. You can also get your colleagues to leave a reference on your page for added credibility. We discuss this in more detail in our blog about how to improve your LinkedIn profile here.
Tailor your CV to the job you are applying for
This is really in preparation for the ‘why do you want this job’ question. Why is it that you want this job? Is this where you’re headed? Does it make career sense? If you’re confident that this is the job for you, then make these points clear in your CV. You can add in your profile where you want to take your career (i.e. this job!), where you see yourself (again, this job!), the attributes that make you perfect for this role and so on.
Demonstrate a range of skills
Particularly when working in IT, it can be common for candidates to list their qualifications and skills without highlighting their soft skills. Make sure to include any extra qualities you bring to a role that make you a cut above the rest. Are you a good communicator, how are your presentation skills, are you good at selling? All of these will add to your profile and give the recruiter a good idea as to whether you would be a good fit or not.
Unless you’re new to the world of work, you don’t necessarily need a hobbies section but if you want to include some relevant information about what you do in your spare time – particularly if it contributes to your professional profile – then you can add a couple of lines but no more.
Proofread, proofread and proofread again!
We know having perfect grammar might not be essential for your role – but care and attention to detail are extremely important. They show what type of character you are and whether you can be trusted to get something right first time. Having typos and spelling errors on your CV – the one place where they shouldn’t be! – is one of the quickest ways to get put on the ‘no’ pile. Proofread, check and double check!
Get in touch
Looking over your CV? We’d love to help! Just get in touch with our recruitment experts to discuss our latest roles and find out what we can do for you.