Employers will often review your CV before even considering you for a job, so it pays to make it more impressive. A more robust, more professional CV can maximize your chances of getting the job you’ve always wanted – and open up the door to opportunities you might not have previously considered.
A solid career path will cause your CV to improve naturally, almost by itself. You’ll spend more time in your chosen field, celebrate new accomplishments, and steadily work your way up the corporate ladder, earning bigger, more respect-worthy titles.
But if you don’t feel like waiting years for your CV to improve on its own, what steps can you take to improve it?
How to Improve Your CV
You can’t add years of experience or education to your CV overnight. But there are some tips and tricks that can put you in a better position:
1. Earn more titles and designations. First, do what you can to earn more titles and designations. Being able to show off your title as a CFA can instantly make you seem like a more qualified candidate. While some certifications and titles take years of study to attain, some can be earned in the span of a weekend. Search around to see what you can reasonably acquire and add to your CV.
2. List specific accomplishments. Some people write their CV to explain their responsibilities. While this can be beneficial, it’s nowhere near as impressive as using your CV to show off specific accomplishments. Instead of saying that you were “in charge of marketing,” explain that you “increased marketing ROI by 26 percent.” Be as specific as possible, including quantifiable metrics when you can, to make an even better impact.
3. Mention strong secondary skills. Don’t be afraid to list any secondary skills you might have, even if they don’t seem specifically relevant to the position at first. For example, you might explain that you can speak another language or that you’re familiar with a specific project management platform.
4. Provide at least two pages. There’s a case to be made for writing a concise CV, but you don’t want it to be too short either. Try to develop titles, experiences, skills, education, and knowledge that can fill two pages.
5. Volunteer. Volunteer for local organizations. Depending on the type of work you’re doing and your role in the organization, this can make for great fodder for your CV. Spending more time in the organization can lead you to more prominent positions within it.
6. Clean up the clichés. You’ve likely seen dozens of examples of CVs by now, but don’t try to replicate them too closely. If your CV looks like all the others and is packed with clichés, it’s probably going to get ignored or thrown away. Stand out by using your own words and showing off your personality.
7. Include keywords. Pepper your CV with a variety of keywords and phrases relevant to the job you’re trying to attain. Some companies use automated filters to highlight CVs that mention certain words; this is your only realistic way to get past that filter.
8. Tweak your CV for the role you’re seeking. Finally, don’t make the mistake of writing one CV and submitting it to every job to which you apply. Instead, start with a CV template and tweak it to fit each job specifically. This will make it much easier to stand out with relevant, tailored experience.
Toward a Brighter Career Path
If you’re interested in improving your career trajectory further, there are a number of steps you can take, including:
- Taking on new responsibilities. If you’re currently employed, consider taking on new responsibilities in your current role. This can help you expand your skillset and position you for a potential promotion. Learn from the people around you and strive to achieve more.
- Pushing for a promotion. Ask your boss about potential promotion opportunities. Rising up the corporate ladder and getting a more impressive title can easily make your resume stand out more.
- Going back to school. If you’re thinking about changing career direction, or if you’re in need of new knowledge and skills, it may be in your best interest to go back to school.
- Professional networking. Professional networking can help you in a number of ways. It can introduce you to people who can teach you new skills and mentor you, give you access to new resources, and potentially introduce you to new job opportunities – including some that can help you bypass the traditional application process.
Mastering your CV is the first step toward a great new job – and one that gets you closer to achieving your long-term career goals. Take the time to master it.