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10th Jul 2018

Three ways to instantly improve your CV (and the mistakes you’re making)

Anna Daly


Are you just out of college, unemployed, and finding yourself unable to even get an interview, let alone a job?

Well, don’t worry, you’re not alone.

Graduate employment has been getting better over the last few years but there are still a lot of people who are struggling to get that all-important interview.

The problem is probably your CV. For whatever reason, those few pieces of paper – or piece of paper – that you slaved over for hours are failing to pop out at any potential employers.

So we’re going to tell you some of the top mistakes people make when writing a CV.

First of all, make sure you specifically tailor your CV for each job. Don’t go writing up one CV and sending it out to hundreds of places.

Employers want to know why you’re right for them. Why do you want this job more than another one? And why do you fit their position more than the other generic CV-writers they see every day?

As time-consuming as this might seem, it’s completely crucial. You might be applying for loads of jobs but don’t forget that your potential employers are most likely going through ten times more CVs, and they know what they’re looking for.

In fact, some companies use a scanning software to sort through CVs. So take note of exactly what the job is looking for and make sure to include those points.

These types of software will be looking for certain words so pick out the most relevant keywords in the job description and throw them on in!

Secondly, stop being humble!

This is your time to brag.

You know that little project that you worked on last summer that you’re pleased with but you don’t think is relevant to this job? Put it in. It IS relevant.

We’re not telling you to talk about every time you walked your neighbour’s dog for them, but if you put together a little dog walking business and ended up making a profit, sure, go ahead!

Employers are looking for people with go-get-‘em attitudes who are spending their time doing stuff that is worthwhile.

They want someone who they know will be putting in the effort. If you can show that you put time and work into your projects, that will stand out.

Even if those projects might not seem like they fit the job, make them fit! What did you want to achieve from them? What did you learn? What skills did you utilise? Everything can be relevant.

Lastly, don’t just tell them what you did – tell them how it worked out.

Write about project results and achievements. Employers are looking for the people who make the effort but, even more than that, they are looking for the people who get the stuff done and who get it done well.

Giving a potential employer a sense of what you can achieve and have achieved will let them know how beneficial you could be to them.

Show them you’re someone who’s going to give back. You’re not just someone who’s there to fill the days; you’re there to make their company better and possibly make their life easier.

If you can follow all of these tips while keeping your CV short and sweet then you’ll be getting interviews in no time.

And here’s a bonus tip – make sure there are no spelling and grammar mistakes. If you don’t trust yourself to pick them out – or even if you do but just want to be safe – get someone else to check for them.

Everyone makes mistakes but bad spelling or grammar makes a CV look sloppy and you end up looking bad. Giving it to someone for a quick run through fixes the problem and you’ll feel much better about sending it out.

Once you get your interview, it’s all up to you to blow them away with your charm and poise (just don’t be late, a pet peeve of many employers).