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4 tips to spring clean your CV

11 Apr 2018

Recruiters want to see tailored, polished CVs. Here's how to streamline yours.

Whichever industry you work in, the current economic climate means it’s a great time to be considering your options. The UK is currently experiencing somewhat of a recruitment boom, with vacancies and national employment rates both hitting record highs last year, so if you’re considering making the leap to a new job, or applying for another position within your firm, there should be nothing stopping you from starting your job hunt. 

However, to do so you need to be prepared. Your CV is perhaps the most important thing about your initial application: even before your interview, the way you present yourself in these sheets of paper is what will convince a Recruiter or an employer whether you’re the perfect candidate for the role. And with Recruiters taking an average of six seconds to scan your CV before making their decision, you need to ensure that it looks pristine if you want to stand out from your competitors.

Whether you work in Financial Services, General Insurance or for a Legal firm, it’s time to spring clean your CV. Here are some tips for ensuring yours looks perfect.

Declutter your content

Whenever you add to your CV, it can be tempting just to slot your new information in at the top of each section, without making the effort to ensure that the rest of the document is still relevant. If you’re not careful, you can end up with a huge, sprawling CV full of outdated or unnecessary information. 

Recruiters and employers want to read CVs that are short and concise, or ‘scannable’. Make it easy for them by picking and choosing the most relevant information to catch the attention of your target employer, and make sure to show only go into detail for the most recent ten to fifteen years of your career: nobody wants to know if you held a part-time role in a related area many years ago. After all, if you’re serious about a career in your chosen sector, you should have more relevant, recent experience you can draw on instead. 

Be ruthless: your CV should show off your strongest selling points, and if these are lost in a mountain of clutter that prevents employers from seeing them, then your CV is not doing its job properly. Aim for one to two pages in length; every last word should serve the purpose of showing that you are the best candidate for the specific job you are applying for, so don’t make it overlong or the reader will lose interest.

Back up your experience

It’s one of the most basic errors you can make when writing a CV: you include information about your job experience, or areas that you’ve worked in, that makes you sound good on paper, but then when it comes to the interview, you have very little to say on it. Given that one in four UK job-hunters admit to lying on CVs, this isn’t a mistake you want to make. Instead, go through your CV and make sure that you can hold an intelligent conversation on whatever you put on the page. If you can’t remember the basic argument behind any point, delete it.

Paying attention to the details is particularly important for legal roles, as interviewers will want to probe your experience to assess whether you can handle the challenges specific to the company that you’re working for. Be prepared to talk about any matters you’ve worked on- and back up that experience with concrete examples, including statistics and specific information about successful projects, or campaigns that you’ve run.

Keep it relevant and fresh

Your CV should include the right skills and experience to sell you as the ideal candidate for a role. To convince potential employers of your suitability, keep your CV updated with information, trends and skills that are relevant to your industry. You might be going to all the conferences available in your sector, but if it’s not at least mentioned in your CV, how are employers going to know how dedicated and knowledgeable you are about your field of work?

Staying up to date with developments in the industry- for instance, with leading growth areas like InsurTech - pays off in job applications. For example, given that the InsurTech sector is growing rapidly in the insurance industry, referencing your knowledge of it- perhaps from a training course, or even a conference- in your CV will show that you’re a valuable asset to have, as well as enthusiastic and proactive.

Get to grips with your formatting

Whether you’re applying for a job at a Legal firm or as a Broker, you need to ensure that your CV is correctly formatted and designed to catch and hold a recruiter’s attention. 

Though having perfect spelling and grammar is of course an important part of presenting yourself as a serious candidate, you also need to include a brief summary at the top of the page, followed by a section on your experience. The top third of your CV is what a Recruiter will scan to determine whether they will read the rest of the document, so make it easy for them: a clear, concise list of your relevant skills and qualifications is much easier to read, and much more visually appealing, than a CV cluttered with dense text and a fussy layout. Avoid graphics or symbols, and stick to one font only: not only is it consistent, but it will help you avoid technical errors too.

At IDEX, we provide candidates with the skills they need to succeed.

Whether it’s giving you the advice you need to stand out from the competition, or using our recruiters to find your dream role, we pride ourselves on our experience in recruiting for General Insurance, Financial Services and Legal roles. Browse our jobs here, or find more candidate insights here

Tagged In: CV Tips
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