CVs have changed drastically over the years, but sometimes we can get stuck in our ways and like things to be done the way we like. However, CVs are there for the employer to read, not for us. CVs are a part of job seeking that is constantly evolving and with employers taking less and less time to look at them, we want to be able to provide a CV that gets straight to the point. Now, more than ever, it’s important to grab the attention of the reader and get your point across simply and effectively. After all, what is the point in spending so much time on a document, if the employer doesn’t give it the attention it deserves?
This article is all about how CVs have changed, what employers expect to see on your CV now and how you can make it as good as possible, to ensure your success.
Length of your CV
When I was first applying for university and jobs, it was important to try and pack in as much information as possible to show the employer you have experience. This meant that CVs were a bit longer and may have had some potentially unnecessary details included. Employers now look for a more concise document, with information relevant to the job you are applying for. There is no need for old jobs or even hobbies that have nothing to do with the job in question.
It can be good practice to write all of your thoughts down at once. Make a note of all of your experience, your hobbies and learning opportunities in one document. But when editing and refining, think about the jobs that may have little to no relevance and skills you might not need in this particular role. Try to be smart and selective about what you share. You wouldn’t apply for an electrical engineering role and include details of your first retail job. (Unless you think it’s really relevant) Keep it as concise as possible and draw the reader's attention to the points that are going to get you an interview.
Over time, you will gain more experience and learn new skills, so don’t feel like you have to limit yourself to just one page. If you have information you want to share, don’t feel limited. Just make sure it is concise and you don’t send in an essay style document. You will have time to discuss points on your CV further in interviews.
Your personal statement
Your personal statement is your chance to talk a little bit about you, your experience and explain in succinct detail, why you want the job you are applying for. Personal statements are not very long and you don’t get a large amount of words to play with, especially when you’re trying to persuade the reader for an interview.
Thanks to filtering technology a lot of employers now use, your CV can be filtered out of successful candidates before a person has even had the chance to read it. Your personal statement is usually at the top of your CV, so you want to make it as relevant as possible. Don’t give AI technology a reason to reject your CV. A good way to succeed is to include keywords in your personal statement. Read through the job spec thoroughly and see exactly what it is they are looking for. Pick out keywords and skills that they want from a candidate and filter these into your personal statement and throughout the rest of your CV.
It is still a place for you to discuss yourself and your skills but we now have to think of it in a bit more depth.
It used to be common practice to include your name, photo and contact details at the top of your CV. So why wouldn’t you do it now? To put it simply, what does your age and gender have to do with your ability to do a job? Anti-Discrimination laws means we don’t have to provide any information we don’t think is important to our jobs.
You should still include your name, location and contact number or email address, but other personal information should no longer be asked for. It just gives people a little bit of extra security when job seeking. Information that focuses on what you are capable of, rather than your gender, age and how you look, can help you find employers that allow you to bring your full-self to work and help stop discrimination in the workplace.
However, if relevant to you as a person, it can be good practice to include your pronouns on your CV, if that’s something you’re comfortable with. It can help stop misgendering and hopefully, help you feel more comfortable in interviews and at work without having to explain yourself. Keep it plain and simple from that start. But if you want to keep this information to yourself, you have every right to.
The template you choose for your CV can be very important. As mentioned above, some employers may use a system to scan CVs and documents before looking at them. This saves them time and allows them to only read CVs from candidates that are likely to be a match. When the system reads your CV, you want it to be easy to understand.
When creating your CV, you may want to steer clear of graphs and tables and take a more simple approach. Keep to a list format, make sure there are dates on each of the jobs you list in your CV and keep it easy to read. This means simple sentences and bullet points where appropriate.
It might also be a good idea to use clear and easy to read fonts. Stick to one font throughout the document and just bold pieces of information that you think might need a bit more attention. Overall, keep it easy to read, easy to navigate (chronological order) and it is more likely to end up with the employer reading your CV. You can read more about how to get your CV passed through the filters on our careers and advice page.
Overall, the main point in a CV has stayed the same. But the way employers and companies obtain this information has changed. You want to make sure that you have an actual person holding and reading your CV. So, it’s best to always give them what they have asked for. Keep it to the point, take photos off and make sure you are leaving some room for conversation in your interview. CVs are something that will keep evolving overtime, so when you decide to start job seeking again, take some time to look it over. Look up new CV trends, head to LinkedIn to see what other professionals are doing and make sure everything is up to date and matches the employer's job spec. Try and do this and your chances of success, can be far greater.