CV Tips Part 2 – Appearance and Readability

Search online for tips on how to write a CV or improve a CV and there will be countless results, however, whilst useful, they’re usually quite generic. As a financial and accountancy focused recruitment agency, we would like to impart some of our knowledge to help you improve your CV.

Whilst formatting CVs at Mitchell Adam I’ve noticed some common issues crop up or lack of information that some job seekers have avoided including on their CV or felt unnecessary. No matter what level job you’re applying for, you can always take steps towards an improved, clearer and informative CV.

Profile
A profile is the first part of a CV that potential employers will CV, though I’ve seen CVs that are missing them. You could discuss your strengths and career/qualification goals or bullet point your key skills, qualities or achievements.

However, avoid listing a series of generic statements about yourself. Use this area to explain what makes you a suitable candidate and alter it as needed for each role you apply for.

Keep qualifications relevant
You may have been lucky enough to be employed by a company that invested in you by providing job or sector specific training. However, if you’re moving from a Sales Assistant role to a finance focused role within a manufacturing business, then your NVQ in retail will be of little use. Make sure to include GCSEs or equivalents and any qualifications from college or university, but try to keep it short and relevant.

When, where, what?
• When did you work there?
• Which company did you work for?
• What was your job role/s?

Believe it or not, I’ve seen CVs that consistently miss out one set of these important bits of information.

Include a month and year for each role, and if you were promoted, avoid listing only the dates you worked for a business and listing the roles and corresponding responsibilities. It’s useful for an employer to see how long you were in a role before gaining a promotion or secondment.

Career progression and achievements
Don’t just stick with the basics, tell us how you’ve progressed throughout your career. What responsibilities/duties have you taken on and what achievements did you make? By achievements we mean promotions or added responsibilities such as making a new record within a business. Did any clients commend you formally? Perhaps you won an employee award or improved any business values/figures.

Some other things to consider:
• Don’t capitalise Every Word to Make a Point – write sentences, only capitalising the first letter of the first word and any names, job titles or places
• Use tabs to line information up rather than pressing the space bar – resulting in tidier looking data
• Listing many skills, qualities or system experience? Group them up in a table with bullet points with an invisible border
• Avoid over-formatting – bold and italics make details appear concise, whereas an array of fonts, sizing and text colours make the appearance untidy.

If you’re going through an agency such as Mitchell Adam your CV will be formatted to fit a particular structure. However, improving your CV and adding more relevant text such as skills, a personal profile or achievements could help increase response rates.

Please contact either of our offices if you’d like advice on how to improve your CV.

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