3 quick updates to your CV that could make a huge difference


Don’t have the time for a big CV overhaul? Here are 5 quick updates you can make to your CV in under an hour.

Get rid of the clichés and buzzwords

Are you a results-driven thought leader? Do you have strong communication skills? Do you work well in a team or individually? And do you love socialising with friends? All of these statements may well be true, but putting them on your CV could be ruining your chances of getting that job.

“Some candidates cram their CV with popular buzzwords in an attempt to impress employers, but often this has the reverse effect and leaves recruiters unimpressed,” say the Guardian.

One quick way to vastly improve your CV is to replace all of these clichés with more meaningful examples of how you possess these qualities.

Totaljobs provide a great example of how to do this. Here’s how they would demonstrate great communication skills without resorting to clichés and buzzwords:

Do say: “Completed a complex project by communicating with all levels of the business and external partners.”

Don’t say: “A great communicator who loves meeting new people.”

Choose a clean, modern layout

If your CV is full of lengthy paragraphs that you’ve struggled to fit onto the page, it’s time for a redesign.

“A good [CV] design is eye catching, without being an eyesore. This template is simple and clean, with a sleek aesthetic that sets it apart from every other resume out there,” say time.com.

Here are some quick and easy ways to achieve this:

Avoid over-using italics, bold and all-caps and choose a font that is easy to read online, such as Helvetica, Open Sans or Roboto.
Use the top part of your CV as prime real estate to highlight the most impressive and relevant things about you, your skills and your experience.
Change the title of the CV to match the job description
Keep the length of your CV to 1-2 pages
Use columns to maximise on space where possible
Keep it simple! Use lots of white space to make your CV look clean and easy to read

Make it searchable by robots

“Normally, over 75% of candidates are taken out of consideration before a human ever sees their resume… So you have to strategise your resume based on a piece of technology,” explain time.com.

Companies and recruiters receive enormous volumes of applications, so they use bots to search for the ones that best fit the job description.

Here are two easy updates you can make to your CV to ensure it gets seen by human eyes:

Use the right job titles. Even if you don’t have experience in that particular job role, make sure you reference it somewhere in your CV to make sure it will come up when searched for. For example, you could express your interest in that particular role, and follow this up with evidence to prove you’ve got the necessary experience and skills from your previous roles.
Use the same keywords as the recruiter. It’s essential that your CV mirrors the language used in the job description. Our suggestion is to highlight any keywords and phrases and make sure you incorporate them into your CV.

Read more CV tips on the alumni blog