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10 tips to make your CV attractive in a tough and competitive market

How to make your CV attractive in a tough and competitive market

The IT labour market is getting fiercely competitive and in order to stand out from the crowd of applicants you need to ensure your CV appears attractive to hiring managers. To help you establish how to make your CV more attractive, here are ten useful tips:

1. Tailor your CV
Your CV should be different for every job you apply for, as key skills that are related to any particular role need to be clearly highlighted. Tailoring your CV may include shifting important information around on the page to ensure that the main points are easily found.

2. Length
Ideally a CV should be no longer than two sides of A4 in length. It’s important to ensure that it’s kept as succinct and relevant as possible to give yourself the best opportunity of getting your CV viewed and read by potential employers.

3. Font size, colour & type
For readability purposes, always use the same font size throughout your CV – for instance 12 points. However, for headings and sub-headings you can increase this size to 14 points. Also avoid using too much colour in your CV as this can come across unprofessional and informal – which is exactly how you don’t want to come across in the IT field. While you should steer clear for ultra-curly styles of font and the text should remain in Times New Roman, Arial or Calibri, you can make use of bold, underline and italics to create effect.

4. Headings
Be sure to arrange your headings in order of importance, with key information and areas of expertise listed at the top of your CV. Headings are extremely important as they give your CV a good structure and help navigate and direct readers through it, so don’t forget them!
Suggested headings for sections include career summary, areas of expertise /responsibilities and key skills.

5. Personal statement
Alongside showcasing your experience and skills, the personal statement also reveals a lot about the mind-set of an individual. It is here that you can show your ambition, especially if you are driven to want to climb the job market as quickly as possible. 

6. It’s all about the white space
It’s important to ensure that there is enough white space surrounding your paragraphs and bullet points so that the text doesn’t appear cramped and hard to read – the more white space there is, the more pleasing to the eye it will be. 

7. Images/ pictures
Don’t insert any photographs or logos into your CV as they take up valuable space and serve little to no purpose.

8. Use keywords 
If a job description requests specific skills or abilities, make sure that they appear on your CV at least once, preferably in prominent positions on the page. View your CV as a checklist for the skills that the employer wants and don’t stop until you have as many of the boxes ticked as possible.

9. Never forget to proof read
Proof reading is essential as it’s vital that your CV doesn’t appear with any grammatical or spelling errors – this appears unprofessional and will make your hard work look a failure. Given that many decision makers spend as little as 60 seconds looking at a CV, any mistakes could see it end up in the bin almost immediately.

10. Review and update your CV regularly 
In all likelihood you’ll constantly be developing new skills and learning new things, so it’s important that your CV reflects this. Taking a moment every month or two to update your CV means you should be ready to apply straight away for any opportunities that present themselves.

Read our related blog: Top tips to make your social media attractive to employers
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