We all understand the importance of making a good first impression, but when job-hunting your first opportunity comes before the interview.

Every job vacancy advertised will receive multiple applications and having a great CV helps you stand out from the crowd.

Here are some tips to ensure your CV gives you an advantage from the start:

  1. Make it easy to read

Traditionally, CVs follow a standard format showing personal details, education history, experience and additional skills and achievements which may be relevant to the position you’re applying for and give you an edge over the competition.

Your potential employer will thank you for keeping it short and to the point. Aim for two pages in length, in a font and size that’s easy to read and ensure you proofread the finished document.

  1. Make it personal

Directly under your personal details, summarise your key skills and achievements which are relevant for the position you’re applying for and give an overview of who you are and what you can offer the company.

This personal statement should be reworked for every position you apply for to ensure you’re tailoring the content to make it relatable to the specific job vacancy.

  1. Make the language work for you

Keep the tone of your writing confident and use positive language. Your CV is essentially a sales pitch so use language which sells your abilities and achievements to your potential employer. Think about how your experience can benefit the company and highlight what makes you the best person for the role.

  1. Make the most of your experience and achievements

For each of your previous positions, give the dates you worked there, the role and company and bullet point your responsibilities and achievements.

While highlighting experience in similar responsibilities is useful, it is more effective to document what you achieved in that role using numbers where possible, such as ‘expanding the customer base by 25% in the first year’, ‘increasing sales by 20% in your first quarter’, ‘successfully achieving funding in excess of £100k’.

  1. Leave it out

In some countries, a headshot is included in the CV but unless how you look is a key feature in the role then don’t include it.

Giving your age or date of birth was once commonplace on a CV, as was including marital status and number of dependants, however as none of these details are relevant to your ability to do the job leave them off your CV. It’s worth noting that it is illegal for a potential employer to ask for this information under the Equality Act 2010.

Getting your CV in good shape increases your chances of being called for an interview, so follow these tips to make sure your making the most of your skill set and secure that new role today.