The 7 essential CV upgrades

This article gives you 7 practical steps you can apply in 45 minutes or less to upgrade your current CV.

Here at Momenta, we’ve been placing candidates into roles for over 20 years. We know the CV characteristics that consistently win invitations to interview. This advice has been proven in application after application. Our experience is to use these 7 upgrades as a checklist. Work through your CV and apply them. There are no other steps that you could apply more quickly to deliver a greater improvement on the effectiveness and success rate of your CV.

Essential CV upgrade 1: The first impression – add a headline and profile 

The problem:

  • If you title with “Curriculum Vitae” you waste space and fail to differentiate from everyone else.

What you can do: 

  • Title your CV with your name. There is no need to put ‘Curriculum Vitae’. Use that space to clearly communicate your mobile number and email address.
  • Add a headline. You never saw a newspaper without a headline. Headlines grab attention and show instant fit with the reader’s objectives. (Hint: Headline with the job title you’re doing now or similar to the role you are applying to. It maximizes relevance.)
  • Add a short profile. Good profiles position you for the job; highlight the best of your relevantexperience; showcase appropriate geographic or sector expertise; are concise and truthful;  dare to be different and stand out and combine facts and emotion. 

Essential CV upgrade 2: Target the specific role

The problem:

  • There should be no such thing as a “General CV” (That’s one that doesn’t work with everyone!)

What you can co: Tailor your words to the role:

  •  Part 1: Research: Check the job description; check the job advert; Check our website / company materials; ‘Harvest’ our keywords and requirements.
  •  Part 2: Tell your story: Be a good marketer – write for us not you. Always tailor the way you tell your story. Be a maniac for the truth. Never fabricate!

Essential CV upgrade 3: Add an expertise or skills section

Expertise or skills equal benefits for the potential employer. Marketers know that customers buy benefits not features. So rather than listing everything you’ve done – the features of your experience – instead focus on highlighting the benefits you can bring by showing your skills.

The problem:

  • Your CV doesn’t make clear what you can offer!
  • Your CV hides brilliant benefits behind dull detail?

What you can do:

  • Research what skills the job requires
  • List 10-15 of your skills
  • Prioritise 4-6 which best fit the job requirements – Support each skill with credible evidence.
  • If you are a recent graduate call them “Key Skills”. If you’re years into your career you have developed “Expertise” so don’t be shy, label this section “Areas of expertise”.

Essential CV upgrade 4: The brutal edit

The problem:

  • During your working life, you accumulate too much detail for your CV.
  • Your CV gets only 9-15 seconds to make a first impression. 

What you can do:

  • Create a “Full CV” and a “Tailored CV”
  • Your “Full CV” accumulates and lists all detail. It helps you remember the stories and prepare for interview. But it’s just for your records.
  • Create a cut-down, “Tailored CV”. This is brutally edited to fit this application. Keep it under 2 pages.
  • Smile at the memory and hit delete!

Essential CV upgrade 5: Add interest & WOW! 

The problem:

  • Your CV is too dull and boring to keep the attention of screening recruiters like us.
  • Quality is lost or hidden too deep. 

What you can do:

  • WOW Tip 1: Say it with numbers (e.g. Results / Increases / Reductions / %’s)
  • WOW Tip 2: Say it with concise detail (e.g. Add facts. Cut extra unnecessary words)
  • WOW Tip 3: Say it with verbs (e.g. Led, Negotiated, Pioneered, Delivered… etc.)

Essential CV upgrade 6: Reveal your best bits! 

The problem:

  • You feel immodest or as if you are bragging.
  • But if you fail to reveal all you can miss out to a more communicative rival 

What you can do:

  • Scan down your CV and list the 7-10 elements which give you most pride.
  • Ask what else you’ve done which isn’t on your CV?
  • Now check these are in your profile, or
  • Add them as bullets underneath your profile, or
  • Use them to create a new page 1 section titled ‘Highlights & Achievements’.

Essential CV Upgrade 7: The NEVER NEVERS 

The problem:

  • You want to stand out from the crowd.
  • You put your imagination to work to ‘jazz up’ your CV.
  • Unfortunately, your idea of creative and our idea of easy to read are very different.

What you can do:

  • Don’t get too creative. Remove boarders and shading.
  • Ditch the crazy font.
  • Cut out the logos. Anyone can copy/paste a logo these days. It doesn’t say artist. It says clutter.
  • Forget lovely colours. Stick to black text.
  • Remove your photo.
  • Eliminate acronyms / industry jargon. They confuse your reader.
  • Avoid filling every gap on the page with text. Value white space in your CV layout.
  • Never send as a .doc Word file. Use a .pdf file so the CV arrives looking the way you would want it to.
  • Never be tempted to lie. Ever. Don’t even embellish. Find a true story to tell. We’ll always find out during the vetting and checking procedures we carry out later on.

So put our CV tips into practice now and make sure we have got your updated version by clicking here.

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