Taking a few hours to really clean it up, or even start from scratch is invaluable if you’re on the job hunt. But we all know it can be tricky to find the time.
If you’re just looking for a quick tune up, here’s 20 quick CV fixes you can do in less than 20 minutes:
1. Switch your font to Georgia, Arial, or Calibri. There’s a reason these fonts are so common – they’re readable!
2. But don’t use Times New Roman. It lacks certain typographical subtleties, actually making it harder to read at a glance.
3. Need more space? Reduce your top and bottom margins to 0.5″ and your side margins to no less than 0.75″.
4. Clearly signpost key headers like education and experience by increasing font size and making them bold. This makes it easier for recruiters to skim to the relevant section.
5. Add divider lines between relevant sections. See above.
6. Remove your address. Studies show even innocuous details like where you’re from may affect your chances.
7. Remove your DOB. See above!
8. In their place, hyperlink to your shiny, wonderfully-kept LinkedIn profile.
9. Increase your line spacing to two points above the size of your font (so if your font is 12 point, switch it to 14).
10. Find any acronyms and make sure you type out the whole thing first. E.g. Certified Public Accountant (CPA). This will help any parsing software pick up your key terms.
11. Get rid of any photos or visual elements unless you’ve been asked to provide one. They can be distracting.
12. If you have a gap of a few months in your employment history, swap out the start and end dates with years.
13. Make sure you don’t have any more than six bullet points of information for your position. It doesn’t matter how good you think they are, they won’t get read.
14. Move the experience section above education if it isn’t already. Your degree isn’t the most important thing about you anymore!
15. Get rid of “references available upon request” if you haven’t already. It’s stating the obvious and taking up space.
16. Double check formatting is consistent. You’ll want all headers to be in the same style, all bullet points to match and all indentations to line up.
17. Spell check!
18. Read it aloud. It’s the best way of identifying any awkward or strange-sounding phrases.
19. Save the file as PDF. That way the formatting won’t be mixed up if, for example, you type it up on Word but it gets opened in Libre Office.
20. Change the file name to put your name at the front. It stands out and can be searched for more easily.
Got more than 20 minutes to spare? Click here for a full guide to CV formatting and templates.