Your CV FAQs
Career coach Belinda Coaten of belindacoaten.co.uk answers some of the most widely asked questions about CVs – your CV FAQs – all in one place.
Question: How should my CV look?
Answer: Make sure your CV is well laid out, is easy to read and has lots of white space.
Why? Most recruiters have a mountain of CV’s to read. This means they will skim and speed read through them incredibly quickly. Research says that on average your CV will get a mere 15 seconds attention.
If you have a CV that is full and compact it is impossible to quickly pick up the key points and the likelihood is that your CV will just be passed over. This is not because the content isn’t good, but because it just isn’t friendly on the eye. So don’t scrunch in as much information as you possibly can.
Question: Should I use bullets?
Think about using bullets on some text as again these are far easier to read than great masses of text. Remember, use a maximum of 5 bullets in a row, more than this and the eye blurs.
Question: can my CV be longer than two pages?
Keep it short and simple, 2 pages maximum.
Question: What size font should I use?
Answer: Ensure a minimum font size of 12.
Check the width of all margins, ensure lots of white space.
Question: Is there anything most people overlook?
Answer: Is your name on the second page?
Put your name on the second page, as your CV will either be scanned, stored, or photo copied. You don’t want your second page to get lost or misfiled.
Question: What should I put in my CV?
Answer: All the things that you have done that are relevant to the job you are applying for.
Top Tips For CV Content:
- Take some time to think about what would be useful to include, this is especially true if you have a long career history. Resist the temptation to put absolutely everything in
- Say exactly who you are in your profile statement. Are you an Accountant, PA or Project Manager?
- Be specific not bland, for example:
Bland is – I am creative. Specific is – I spotted an opportunity to creatively redesign our internal processes, this has reduced time by 3 days.
Bland is – I am a team player. Specific is – enjoy sharing my knowledge with the team of 5 people I work alongside.
Question:Should it be Different for LinkedIn?
Answer: a little…
If you use LinkedIn, include your address/profile information at the top of the CV alongside your contact information.
Start each sentence with some power words, the most powerful are skills based. For example, communicated, designed, and delivered.
A recruiter is not interested in what your job responsibilities are or were. They want to hear about what you achieved, what you delivered in your role, and how you did your job.
Include some information about your interests – lots of CV’s avoid any hint of personality. An employer wants to know as much as about how you work as what you do. The interests section is a great way to say a little bit more about you as a person and enable you to stand out. Again, be as specific as you can. Instead of putting reading as your hobby, tell the recruiter the type of books you enjoy… thrillers, biography?
Question: how long should it take to Create?
Answer: A few days
Commit to putting two hours aside in your day to produce a first draft of your CV, or an updated version of the one you currently have. Have a timeline of exactly two hours and finish it then, even if you feel there is far more that could be done.
Put the CV aside for at least 48 hours. Then take it out again with fresh eyes and spend a further 30 minutes proofing and critiquing it. Again, be strict with the time allocated. Think of someone you know well, whose opinion you trust, ask them to take a look at your CV and listen to what they say about it.
Coaten is a qualified accredited Coach. Belinda supports people who are feeling wobbly about their future at work. She helps build their confidence, helping them gain clarity on what the next steps might be, identifies their unique strengths, enables the review of possible options and how to successfully deal with change. Over the past 10 years she has worked with several thousand people who have been made redundant.
Belinda helps candidates create a CV and LinkedIn profile that attracts recruiters, understand how to best tackle the job market, and enables people to answer any interview questions they may get asked.
You can find her at www.belindacoaten.co.uk
If you’re not quite ready to get your CV together, take a look at The Career Pause and Pivot, to help you think about your next steps. Alternatively, you can book one to one career coaching here, or join us to benefit from six career coaching sessions, redundancy clinics and PEP sessions.