Critique your own CV
Students and graduates from the university of Brighton, you are always welcome to contact the Careers Service for a review of your CV. However there is a lot you can do yourself to judge if it will meet the standard required and to avoid getting filed into the round filing cabinet also known as ‘The Bin’.
Please note this blog post is aimed at those who have written a CV and now want to review it. If you are starting off in the CV writing process then the careers website offers help with this.
Remember, employers often claim they look at CVs for about six seconds initially… if they like it they will read on …but if not it can end up in the bin. So you need to ensure the key details can be seen and quickly.
Here are some tips and a checklist for a critical review.
Where is the CV going and what is it’s purpose?
Always keep the reader in mind, where and who it is going to and what do they need to know?
Ideally the CV should be no more than 2 pages
If you try to fit it all into 1 page you could end up with slick ‘quick to read’ version but it will lack the detail that a 2 page CV could offer.
Images and photographs
Images carefully thought through and used well can enhance a CV but always question if any visual images enhance this particular CV?
Photographs of yourself are not really the norm in the UK at present.
Are they set out well and is the email address professional? Can they get hold of you easily using the details given?
Check the CV for any clichéd over-used phrases which could be off putting.
Have you made a connection between the company, for example what it offers or produces and your skills?
Your degree is a key selling point especially when first graduating so make sure you add the detail.Have you given a good clear description which isn’t too lengthy? So say 4- 5 lines.
Have you mentioned any projects you have chosen yourself or worked on as a group? These count as USPs ( Unique Selling Points) and can make you stand out from the crowd.
Have you looked at the skills being asked for in the job description?
Always use these as a starting point as the employer wants to see you have them. So provide good clear and concise evidence of these. If you have space then add more. However they may be scanning the CV for the keywords they have stated or they will have a grid that they will match your skills against.
Have you listed your work experience in an easy to follow format?
You can list your work experience and categorise it under paid and voluntary or you can group similar areas together. If you have a good skills section with evidence you may not need to add much, if any, extra details other than job title, employer, location and dates.
A good tip is to make these specific and if you say you like reading give examples of what you read. If you have gained skills through for example sport, music or drama you can discuss these in more depth in the skills section.
One should be a course tutor from the university and the other an employer. Have you told your referees what you are applying for?
Now a final review
Look over the layout- is it easy to follow?
How does it read, does it make sense, have you avoided repetition?
ALWAYS check your spelling and grammar at least 3 times and ask someone you can rely on to also check it for you.
ALWAYS change your CV for every job, even if lack of time means just changing the profile and perhaps which modules you emphasise and what is relevant. General CVs can appear to lack direction and can be off putting to employers.