If you've unexpectedly found yourself looking for a new job, or you just feel inspired to start planning for your future with the extra time you're spending at home, now is the ideal time to get your CV up-to-date.
Here are our ten tips to help you get your CV in shape, inspired by some useful insights from members of the MorePeople team:
1. Make it unique to you
Your CV should give a unique account of you as an individual, and provide an insight into why your specific characteristics would be beneficial for the employer. Don't fall into the trap of writing your CV like a job specification and rehashing the basic tasks and responsibilities of the role in question.
2. Highlight your achievements
As obvious as this might sound, it's easy to become so preoccupied with describing your general attributes that you forget to give details of specific achievements. Recruiters want a focused account of what you have achieved and the skills you used in the process, not a generic list of qualities that simply matches the job description.
3. Get the basics right
There is nothing more off-putting to a hiring manager or recruitment consultant than a CV that has basic errors, such as mistakes in spelling and grammar. Job candidates really have no excuse for making these sorts of oversights in their CVs, especially if 'attention to detail' is listed as one of your strengths. It's a surprisingly common problem, with a large percentage of CVs featuring some sort of spelling or grammatical mistake.
4. Know your audience
It's vital to think about who will be reading your CV and what they will be looking for, and to tailor it accordingly. Most businesses will have common goals such as increasing sales, winning market share and creating profitable new products or services. Present yourself in a way that demonstrates how you can help the employer achieve these objectives.
5. Use a consistent tense
Mixing up the tenses you use to write your CV could be an instant turn-off for recruiters. Keep your language consistent throughout. As one member of the MorePeople team put it: "Writing in the wrong tense is bad, but using two different tenses is even worse. The advice is to choose one and stick with it!"
6. Keep your personal profile succinct and relevant
Your personal profile is an opportunity to outline what you have to offer to a prospective employer, but make sure you keep it succinct and relevant to the position you're applying for. Hiring managers receive lots of applications, and they don't have the time to read every candidate's life story.
7. Always include employment dates
Employment dates might seem like a fundamental part of any CV, but it's surprising how many job applicants fail to include them. By including dates - and starting with the most recent first - you give the recruiter a much clearer picture of your work history and how much experience you have gained in your various roles.
8. Be consistent with your LinkedIn profile
One of the first things a recruiter will do when considering someone's CV is to look up the individual's profile on LinkedIn. If the information on your CV doesn't match the details on LinkedIn, it will set off alarm bells straight away. Before submitting your application, make sure your CV and LinkedIn profile are completely in sync, particularly where employment dates are concerned.
9. Keep the formatting clean
Some candidates may be tempted to over-format their CVs in an attempt to stand out, but this is never a good idea. Recruiters want applications that are accessible, clear and easy to read. Moreover, they don't have time to scroll through pages of sheets and tables, so never use Excel or any other spreadsheet software to create your CV.
10. Inject some personality
People hire people. Your application will be read by another human being, so try to write it in a way that showcases your personality and your passion for the job. If you can do this, you will give yourself a good chance of making it through to the next stage of the hiring process.
If you need any additional advice on how to stand out from the competition, or you want some feedback on your CV, please do get in touch with any member of the MorePeople team.