How to Assess Your CV

How to Assess Your CV

Use our free checklist to assess your CV for issues.

1. Are you getting job interviews?

This is the gold standard of CV assessment. Each step of your recruitment strategy has its own function. The purpose of the cover letter is to get your CV read. The purpose of your CV is to land you a job interview. If you are getting interviews and not getting offers then it's a sign your CV is doing its job but you need to brush up on your interview technique. If you aren’t getting interview offers, that's a red flag to revisit your CV.

2. Is it the right length?

One to Two pages. That’s the sweet spot. It’s great if you have more to say, but not if it won't get read. Edit your CV down to two pages maximum and save some of those great items for the interview!

3. Is easy to read?

There are many things to look at here.

  • Font choice & size – use a clear modern font, and don’t have lots of tiny hard to read text. Most CVs are read online, but if they do print it out you want it readable on A4. 9pt bordering on too small,11pt is clear
  • Layout - The white space is as important as the text. One to judge this is to zoom out in your word processor and squint your eyes. You should be able to see distinct sections and space - not just a grey block of text.

Is the template Professional and Modern?

Use a modern professional font and, in most instances, a standard template. There are many complex templates out there with photos, and infographics. Avoid them unless you are showing a creative portfolio or it can be linked specifically to the job you are applying for. They can be easy to get wrong and are not always compatible with the software companies use.

That doesn't make every CV just a chronological list of jobs. You might want to list transferable skills above work history. You might want to highlight a specific qualification as the most prominent or remove irrelevant experience. Be creative, but bear in mind what works won't be too far from what has been tried and tested.

4. Have you included numbers & data?

Numbers show specific measurable achievements. Anyone can say how great they are, when you back it up with specific figures it makes your claims more concrete. These could be sales figures, a target hit, a timeline, deadlines met, orders completed, customers served.

5. Have you shown your results not just your responsibilities?

Don’t just say what you were meant to do, say what you actually achieved. Rather than:
  • Telesales: · Selling online training courses by phone. · Had to make 200 calls a day and sell 3 courses a week.
  • “Telesales Consultant: Online Training Courses: Met all KPIs 6 months in a row. Exceeded challenging quarterly sales targets by 125% generating £14,567 revenue. Recognised as top performer Q1 and Q2"

6. Is it tweaked to the job you are applying for?

You might hear this tip often, but how do you go about doing it. Your CV is your CV, right? Yes- but that doesn’t mean you can’t present it in the best light for the job. But how can you do it? Start by taking the text of the job advert you are applying for, and breaking it down into a list of skills they want. Then tweak your CV to make sure it’s clear where you have those skills.
  • If your last jobs involved both marketing and sales, but you are applying for a sales role, make sure sales appears in your job titles and is listed in your responsibilities. Use sales examples of achievements such as hitting targets. Vice-versa for marketing if you are applying for a marketing role.
  • If you know 10 types of graphic design software, but the job advert specifically asks for GiMP, then make sure you specifically mention GiMP

7. Is it Keyword-optimised?

Your CV is written for two audiences – The human recruiter, but also the HR software that they use. The key here is to think in generic terms, to match your experience and job titles to what people will search for.
Your last boss might have called you an “Experience Diary Manager” as your job title, but if recruiters are going to be searching for “Telesales appointment maker” that’s what you should put.

8. Is it error free?

“Mishtakes hapen, but their should be none on you’re CV”

Spellchecking is the bare minimum, but isn’t enough. Once you think your CV is finished take a break and come back to it 10 minutes later, or a day later if you have time and can sleep on it.Print it out if you can and read it there – quite often you might spot something you didn’t see on screen. If you can get someone you trust to read it over too, that can be useful.

Bookmark or Share