How To Make Your CV Amazing In Just 30 Minutes

Updating your CV can seem like a daunting and lengthy task. But what if we told you that you could drastically improve your CV in 30 minutes? Pretty appealing, eh? All you have to do is follow these 6 simple steps.

Ok so it’s a pretty tight schedule, but work at a reasonable pace and it should only take half an hour, promise. The end result? A pretty darn good CV!

So, got 30 minutes to spare? Good - let’s get going!

1. Change the order (30 mins to go!)

Ingenuity can play its part in the job hunt, but in terms of your CV's structure it’s important to follow convention. Graduate recruiters will have dozens if not hundreds of CVs to sift through for every role advertised; make life easy for them by putting your information in the order they expect it i.e.:

1) Name, phone number, email address

2) Personal statement

3) Education (In reverse chronological order)

4) Work Experience (put your most relevant experience at the top)

5) Other skills/qualifications and extracurriculars

If you have either of the following, get rid! :

          ● A picture - unnecessary and often seen as unprofessional

          ● Weird font - it’ll make your CV stand out for the wrong reasons. Arial and Calibri are both good options.

Looking for a CV template? Download our free one here.

2. Bullet point (25 mins to go!)

This is hands-down the easiest way to improve your CV - where possible use bullet points rather than paragraphs. It makes the information easier to read and digest, which means what you say is a) more likely to be read and b) more likely to have an impact.

3. Add evidence (20 mins to go!)

Right, 10 minutes down and you've got your structure sorted; now it’s time to tackle content. One of the main pet-peeves employers have is candidates describing themselves without giving evidence to back-up what they are saying.

An example:

Rather than saying ‘I’m a fantastic team-player with brilliant leadership skills.’

You should say ‘During my time as President of the Chemistry Society I developed not only my leadership skills but also my ability to work within a team towards a common goal.’

Spend five minutes hunting down rogue adjectives and anchoring them down with evidence.

4. Change tasks to achievements (15 mins to go!)

Rather than talking about your tasks or responsibilities, focus on your achievements. Successes are more impressive than duties. Think about it from the employers’ point of view; just because you have done something doesn't mean you have done it well!

So, sticking with the example of President of the Chemistry Society, you might have written something like this in your experience section:

         ● Recruited new members to the society

         ● Organised monthly socials

         ● Chaired weekly team meetings 

Instead, you should say:

          ● Ran regular recruitment drives within the department, increasing society membership from 20 to 60.

          ● Found, pitched for and achieved society sponsorship from Company X, increasing society revenue.

          ● Maintained our 60 person membership by chairing regular and productive meetings.

You might not be able to change every duty to an achievement, but do so where you can. You have 5 minutes, go go go!

5. 'Spell check' and rename (10 mins to go!) 

Make sure your spell checker is on and that it’s set to UK, rather than American, English. Once that’s done, correct mistakes highlighted.

Spell check won’t catch everything, so read your CV once through yourself. If you’re not sure of any spelling or grammar quickly Google it.

Spell checking should take all of 4 minutes.  Spend of the rest of the time changing the file name which your CV is saved under. ‘Jenny’s CV 7’ or ‘My Curriculum Vitae updated’ are too ambiguous and lack professionalism!

Instead rename your CV according to the format: ‘First name Last name - CV’. Easy-peasy.

6. Get someone to check your work (5 mins to go!) 

Find someone you know, and give them your CV to have a read over.

Don’t under estimate the power of a fresh pair of eyes! Put your feet up and have a cup of tea. You've worked hard, after all!

Related content

10 Reasons Your CV Is Ruining Your Job Hunt
5 Common CV Mistakes You Don't Want To Make
How To Write A CV When You Lack Experience


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