30+ CV Tips to Get You to The Next Round

CV Tips
Created by Cake

Since a CV is an integral part of any application, it’s important to make it impressive and outstanding. The goal of CVs is to present applicant information effectively while offering employers concrete reasons to make hiring decisions. With that being said, writing a CV is never an easy task, especially for freshers and entry-level job seekers. Many of you often get lost in finding elements to include, certain formats to adapt, or outstanding visual designs to follow. 

To make a top-notch CV, you might need the help of CV tips. In this article, we’ll cover some of the most useful tips for the best CV that helps you get a leg up on the competition.

Top 10 CV Writing Tips

1. Make sure all information is correct.

One of the most important CV tips is to ensure that all of the information you include in your CV is accurate. You should always go over all of your listed contact details and double-check for any possible mistakes. Your detailed CV will be a waste if no one is able to contact you.  

2. Proofread to prevent misspellings or grammar mistakes.

Make sure your CV does not contain any misspellings and/or grammar mistakes. These typos and grammar errors may seem trivial but they can make you an unqualified candidate in the eye of the employer as it shows a lack of attention to detail.

3. Be concise and to-the-point.

The best CV advice related to the CV length is to keep your document succinct with specific details and avoid mentioning information that is not related to the job, as it will make your CV irrelevant to the position you're applying for. 

4. Include quantifiable results as proof.

Ideal tips for creating a CV also include providing quantifiable results in your CV. It is an effective way not only to present your achievements but also to demonstrate your ability to take over the vacancy.

5. Use an active voice.

Though the use of the passive voice is more commonly used in formal writings such as essays and academic papers, it puts less emphasis on the actions and more on the subjects instead. However, employers are more interested in what you can do for the job responsibilities and to accomplish goals. Therefore, you should start each bullet point with an action verb to describe what tasks you have handled and what goals you have achieved. Using an active voice in CV writing will highlight what you did and what you can do for the company.

6. Use proper verb tenses.

Another crucial CV tip is to use proper verb tenses when presenting your experience and achievement section. When writing a CV, you must use past tenses for past experiences and present tense when describing an ongoing job’s responsibilities.

7. Make sure your CV is ATS-friendly.

ATS (Applicant Tracking Software) is now one of the most popular tools companies use to scan applicants' CVs. Therefore, one of the tips for a great CV is to insert relevant keywords for a higher chance of getting to the interview round. Always tailor each CV content according to the applied job’s description.

8. Use powerful action words and adjectives.

Powerful action words and adjectives are a must as they can deliver a more convincing message to your employer. They’ll help you stand out as a competent candidate among thousands of other applicants for the same vacancy.

9. No abbreviations. 

Writing a shortened form of any word or term is something you should avoid when crafting your CV. Abbreviations in a CV can easily cause misunderstanding and might cause confusion when the potential employer is reading your CV.

10. Don't repeat the same information. 

Keep your CV concise and relevant with only necessary information. You shouldn't list any detail repeatedly as it only makes your CV appear lengthy and difficult to follow.

CV Formatting Tips

1. Keep an appropriate CV length.

The CV lengths depend on the application purpose and the amount of input information. 

One-page CV is a suitable choice if you’re a freshman who just graduated and are seeking jobs at an entry level. Otherwise, an individual with plenty of professional experience in the field will be likely to write a two-page CV. As for high-level professionals such as professors, C-suite executives or someone who has won many honors or achievements, a three-page or longer CV is acceptable.

2. Use ½”–1″ margins.

An essential CV formatting tip is to leave a margin between ½ to 1 inch on both sides. You can flexibly change the margins to fit your content arrangement better, but a margin that is smaller than ½ inch is not recommended.

3. Use standard fonts.

Using standard and readable fonts is also important when writing your CV. A well-chosen font is one that is easy to read. Below are some suggestions for the best CV/resume fonts:

  • Arial
  • Cambria
  • Calibri
  • Times New Roman
  • Helvetica

4. Use adequate font size.

Another piece of advice for your CV when it comes to choosing a font is to use a standard font size. Recommended font size is either 11pt or 12pt, and you can also use boldface to highlight your CV section headings.

5. Use 1.0 or 1.15 spacing.

Spacing is also important when it comes to CV formatting. The best spacing depends on the letter size you pick and the content length of your CV. However, the proper spacing that is frequently adopted is 1.0 or 1.15. Anything less than that would make your CV appear too crowded and uncomfortable to read.

6. Insert page numbers.

When your CV length extends to more than one page, you should consider adding in page numbers to your CV. It helps employers keep better track of your CV content, and also avoid any possible confusion. 

CV Layout Tips

1. Utilize bullet points.

When you have more than one point to make in any specific section, our CV writing advice is to utilize bullet points for a more comprehensive and coherent content presentation. Distributing your content with bullet points also allows employers to follow through the content of your CV more effortlessly as it appears more organized.

2. Use bigger font sizes for important information.

When having all of your information included in one document, it becomes difficult for the recruiter to navigate the main information without getting lost in the other details. Therefore, one of the effective CV tips when presenting content is to adopt bigger font sizes for headings or any certain information that needs readers’ special notice. 

3. Include all the crucial CV sections.

When it comes to CV layout tips, this might be the most important one.

Do not leave out the essential CV sections:

  • Contact information
  • Educational background
  • Work experiences
  • Skills & qualifications
  • Awards & honors
  • Licenses & certifications
  • Scholarship
  • Projects
  • Publications

CV Profile Tips

1. Start with basic personal details and contact info.

You should include these:

  • Full name
  • Phone number
  • Email
  • Address
  • LinkedIn or personal websites (optional)

You should not include these:

  • ID / Social Security Number
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Religion
  • Race 
  • Marital Status and Dependency

2. Include job-specific keywords.

One professional CV advice to increase your CV relevancy is that you should implement several tailored keywords to the open position. These keywords are often included in your CV profile. By including such keywords, your CV will appear as a compatible profile when the hiring managers screen them. 

3. Write 3-5 sentences of CV profile.

Condense your profile information into 3 to 5 sentences with a focus on highlighting your abilities and professional achievements. You need to make sure to include important keywords and avoid using ambiguous words, terms, and lengthy sentences that have too many clauses. Such uses of words and sentences will distract readers from the core capabilities you aim to showcase.

4. Place the personal statement at the top of the CV.

Another tip for a professional CV is to place your personal statement on top of your CV right below your contact information. By doing this, you have a chance to bring up important information that helps catch the recruiter’s attention right from the first few lines of your CV.

5. Insert an eye-grabbing headline. 

Don’t forget to incorporate an eye-catching headline into your CV. An outstanding profile headline should be able to sum up your entire CV content and present you as a potential candidate in the eye of the recruiter. The best way to write a CV headline is to briefly summarize your expertise and experience in the field.

Academic CV Tips

1. An academic CV can be more than one-page long.

Unlike CV for any other specific purpose, an academic CV can extend to more than one page. An academic CV often includes achievements such as publications, fellowships, and conferences. However, you should also refer to the job description to ensure that you don’t miss any required information.

2. Use consistent format when listing publications, presentations & conferences.

A CV advice to make your CV more professional is you can consider highlighting your achievements in a consistent format. A consistent layout not only helps with content delivery but also assists you in increasing your credibility as someone who works in academic fields. 

3. Credit all contributors to any of the works you list.

Another academic CV tip is to always remember work attributions. It is crucial for you to list down the names of your co-workers in any collaborative publications or conferences.

4. Include references from professors or school advisors. 

References are not always required but in case you have any, you could include them in your academic CV. It is an effective way to impress your employer while adding credibility to your achievement and qualifications. 

5. Use a simple and professional-looking layout. 

Regarding CV layout tips, it’s best to opt for a simple yet professional appearance. The goal of any CV layout and design is to allow the readers to review the document easily. Also, avoid using too many colors, decorative fonts, or complicated content block placement.

CV Design Tips

1. Use neutral and cooler tones if you work in more traditional fields.

Tailoring your CV color presentation accordingly to the field you’re applying for is one of the CV design tips to consider. Such color choice often guarantees a professional impression on the readers.

2. Experiment with your CV design more if you work in creative industries.

A creative CV is designed to present your creative skills for a certain role which may include elements of design, art, or animation. Hence, experimenting and exploring different layouts and color harmony is the best way to write a CV for demonstrating your compatibility with the position. 

3. Insert icons.

Having icons is useful advice for your CV. Incorporating a style-consistent list of icons helps the hiring manager not only with locating information but also with the candidate evaluation process, specifically when assessing their design skills. 

📚 Further reading: Resume Icons and How to Make Your Resume Pop with Them

CV Writing Tips for Students

1. Craft a powerful objective statement.

A CV writing tip for students is to spend time working on delivering a powerful message in the objective statement. Remember to adopt active voice and action verbs for the statement as it’s the part where you express your devotion and aspiration to join the company/institution. 

2. List extracurricular activities or volunteer work.

To make up for the lack of professional working experience, it’s best to list down all of your extracurricular activities, volunteer work, or outstanding project achievements. These are concrete proof of your ability and working attitude, and thus, can convince hiring managers why they should offer the opportunity.

📚 Further reading: List of 50+ Best Extracurricular Activities for Resume (Guide & Examples)

3. Include references from professors.

As a fresher who is looking for chances to start a career, professors’ references are often a valuable document to include in the CV. It’s also necessary that you make a wise decision about the professor from whom you’ll get high-quality feedback. Such feedback can help prove your work ethic and show employers that you’re qualified. 

With Cake’s CV builder tool, CV templates and CV examples, you could showcase your best qualifications to land your dream job. Try making a CV online (free download) now!

--- Originally written by May Luong ---

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