How to make your CV even better?

15.10.2015 | Reeta Laakso | 4 min read

So you already know how to make a CV but wouldn’t mind improving it a bit? Great! Our Talent Coordinator Anna Nikkanen gave beginners some tips for a good CV and application letter earlier this year. This blog posting continues the same theme by giving advice for those who already have some experience in writing application documents. Here are some improvements which I often recommend to our applicants when giving feedback about their CVs.

Things to consider in your CV

Length and relevance. A recruiter appreciates to get the main points with a quick look but still wants to know enough to see the big picture. Therefore think which information is important considering the job you apply for! Focus on most relevant experiences and shortly mention the responsibilities and achievements justifying you have the skills required. Don’t use the whole paper for telling about one job – few lines is usually enough. Additionally, as soon as you have gained more experience it is a good idea to shorten some parts of your CV. Mention your first years working at cafés and supermarkets on one line. Such structure helps the reader to focus on most relevant information. Please don’t exceed the recommended limit of 2 pages.

Details. Consider which details are relevant (and which are not!). If you wish to work as a programmer compactly present the technologies you know and highlight those required for the job. Give a short description of how well you know them and mention if you already utilized them at work or in projects. (You can use number scales for coding the information!) Then again, if you wish to work as a salesperson fewer details about IT skills should be enough. Maybe wider information about language knowledge is more relevant in that case?

Don’t underestimate your experience. Sometimes young people with less work experience are ashamed to tell about their previous jobs. Remember, everyone started somewhere and it was less often as a sales manager or as a product development engineer. To be honest, employers often appreciate the ones who were willing to ‘get their hands dirty’. Whatever you did, it always points out that you are active and have learnt the basic rules of working life. One way to get everything out of your work history is to describe what kind of skills or features you have learnt. It helps the employer understand why the experience was valuable.

Latest experience in the beginning. Always begin by describing your latest (or most relevant) education and work experience. Believe it or not, to start by telling which primary school you attended is not the best way to make a professional impression! (As a matter of fact, just save the space and leave that information out of your CV. Basic education is something a recruiter considers self-evident.) Instead emphasize your professional education and experience, starting from the latest or the most important one.

The picture. Your funniest picture at Facebook might not be the best option to add in your CV. If you want to include a picture, please keep it appropriate. A business-like photograph with a pleasant smile is always a good choice. If you wish to show your personality a bit you could consider making your shootings in nature or in a library. Forget about beer bottles and funny faces made at 4 am – they are too big a risk.

Did you have a gap year from work? It’s better to tell how you spend your time than to let recruiter wonder what happened. Whether you concentrated on your studies or travelled around the world, remember to mention it in your CV.

The profile part. A good addition beside basic information is to include a profile part right to the beginning after your contact details. It is a few-sentence-description presenting what kind of person you are, what kind of experience you have and what you aim at. Your future employer is not only interested to know your background but also to hear what career you pursue. The profile part is also a great chance to market yourself as an employee.

I hope my tips helped you. Good luck with job hunting!

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