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10 Tips on How to Improve Your CV with Examples!

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10 Tips on How to Improve Your CV with Examples!

by CVMaker

  • CV
  • · April 10 2024
  • · 8 min read
Tips to improve your CV

Table of contents

To succeed in your career path, you need a good CV to set yourself apart in the competitive job market. Navigating the job market can feel daunting, especially after facing multiple rejections. But fear not, you're not alone in this journey. Follow our examples and tips to boost your chances of landing a job and find the best personal approach to improving your CV layout. Be creative and strategic in showcasing your strengths to make yourself noticeable.

Explore our diverse collection of CV templates to help you customise it for your specific job.

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10 ways to improve your CV

1. Make it easy to read

Ensure your CV is readable and concise. Avoid lengthy sentences and opt for short bullet points to emphasise the main information. For example, instead of writing five or six lines for responsibilities, use bullet points to break down duties and achievements, ensuring they are tangible and include numbers and figures. Doing so makes it the recruiter's job easier to scan your CV and identify your key skills and relevant experience.

Check

DOs

  • Supervised and trained 10+ interns and care assistants in general wards and mental health units, fostering a supportive and professional workforce

Close

DON'Ts

  • During my time at AECOM, I was deeply involved in managing various projects and supporting team operations. I worked closely with colleagues to work towards improving the company's goals and took part in developing some new initiatives.

See the related blog article on how long should a CV be for more information and valuable tips.

2. Add must-have sections

Each CV section provides you with valuable information about your background and qualifications. For example, utilise the personal profile section to briefly capture your key qualifications and background. Meanwhile, the skills section can help you categorise your relevant expertise and break it down into soft, hard, and technical skills. See our list of best sections and CV for additional information to help you improve your CV.

Must-have CV sections:

Must-have CV sections

Optional CV sections:

3. Use a chronological CV format 

Write your CV in reverse chronological order, starting with your most recent positions and working your way backwards. Doing so allows recruiters to quickly assess your application without wasting time. For example, include your current job in the work experience section, followed by previous roles in descending order. Similarly, start your education section with the highest level of education, such as a master's or bachelor's degree. If you have already held a few jobs, you can confidently remove your high school experience or old courses.

Do arrange your experience in chronological order

  • Marketing Manager, BP plc (2020-present)

  • Digital Marketing Specialist, Unilever (2018-2020)

  • Marketing Assistant, Tesco (2016-2018)

Do not place your positions in random order

  • Digital Marketing Specialist, Unilever (2018-2020)

  • Marketing Assistant, Tesco (2016-2018)

  • Marketing Manager, BP plc (2020-present)

For more tips and examples, refer to the chronological CV example guide.

4. Format your CV

Ensure it is easy to follow and maintains a professional tone to avoid overwhelming the reader with unnecessary information. Utilise clear headings and a simple design featuring consistent font styles and sizes. Opt for a modern layout with distinct sections and white space between paragraphs to enhance readability.

Best format to improve your CV

Consult our blog articles on the best font and best colour for your CV for more details.

5. Keep it ATS-friendly

Applicant tracking system (ATS) is software used by a recruiter to speed up the hiring and recruitment process. It saves time for employers who need to read through hundreds of CVs weekly. It enables them to easier track and identify the best candidates based on the following criteria:

  • Number of years of work experience

  • Specific keywords

  • Experience with particular techniques or software

  • Certain knowledge or skills

  • Speaking a specific language.

6. Add keywords from the job description 

Start by looking up a job opening you’re interested in and list the recurring keywords throughout the text. It could include soft and hard skills, duties and responsibilities, or other vital characteristics. Adjust your future CVs to the company culture by checking out the ‘About us’ page. Keep an eye on the company's values, interests, and goals.

Depending on your employer, different conditions and key search terms apply, so always check them before submitting your application. Lastly, replicate and incorporate these keywords into your tailor-specific CV, ensuring they are reader-friendly and fit in the context.

Camera Flash

Pro Tip

Don’t lie about your skills and qualifications; even white lies can backfire, blackening your employment and promotional hopes. It can also make you look untrustworthy.

7. Use action verbs

Use action verbs to make your sentences more concise, to the point, and easy to follow. They would give the reader a better idea of what you did. For example, you can use them to describe your skills, job duties, and achievements. Avoid using the passive voice unless there is no other way to phrase your sentence. For more inspiration on enhancing your CV, see the list of action verbs to use and to stay away from.

Strong action verbs per category:

  • Research: ‘examined’, ‘surveyed’, ‘assessed’, ‘compiled’, identified’.

  • Communications: ‘articulated’, ‘briefed’, ‘presented’, ‘demonstrated’, ‘disclosed’.

  • Organisational: ‘coordinated’, ‘leveraged’, ‘cultivated’, ‘monitored’, ‘administered’.

  • Technical: ‘designed’, ‘operated’, ‘developed’, ‘calculated’, ‘launched’.

  • Leadership: ‘appraised’, ‘trained’, ‘facilitated’, ‘directed’, ‘executed’.

Weak action verbs: ’tried’, ‘did/made/created’, ‘responsible for’, ‘organised’, ‘helped’, ‘worked with’,  ‘experienced in’, ‘watched’, ‘studied’, ‘took (courses)’, ‘showed’.

8. Add numbers to your achievements

Quantify your achievements by adding specific numbers, figures, or percentages to make your writing more impactful. They are measurable metrics you can use to add credibility to your skills, providing proof that you're capable of performing the job well. Mention the most impressive achievements as high as possible and remove any outdated information.

Do include measurable and short achievements

  • Triggered yearly increase in sales from £300K to £1.1M by initiating and implementing various sales and marketing initiatives

  • Achieved consistently high customer ratings and reviews, maintaining an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars on various online platforms.

Do not provide vague or generic statements

  • Played a significant role in driving company success through successful initiatives.

  • Helped my manager to enhance customer satisfaction levels within the organisation

9. Keep it job-specific

Tailor your CV to each job opening you’re applying for. Remember that it is just one of hundreds of applicants who want the same job as you. Highlight the most relevant skills and experience, aligning with the job requirements. By tailoring your CV, you show your keen interest in the position, improving your chances of success.

When writing a job-specific CV, always refer to your master CV for guidance. This central document helps you select the most important information tailored to each industry.

10. Proofread your CV

Thoroughly proofread your CV to eliminate grammar or spelling mistakes. Consider seeking feedback from colleagues, family, or friends, as they help you spot the mistakes or highlight strengths. Use spell check and grammar tools like Grammarly or QuillBot to guide you further. Lastly, remember to review your CV multiple times before submitting your application.

Examples of well-written sentences:

  • Led a team of software developers in the successful launch of a new mobile application, resulting in a 50% increase in user engagement within the first month.

  • Implemented cost-saving measures resulting in a 15% reduction in operational expenses for the fiscal year.

Examples of sentences with grammar and spelling mistakes:

  • Led a teem off software developer's in the succesful lanch of a new mobil application, resultin in a 50% increse in user engagment within the first month.

  • Implemnted cost-saving measure's resultin in a 15% reduction in operational expenses for the fisical year.

How to improve your CV as a student?

If you are a student with little to no work experience, consider changing the focal point of your CV to education. With or without extensive training, we encourage you to prioritise your transferable skills gained through training, projects, or other activities that add value to your CV. Read the skills article to get more information about soft and hard skills.

You could place the following additional information in your education section:

  • Degree (bachelor’s, master’s, PhD) with the final grade (GPA > 3.0)

  • Thesis title and final grade (only if it is B or A)

  • Degree description

  • Student societies

  • Relevant coursework

  • Honours certificate

  • Exchange (Erasmus) program

1. Use a project section

If you only have a side job or part-time internship, that might not be enough to convince an employer to hire you. The education section is a milestone of your CV, often more relevant than your work history. Consider creating a separate project section to expand your relevant knowledge and skills. Alternatively, you can also place it under additional or work experience sections. It’s not a well-known strategy that would help draw the recruiter’s attention to your CV.

2. Add a degree description

A degree description is a helpful feature that would make your CV stand out. Think of it as a job description but in an educational setting. In three to four sentences, describe the essential skills gained from your higher education. Whether it is a high school or university (bachelor’s, master’s, or even PhD) diploma, it is not a problem.

You may not realise it, but you probably already possess some work experience. Even if it is not a paid experience, it is still a valuable experience for your next job. Although many employers don’t consider it an acceptable work experience, you can still use it in your additional experience section. It could include your side jobs, volunteer / freelance work, student societies, tutoring, or any relevant projects.

3. Use a skills-based CV format

Opt for a skills-based CV, also known as a functional CV, if you're a beginner or transitioning careers. This format prioritises transferable skills over a long work history. Start with a qualification summary, followed by education and work experience sections. This strategic layout effectively showcases your relevant skills and achievements

Explore our skills-based CV example for more inspiration.

Key takeaways

By now, we should have provided you with a better insight into how to structure and improve your CV. Following our tips and tricks, you are better equipped with tools and guidance to land your job interview. Even if you’re not fully eligible or qualified for your desired job position, don’t worry. It’s worth applying anyway, even if you don't meet all the job criteria. Let creativity take over you, and good luck!

Check

DOs

  • Use clear, concise, and professional language

  • Regularly update and proofread your CV

  • Put keywords in bold 

  • Create a master CV and tailor it per application.

Close

DONTs

  • Use vague words or phrases

  • Write long paragraphs

  • Write 1000 bullet points

  • List everything you have achieved

Next steps?

Check out our extensive library of CV examples to help you create a professional career documents for the job you are specifically applying for.

  • CV builder: Use one of the colourful CV templates to help create a tailored and well-structured CV.

  • Cover letter builder: apply with a matching cover letter template with a clear layout so you can easily personalise and adjust to your career goals.

  • CV writing service: connect with one of our experts to receive feedback and get quick, professional advice on tailoring your career documents to a specific job. 

  • Blog: explore our step-by-step guides to learn more about the best strategies to increase your chances of job prospects. 

The next step in the application process is preparing a list of good questions for an interview.

Improve your CV as you read along?

Try it now

FAQ

How to improve your CV with AI?

Check out online tools and platforms like ChatGPT or CoPilot to look for gaps and receive AI suggestions to include more keywords, improve the structure, and polish the content. We suggest using prompts like 'Improve this CV by incorporating keywords from the following job description' to increase your chances of getting noticed by employers or recruiters. Customise your CV based on your specific skillet and career goals. The key is to keep it short and incorporate the key information appearing on the company's website and job description.

How to improve your CV as a student?

See the following tips to help you boost your CV and improve your prospects as a student.

  1. Use the proper format and structure

  2. Set clear goals

  3. Use a professional CV template

  4. Start with an eye-catching personal profile or statement

  5. Highlight your education

  6. Include your relevant work experience

  7. Showcase your key skills

  8. Highlight your educational achievements

  9. Add additional sections

  10. Proofread carefully to eliminate any mistakes.

Refer to our student CV example guide for more tips and examples to help you customise it for the specific job.

How to improve your cover letter?

Use a cover letter to elaborate on your skills and qualifications that didn’t fit your CV. In a one-page A4 document, you can write down your motivations and interests in applying, explaining why you’re the right fit for the company. In the beginning, briefly describe who you are and your career aspirations. Use specific examples and achievements throughout the text to demonstrate your outstanding competencies and experiences. Your cover letter must show your commitment, core skills, and professional ambitions.

Refer to the related blog article on how to structure your cover letter for more inspiration.

How to improve your CV with no experience?

Even with little to no work experience, you can shine by highlighting transferable skills and relevant qualifications from your courses or previous jobs. Remember to tailor your CV to fit the company culture and use keywords from the job opening or the company's 'About us' page to grab the attention of applicant tracking systems (ATS).

For more tips, see our blog article on how to add soft skills to your CV.

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Updated April 10 2024

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