CV workshop: Should I bling up my CV?
The CV, or résumé, is perhaps the most important thing in your arsenal when looking for new jobs. No matter how good you are at interview, you’re never going to get an offer if your CV isn’t up to scratch.
Similarly, experience won’t count for much if your CV is so poorly constructed that an employer doesn’t even read past the first few lines.
You may be tempted to bling up your CV, but tread carefully because depending on what this means to you, it could hurt your chances as much as help them.
‘Blinging up’ is fine if it’s restricted to making your CV as good as it can be. There are a number of tips that will help with this. For instance, you can:
- Tailor your CV to the specific job you are applying for and include relevant keywords relating to the industry and job function.
- Give brief details of what you did at your last (or current) job that saved time and/or money, as well as any awards or accolades you won as a result of your work.
- If you improved something in the organisation, by all means explain it.
If you do not have such accolades to boast about, you can still improve your CV through the layout. Remember that recruiters often have numerous résumés to go through, so yours needs to be eye-catching and concise.
If you have a nine-page résumé then you probably won’t get an interview, even if it’s outstanding in content. Why? A recruiter won’t have time to read it, and will think that if you can’t fit it all in a couple of pages, you lack organisation or presentation skills.
By the same token, a recruiter will appreciate it if you make the CV such that it’s easier and quicker to read, and that may help you stand out.
One way of doing this is by using bullet-points, or putting key figures in bold. A recruiter will immediately be drawn to these particular areas, and it means they can get the relevant and most important information extremely quickly.
If that information is considered relevant to the job, they will read the rest of your resume. Having a CV consist of dense passages of text makes it harder to read and thus harder for the recruiter to find the information, which will put you at a disadvantage.
If you intend to bling up your CV through its content, then that’s undoubtedly a good thing. It’s not such a good idea, however, to try to adjust the physical appearance of your CV to make it stand out.
You may think that making your header a size 20 font, in bright red italics will get you noticed more. It’s true to say that it will get noticed, but that doesn’t mean it will be positive attention.
The most likely reaction to a CV so obviously designed to grab attention will be that the content within it does not speak for itself, or, at the very least, that the applicant has poor organisational and professional skills. Any of those perceptions could cost you an interview.
By putting the time into crafting a CV, you can make it concise, easy to read, informative and generally speak for itself.
This is the sort of CV you should be aiming to create, and there is no shame in talking to a professional for tips on how to make your CV look and read better.
The thing to avoid is aesthetic changes designed solely to make your CV stand out – they often look tacky and give a negative impression of the applicant.