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Free CV Template & Tips To Secure the Interview

Due to COVID-19, the job market has become fiercer than ever with an estimated 1.69 million people currently unemployed and looking for work. The Bank of England has predicted that there will be a further 7.7% rise in the spring, creating the highest level of unemployment of the post-war era.

Instinct is inundated with very similar queries on the subject of writing and presenting CVs. Therefore, we have created a handy CV tips document that applies to not only Digital Learning candidates but job seekers across many professional fields. It is a difficult time for everyone, and we want to be as helpful as possible in supporting you to find the perfect position!

Putting aside the doom and gloom, there are a few simple tips to help your CV stand out to potential employers to give you the best chance of securing that all-important interview.

 

An interviewer reading a CV during an interview

 

Page Length

 

The age-old “one-page CV” doesn’t quite cut it in the modern world. People are no longer handing in a paper copy of their CV for it to be immersed into a stack with numerous others.

Your CV is digital and (usually) saved within a portal viewed on a computer screen. With this in mind, our experience suggests that Hiring Managers are more receptive to a 2 - 3 page CV, no less and no more. This allows Hiring Managers to read and digest your CV in one sitting, whilst allowing you space to fully highlight your skills and experience without cramming it into a single page.

 

Personal Introduction - Getting to Know You

 

A solid introduction is vital. This should be one paragraph or four to five sentences introducing you and your skillset. In the absence of a cover letter, this section can (and should) be tailored to outline your suitability for the position that you're applying for. 

This allows the Hiring Manager to immediately understand why you will be the perfect fit for their team. The introduction acts as part of your first impression and will either encourage the Hiring Manager to read on…or reach for the delete button. But don't worry - with our guidance and template, that won't be happening. 

 

The Content

 

The bulk of your CV should provide an insight into you and your job history. If you are a graduate, the order should be:

  • Contact details
  • Education
  • Work experience
  • Personal interests / hobbies

If you are an experienced professional, with 3+ years of work experience following School or University, the order changes slightly to:

  • Contact details
  • Work experience
  • Education
  • Professional development
  • Personal interests / hobbies

Your experience should always start with your most recent job role and continue in reverse chronological order. This showcases your most relevant and important experience to the Hiring Manager from the outset.

Note: Be sure to highlight your achievements and key skills throughout!

The order of which a CV should be laid out, depending on your circumstancesThe layout for this has already been done for you in our free CV Template below!

 

Tailoring Your CV - Securing Relevance

 

Your CV is not a ‘one size fits all’. It's best practice to tailor your CV for each application. This will dramatically increase your chances of reaching the interview stages as the relevance between your CV and the job description will be high. 

Now, obviously, we're aware of the serial job application spree's that most people tend to go on when looking for a new role, particularly when of timely importance. This is also influenced by the ease of applying through tools such as Linkedin Easy Apply, but we promise you, spamming out multiple job applications with one set CV, across numerous different jobs will only reduce your relevance and suitability for the role. It's all too obvious when an application has been submitted without too much thought. 

Throughout your CV, you should match your skills to the job specification. Companies often use coded scripts, or job boards to find relevant keywords through CV's – these best matches are then brought to the attention of the employer. Therefore, make sure you thoroughly read through the job description, highlighting what the employer is looking for and ensuring your CV is aligned towards this.

 

Aesthetic Appeal - Eye-catching Design

 

Finally, aesthetics! If your CV doesn’t look very appealing, it can be interpreted as a lack of effort and an unwillingness to pay attention to detail – clearly not the impression you want to make with a prospective Hiring Manager! 

You don’t need to be a Graphic Designer to make your CV presentable, here are some simple things to help you along:

  • Make sure that everything lines up correctly – formatting is key for readability
  • Check your spelling and grammar, and then check it again
  • Ensure that the text and fonts are consistent in type, colour, and sizes throughout
  • Put keywords in bold to help them stand out
  • If you have tables, ensure that they are compatible with the CV document format
  • Bullet points work better than long drawn-out paragraphs

 

Document Type

 

Last but certainly not least is the actual file type of the CV you submit. We recommend this to always be a PDF document. 

As a PDF, your document contents will be locked into place, as though applying a finishing spray to keep your work intact. It will also be optimised for 'fast web-view', meaning anybody you send it to can easily open the document on any browser. 

If you're a dab-hand at design and work in that space, you'll likely build your CV within Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, or even Photoshop and will almost always export your document as a PDF (never send a psd, ai, or indd file type as your CV).

But if you're simply using Microsoft Word, it's of the utmost importance to save your file as a PDF before sending. If you send across a Word Document and you have used fonts not installed by the Hiring Manager, your document is at risk of previewing a bunch of errors and misaligned formats. Additionally, it's assumptious to presume that the recipient even has Microsoft Word as it is part of a paid subscription (for the downloadable software at least) and many people (and businesses) opt for free, similar software. 

Microsoft Word to Adobe PDF

Saving a word document as a PDF

To further assist you in your CV creation and job search, we've created a free CV Template for you to download and personalise! 👇🏼

 

Download your FREE CV Template HERE

 

We hope that the above tips and CV Template are useful in your journey along the career path.

We appreciate that this a challenging time for all, and if you are a Digital Learning specialist struggling with your CV or securing your next role then please do not hesitate to contact your Instinct representative for further help or guidance before submitting that all-important application. 

You can reach us on 0161 714 0600 or alternatively, simply email info@instinct.co.uk 

If you're looking for your next role, check out the latest Digital Learning roles HERE