How to tidy up your CV in less than half an hour

Pressed for time? Need to send your CV off to someone NOW but worried it’s not up to scratch? We reveal how you can tidy it up in less than half hour with 12 simple tips.

If you’re looking for a new job, the very first thing you need to tackle is your CV. Ideally you’ll spend time revising your experience for each position you apply for – focusing on the qualities and achievements that best fits the role you’re going for.

But sometimes, we don’t have the luxury of spending hours tweaking fonts and agonising over an adjective. We need to quickly scan and send our CV off in just minutes – or risk missing out.

How to tidy up your CV in less than half an hour

But what do you do? To help you rid your CV of any silly mistakes that may cost you a job, we’ve put together 12 quick checks and changes you can easily do in under half an hour, to spruce up your CV and get it job-ready.

1) Make sure your name stands out

At the top of your CV should be your name – and it should be big and bold so a potential employer can see immediately who you are. So if you haven’t done so already, quickly bold your name, increase the font size to around 18 points (making sure it doesn’t look too GIANT) and centre it.

2) Keep your contact info separate

Ensure your contact information is clearly separated from your work experience with a dividing line or some other simple device. This gives your CV a clear look, and makes it easier for recruiters to find what they want more quickly.

3) Edit your personal statement

If you have included a personal statement or summary in your CV, make sure it is short and to the point (stick to a maximum of six lines). If possible, include the title of the job you’re applying for in it.

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4) Bold section headers

On average, employers spend just six seconds glancing at CVs so make sure they can find what they’re looking for quickly on yours, and bold section headers like ‘Employment’, ‘Qualifications’ etc.

5) Keep your sentences and paragraphs short

Your CV has more chance of being read if your sentences are short and snappy, and paragraphs brief – so if you have any huge chunks of copy, look at how you can edit them down or break them up. If you need to list skills or achievements, use bullet points. 

6) Separate achievements from responsibilities

Highlight your achievements by keeping them separate from your job description. If possible, add them as bullet points (sticking to a maximum of six) to help them stand out even more.

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7) Keep your language active

To make your descriptions more powerful and dynamic, use active language and start bullet points with positive verbs (for example, achieved, completed, acquired, encouraged etc).

8) Keep consistent

Whatever style you use in your CV, make sure it’s consistent. So if one set of bullet points ends in full stops, for example, make sure they all do.

9) Remove personal information

Your CV doesn’t need to list your hobbies and interests, age, marital status or your religion. So if they’re on your CV, remove them and let your work speak for itself.

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10) Check your second page

If your CV runs onto two pages, make sure it’s worth it. If you only have a couple of lines on it, either shorten your CV to one page, or add some more content to it (without padding it out for the sake of it) or alter your layout so it fills at least one third of the second page.

11) Read it through

To ensure your CV reads smoothly and fluently, read it out loud to yourself. This is a great way to even out your language and eliminate any awkward phrasing – and also to check that you don’t have any unnecessary words.

12) Check for silly mistakes

Once you’re happy with the content and writing of your CV, give it one last, thorough check. You can’t afford a single spelling mistake or missed punctuation – it looks sloppy and careless. So read carefully for any silly errors.

Check and send with confidence!

And that’s it. A quick, simple tidy up to ensure that your CV looks and sounds great, and stands a good chance of getting you through to the next round – all in just half an hour.