10 Ways to improve your cv

Improve your cv

10 Ways to improve your cv

10 Ways to improve your cv. Your cv is the first impression you make, it’s the first thing a recruiter will look at after receiving your job application. Your cv is the first chance to promote yourself and to stand out from other applicants. Here are 10 ways to make your cv stronger and improve your first impression at your job application .


  1. Fine-tune your cv for every job application.

It may sound like a lot of work to create a new cv for every job application. But some fine-tuning before each job application is necessary. A job description gives you specific information about what a company is looking for. You can find keywords within each job description. These keywords will be on the recruiters shortlist when they are scanning all the cvs. Make sure to add these keywords where possible on your cv.

  1. Treat your cv as your one and only chance to impress a recruiter.

A recruiters spends an average of just 6 seconds to scan a cv for the first time. They even make a first selection based on this short scan. If you don’t pass this first selection, your excellent cover letter will not even be read. Your cv is the first impression you make on your job application. Don’t split up important information between your cv and your cover letter. We usually write about our big achievements and our personality in our cover letter. Don’t forget to mention them in your cv as well.

  1. Add a short personal profile to your cv.

A great way to add information about your personality to your cv is to add a short personal profile. In this personal profile you should mention your most relevant personality traits. Write in just a couple short sentences the keywords of your personality. Even just mentioning the keywords can be enough. Position this personal profile at the beginning of your cv, before your professional experience.

  1. Show real results

When writing about your work experience, don’t just sum up all your tasks. Add relevant results to your cv; successful projects, campaigns, new customers,  special awards etc. Use numbers where possible, but be careful not to use any competitive sensitive information.

  1. Keep your information structured and easy to read.

A recruiter will scan your cv in just 6 seconds. Make sure your cv is easy to read. Keep the main components of your cv clearly separated from each other. Don’t make your descriptions too long. Keep your sentences short and clear. Keep your cv within 2 pages.

  1. Get rid of the irrelevant information

As a starter you put every information you can find on your cv, every internship, every weekend job you had as a student, every extracurricular activity. This is necessary to stand out from other starters. But after, let’s say, 5 years of working experience you can start to get rid of the student jobs on your cv. Your recent working experience is much more relevant. Leaving irrelevant information on your cv will make your cv longer and will only distract the attention from the relevant information. Only when there’s a direct link to the job application and the student job (same company for example) you need to keep it on your cv. Also get rid of irrelevant and obvious tasks on the description of your experience. Focus on the main responsibilities, extraordinary projects and your achievements.

  1. Keep it honest, keep it real

It is tempting to blow up the information on your cv just to fit the job description better. But be careful not to exaggerate or even lie about your experience and skill levels. A background check or good questioning during your interview will expose your lies and put you in an awkward position.

  1. Get your cv noticed

A better way to stand out from other candidates is to work on  the appearance of your cv. You can give your cv a more professional look by just adding some small graphic design elements. You can use a cv template, like the ones in our shop. But even small adjustments like adding some color or adding a bigger title to your cv, can make your cv stand out from the basic cv.

  1. Don’t get ridiculous

Be careful not to make a joke of your job application. A joke will surely get you noticed, but not in a good way. Keep it professional. Recruiters take their job seriously and they expect you to do the same.

  1. Let a friend check your cv before your send it out

The most common mistakes on cvs are still typos. Make sure to ask someone close to you to check your cv before you send it out. You have spent a lot of time writing and fine tuning your cv. After a while you’ve read the text so many times that you just don’t see the typos anymore. Two pair of eyes see more than one!


(Image source: Markus Spiske)

Carl Havermans

GoSumo is part of De Leydsche, based in the Netherlands. Besides designing cv templates we have been rewriting cv’s for our customers in the Netherlands and Belgium since 2013. In these 5 years of cv writing and designing we have rewritten cv’s for all professional levels, from graduates to top level managers.