There are thousands of templates available online for you to use to format your CV.  Everyone has advice on what your CV should look like to open that door and get you an interview, suggestions include; using coloured fonts, pictures, keep it to one page, use fancy graphics and many more ideas. 

The truth is your CV is only as good as your experience and background represented on it and how relevant that is to the job you are applying for – and that is what you have to present to the person reading it. 

The following 5 tips will help your CV really make an impact and secure you that interview:

  1. Ensure your CV is easy to read.  Make sure it has a simple, logical layout covering; personal information, key skills, personal summary, education, experience, hobbies and interests.  Length is not the key issue – it is much more important for your CV to be easily read.  So, use a clear font with a minimum size of 11, do not use coloured font as it more difficult to read, use bullet points, keep dates to the left-hand side for all aspects in education and work experience, use bold for dates, company names and education facility names and use bold and underline for sections of your CV.
  2. Adapt your personal statement.  Make sure your personal statement isn’t full of empty platitudes, such as, “I have strong communications skills and am very confident in person”.  Develop evidence of your skills, sell yourself and make sure they are relevant to the job you are applying for.  For example “I developed very strong communication skills as one of the main responsibilities in my last role was developing business and attending meetings in the financial services sector and during the Covid 19 lock down situation I continued to develop strong working relationships which have added to my extensive business network..”  
  3. Include specific examples to evidence how you have proven your skills.  Having a long list of key skills on your CV is meaningless without evidence and proof of how you demonstrate those skills or how you got them.  For example; “I have excellent financial modelling skills”.  This statement needs backing up to make it come to live and make an impact; “I developed a complex merger model which was crucial in decision making on a high value fintech transaction”.  Give detail but also make sure the detail is relevant to the role you are applying for.  Take off skills that are not relevant.
  4. Relevance to the role. Tailor your CV for every opportunity you apply for.  Review your personal statement and key skills list to ensure they are relevant to the job description and requirements.  Highlight your skills and attributes which are being asked for.  Use your work experience to also highlight what they are looking for by moving the relevant duties to the top of lists and cut out non relevant duties.  In front office investment banking a great way to tailor your CV is to add a deal list which you can adapt to show your relevant experience, perhaps sector specific, by the relevance of the transaction you have worked on.
  5. Insight into you.  A CV is a record of your education and work experience but recruiters, either internally or externally, would still like to get an idea of what you are like as a person.  Detail your non work-related roles you have held, any volunteering, any sports clubs as well as all your hobbies and interests.  This will give you colour as an applicant and can make you really stand out against the competition.

If you would like to discuss your CV in more detail, please do get in touch as we are currently offering a half hour free careers consultation with our qualified and experience careers consultant.  You can email Philip Seager – philip@alan-mitchell.co.uk or complete this MS Form.