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Spring clean your CV and get ready for change!


Spring is in the air, a time for new beginnings and growth, and the perfect opportunity to look at where you are going with your career.  Whether you are a newly qualified professional looking to start your career journey or a seasoned employee looking for a new challenge, your CV is a very valuable asset to have.  It can be the decider between whether you get called for that coveted interview or cast aside!

From experience we know that many people don’t view their CV as a continuous ‘work in progress’; something that individuals should frequently update to reflect new roles and responsibilities.  You would never attend an interview without first preparing for it, and as your CV is your means for securing an interview, it too requires work.

With most recruiters, who spend 30 seconds or less initially skimming a CV, you need to think carefully about how you present your information and make an immediate impact.  The below steps will help you draft your CV into a more relevant and focused document.

1. Keep It Relevant

Consider a profile summary targeted specifically to the position you are applying for and highlighting your relevant skills.  Don’t be afraid to sell yourself! Your current or most recent employment should be given the most attention on your CV and any subsequent positions should be relevant to the job. If you feel some of your experience is not so relevant, feel free to condense or summarise.

2. Streamline

Carefully analyse how you have worded your CV.  You should aim to briefly outline the main responsibilities or scope of the role, without detailing day-to-day activities, and focus largely on achievements.  Be careful to ensure there is no repetition and ‘waffle’.  In addition, check to see if some points could be condensed or grouped together to provide essential information.

3. Success

Your CV is a great opportunity to showcase your previous successes. Identify the main achievements for each position you have held and list these in a sub heading for each entry. Think about times where you excelled and how you added value to your employer and write down 3-4 achievements. Where possible, provide statistics and facts to support statements on past performances.

4. Study the Job Specification

You should tailor your CV to each role you are applying for. Each job specification will have its unique competencies and requirements.  Your CV should mirror this. Know what each role is looking for and identify the “must haves”.  Ask yourself, “If I include this point will it increase, or decrease, my chances of securing an interview?”. Only include relevant experience and achievements that match the most important criteria for each position.

5. Format & Style

Typically, your CV has a 2-minute window to make an impact so keep the layout clear and information accessible. Give yourself a 2-page format to work from as this serves as a good basis for where to put content and it doesn’t require a lot of time for the recruiter to review. Make sure you get all the important information on your front page. 

Where possible:

  • Try to keep your CV to 2 pages, 3 pages maximum.
  • Use separate headings to clarify sections.
  • Break up any long paragraphs into digestible statements.
  • Avoid lengthy columns of bullet points.

Once you are happy with the layout of your CV, proof read it at least three times and, where possible, have a peer review it for any mistakes.

It doesn’t take a lot of time to keep your CV updated, particularly if you are doing so on a regular basis. Allocating 30 minutes every month can be the difference between getting a polite No and landing your dream job!

For a more detailed discussion, click here to contact one of our Talent Consultants. If you would like to register with Fastnet, please forward your CV to 

About the author:

Therese Keohane is currently the Business Unit Lead (Quality and Laboratory) with Fastnet – The Talent Group®.  She is a graduate of University College Cork.  Therese has 5+ years recruitment experience specialising in sourcing mid- senior level Quality and Lab professionals for the pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical and medical device industries. 

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