How to boost your CV as 50 people chase every job in coronavirus-stricken UK areas


AS many as 50 people chase every job in coronavirus stricken areas of the UK, so here’s how to ensure your CV stands out from the crowd.

Around 20 people competed for every job in May, according to new research published by the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) today.

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As many as 50 people are currently applying for just the one job vacancyCredit: Alamy

But the think tank says in some ex-industrial and urban areas outside of the south and east of England there are now 50 claimants per vacancy.

In comparison, there were four and a half claimants per vacancy in April, and just over eight in May.

The IES, which uses data from job site Adzuna, says Adzuna listed 820,000 UK vacancies on March 15 but this fell to 367,000 as of June 14. 

It adds that there have been particularly steep falls in hospitality, sales and retail roles.

It comes as new figures published earlier this week revealed that 600,000 jobs have been lost during lockdown.  

While around 9.1million UK workers have been placed on the government’s furlough scheme.

If you’re struggling, check out our round-up of the 50 jobs you can apply for right now – and the best websites for finding work.

And read our eight CV tips below to help give yourself the best start.

Tools to use to help you write your CV

HERE are some tools and apps that can help you put together your CV:

  • Resume app: If you struggle formatting your CV, you can choose from 21 templates in the Resume app to help you. And once you’ve put it together, you can export it as a PDF directly to your email. Resume is free to download and use, but has additonal premimum options that you can pay for.
  • Grammarly: It’s important to get your spelling and grammar accurate, so run your CV through a tool such as Grammarly to check for any errors. It’s free to download straight to your desktop.
  • Vizualize.me: If you’ve got an exisiting LinkedIn account, Vizualize.me takes the data and turns it into a timeline of your employment history and a breakdown of your skills. The free tool has six different themes so it’s a good option to make your CV look visually appealing as well.
  • VisualCV: As well as making your CV look eye catching, VisualCV also makes sure it can be read by electronic systems that some recruiters use to filter CVs. It’s also free to sign up for.

1. Create a layout that stands out

The first impression your potential employer will get of you is from the layout of your CV, so be sure to make yours stand out.

It should be clear to read, with appropriate headers and in a decent-sized font.

You should also avoid “fun” fonts such as comic sans as they’re hard to make out and aren’t very professional.

But Russell Smith, managing director at recruitment firm Hunter, warns unless artistic creativity is an essential skill in the role you’re applying to, “now is not the time to show off”.

Mandy Watson from jobs site Ambitions Personnels adds: “Making a CV stand out can go too far the other way.

“Reconsider any overcomplicated fonts, design features or unnecessary elements on your document.

“Remember one or two sides of A4 equivalent is all that is needed, any more will likely not be read, imagine all the CVs that employer will be looking through.”

2. Don’t waste space

Your CV should include only essential information about yourself in a concise way, so don’t waste space by giving it a title like “CV” or “curriculum vitae”.

Treat your name and contact details like the title and put it at the top of the page.

Don’t bother with an interest and hobbies section if you haven’t got anything to put in there that is relevant to the job that you’re applying to.

No offence, but a recruiter doesn’t care about what books you read unless you’re applying to be a book editor.

The same goes for including part-time jobs that are no longer relevant to the position that you’re applying for.

For example, if you’re applying to work in IT in 2020, there’s no need to talk about that summer in 2004 when you worked behind a bar.

3. Use the right words

According to jobs site Reed.co.uk, you’ll want to use words that are appropriate for applying to a professional role.

These include describing yourself as:

  • Accurate
  • Adaptable
  • Confident
  • Hard-working
  • Innovative
  • Pro-active
  • Reliable
  • Responsible.

But at the same time, you want to avoid clichés such as “always go the extra mile” or “works well independently or in a team”.

Words and phrases like these will only make your CV blend in with the hundreds of other applications from workers who also claim they do the same thing as you.

Mandy from Ambitions Personnels points out that clichés in your CV may cause you to be filtered out of the recruitment process altogether.

She explained: “Remember that some applications are now automated and will be dealt with initially by technology.

“Tailor your CV further by ensuring you consciously use keywords in your document to increase its optimisation in online job sites’ search engines or an ATS (Applicant Tracking System).

“It could mean the difference between landing the job you want and being rejected before you get a chance to really impress.”

Hunter’s Russell added: “Don’t try to cram information in.

“Fillers are obvious to most professional recruiters and no substitute for facts.”

Top 20 CV faux pas

THESE are the top 20 CV faux pas that you want to avoid when applying for a job:

  1. Telling lies
  2. Spelling errors
  3. Including a selfie as a picture
  4. Having a rude or inappropriate email address
  5. General typos
  6. Punctuation or grammar mistakes
  7. Using clichés such as ‘always go the extra mile’
  8. Including a picture generally
  9. Never holding a single job for more than three months
  10. No contact details
  11. Getting a company’s name wrong
  12. Suspiciously long gaps between jobs
  13. Going across more than two pages of A4
  14. CVs which aren’t CVs, such as a website or blog instead of a printed CV
  15. Layouts which are hard to understand/read
  16. Having hobbies which don’t constitute as hobbies such as ‘hanging out with friends’
  17. Including social media profiles/handles/links
  18. Not having any references included
  19. Using big fonts or strange layouts to make the CV look longer than it is
  20. Including part-time jobs which are no longer relevant

4. Be polite in your covering letter

Always include a covering letter or introductory email when sending off your CV – otherwise you’ll seem rude and come across as presumptuous.

Remember, this is your first step towards getting an interview so you should treat it like you’re meeting your potential employer face to face.

“A memorable and courteous introduction can take you far,” says Mandy.

5. Avoid including a photograph of yourself

There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to whether you should include a photograph of yourself when you apply for a job.

Many say that it’s an outright no, while others aren’t convinced.

There’s one thing for sure though, employers shouldn’t be assessing whether or not you are capable for a job based on your looks, unless you’re a model or actor.

“Ultimately, the purpose of a CV is to convey your skills and attributes – not your appearance,” said Daniel Ball from creative recruitment firm Wiser.

“A high quality employer won’t hire based on looks, so why include a photo?”

6. Make sure your social media profiles are up-to-date

Social media profiles can add extra valuable information to your CV without you having to include it in your application.

But remember, if you do link to your social media, make sure that it’s up-to-date and that there’s nothing on there that could jeopardise your chances of getting the job.

Your LinkedIn profile may show off your impressive career progression but your Instagram might give off a completely different impression.

Making personal profiles private is one way of keeping work separate from your social life.

Mandy from Ambitions Personnels added: “If you have a professional social media profile, make sure it’s up to date.

“Do a swift self-edit and perhaps add to recent activity with insightful information.

“If you have an online portfolio, now is the time to review it.

“Not updated your blog or news section in a while? Take stock and be brutal with editing.”

This is what your CV really says about you

8. Make use of free tools to help you

There are a whole host of free tools to help you through writing your CV to help you land your dream job.

For example, the Department for Education (DfE) has launched a new scheme to offer furloughed workers free online courses to help improve their CVs.

There are also a range of free templates online to help you make your CV pop – see the box above.

Do you need some inspiration? One recruitment expert has revealed the “world’s best CV” and promises it will land you a six figure salary.

Previously, we’ve reported how bosses have admitted that they take just 34 seconds to reject applications based on their CV – here’s what you should avoid on your applications.

Here are our tips on how to make up for a lack of work experience on your CV.





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