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CV tips get that interview - a few ideas to update your CV!! by Mia Drennan, CEO Square Mile Connec

One of the most common questions I get asked by candidates is how they make their CV stand out from the crowd. As bonus time is nearly upon us, I know many of you will be considering a move during 2011 and have therefore included a few simple ideas to consider when drafting your CV to impress potential employers.


1. Tailoring

Each job specification is different for each company, business, team and role. Review your CV and make sure your relevant skills and experience clearly stand out on your CV. Ask yourself if it is easy to see why you would be suitable for the role. Hiring managers are not mind readers and a CV which is not relevant will be excluded.

2. USP (Unique selling point)

Businesses consider hiring people an investment, employers want candidates to demonstrate how they can add value to the bottom line. Therefore make sure you

focus on how you can achieve value, eg. via revenue increase/client following/cost ssavings/risk management, etc which is relevant. Ideally this should be included in a covering letter or on your initial profile and make sure it is attention grabbing.

3. Profile

Create a profile outlining your skills and major achievements in your career which may not be clear from your CV. Relevance is key, e.g. “I saved my employer £1m” is more appropriate than “I like socialising in my spare time!”.

It is also good practice to include industry-specific keywords, brand names and countries you have worked in. Do not use “I”, use the third-person as this makes it easier to read. And above all don’t forget to be interesting – if there is a juicy detail that will make them remember you (“the one who did the Goldman Sachs deal”) then you will have improved your chances of getting an interview.

4. Use Numbers

Examples which include numbers make statements more realistic and meaningful to a business. Statements like “Saved the Company £500,000 due to reviewing suppliers list” or “increased revenue by 25 per cent” will definitely stand out.

5. Get to the Point

In today’s market there are still far too many candidates for every role advertised. You need to make sure your CV is shortlisted and is in-front of the decision maker. Trained recruiters will scan CV’s for relevance and score against the role requirements. Look at the top half of your CV, does it have impact? make sure your intro hits the mark. The rule of thumb on CV length is two pages depending on professions. Always ensure your name is on the top and bottom of each page just in case pages come apart.

6. Avoid bland statements, include detail

I have never yet read a CV where the candidate said they were a bad communicator, lazy or lacked passion. Make sure that you have the qualities you want to highlight rather than just stating that you do. Tell the reader what you have done, and they will infer the qualities that you want to prove you have. Things like “entrepreneurial skills”, “trail blazer” are unquantifiable. If you set up a business, say so. Otherwise you are not an entrepreneur, however much you might like to be one !

7. Presentation

Think about presentation. Use a sans-serif font, with no smaller than 11-point type – any smaller and it looks like you couldn’t edit your CV. Make sure there’s enough white space to make it look nice. Avoid crazy designs or too much colour. Simple is best. Also, if possible send your CV in paper form. It is harder to lose than an email, and good quality paper makes a good impression. Also check spelling.

8. “Phone a Friend or two”

Ask a trusted friend or adviser to review your CV and see if it is relevant for the role you are applying for before you send it off!


• No photo’s, they have a negative impact!

• No typos, spelling mistakes or bad grammar!

• Keep your hobbies and interests minimal.

• No gap’s – they stand out like a sore thumb.

• If English is not your first language, get it checked by someone who is to make sure it reads correctly.

• Don’t lie – you will get found out.

Square Mile Connections Limited is a specialist talent acquisition firm focusing in Banking, Finance and Legal. For current opportunities and career advice please get in touch or call +44 (0)1635 523268 to speak to one of the team.

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