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Why Can't I Get a Job?
8 Tips to Improve Your CV

See also: Writing a Covering Letter

Getting a job is a challenging process that can cause a lot of stress. Even if you are experienced for a position, it can still take a lot of effort to get an interview. The only thing that can help here is a perfect CV. Your CV should be powerful and feature all your achievements and qualifications in the most presentable manner.

Maybe the reason you haven’t yet got a job is a badly written CV. But do not worry, thanks to the excellent advice of professionals from, we have created this list of tips. After all, these CV experts have written thousands of custom CVs and resumes, so they know what is needed. Just follow their advice to land the next perfect position for you.

Hand shakeImage source: Unsplash

Concentrate on the purpose

In the US and Canada terms CV and resume are often used for the same thing. But it is not the same for every country. Make sure you understand what the employer expects to receive. When these terms are used to refer to different documents, a resume is usually shorter and focused on skills and qualifications for a certain position. A resume should be about 1-2 pages in length.

On the other hand, a CV stands for curriculum vitae, which means “course of life” in Latin. It is usually longer than a resume and takes about 2-4 pages. A CV includes more detailed information regarding education, experience, training, volunteering, etc. Of course, the general rules are the same for both documents – be specific, truthful, and showcase your expertise.

Research keywords

Including certain keywords in a CV or resume might seem like a small detail but, when you are applying to large companies, it can be vital. A lot large organisations use ATS – automatic tracking systems - to deal with their applications. ATS software scans documents looking for specific keywords relevant to a position so, if you don’t use them, your CV won’t get past this stage.

To find relevant keywords, scan the job posting, as well as any further information provided, and highlight power words. Another way is to find and read sample resumes for similar positions available online. There is also a helpful app that helps to analyze how suitable your text is for the job posting.

Make it readable

Usually, HR specialists do not spend a lot of time on a document, so that’s why it needs to be readable and easily scannable. First, use proper formatting and a professional style. Second, break it down into short paragraphs. Start with a 3-4 sentence summary to highlight the focal points. Include a bullet-point list of your skills, so they are visible right away.

Also, make sure that the text as a whole is not too complicated. You can use the online Hemingway editor app to analyze the readability of any text.

Tailor it to a position

If you have lots of experience and want to apply for several jobs, tailor a CV for each one separately. This means you can shift the focus to those bits of training and the skills that are essential for a particular position. Personalize your CV to increase your chance of interesting a future employer.

Include numbers

One of the most common mistakes a lot of people make is that they write about their achievements in general. For example, one might write “was employed as an operational manager”. But it is much better to focus on the quantities of your achievements and experiments. For example, “I managed the team of 12 specialists” or “Implemented optimization that increased sales by 15% on the website”.

Use numbers that showcase your expertise as they always look better than general claims. It can be a number of projects, years of work, and any influential changes you’ve introduced.


Any small mistake or error can be critical in the job-seeking process. Imagine an HR professional spotting the mistake and concluding that you are irresponsible or do not care enough about the position to proofread.

Always proofread your CV several times. Also, give it to someone else to review and they will probably suggest edits. To make sure that everything is correct one more time, you can use proofreading tools like Grammarly, which is quite efficient and easy to use. There is also a premium subscription that has more advanced suggestions, including style and delivery.

Woman proof reading on a laptop.

Source: Unsplash

Enhance the design

A CV doesn’t have to be a boring Word document. Even Microsoft Word has some advanced templates and features that can make a CV stand out. There are also several online platforms that can help you create a video, graphic, or beautifully designed resume. You can use Canva or CakeResume to create a visually pleasing file with highlights of the most important data. This will take additional time, but you get to make the first impression only once.

Another important tip is to always send your CV in PDF format. First, it looks more professional and, second, it ensures that all the formatting and design remains in place.

Start from the end

If your recent position or training has the most relevance to the job listing, start with a reverse chronological order. This will also look more impressive, as your most recent position is probably at a much higher level than your first job. The majority of HR specialists scan a document and do not read them throughout. To grab their attention, start with the essential parts. The same goes to education – do not start with high-school, instead focus on your most recent achievements.

The Skills You Need Guide to Getting a Job

Further Reading from Skills You Need

The Skills You Need Guide to Getting a Job

Develop the skills you need to get that job.

This eBook is essential reading for potential job-seekers. Not only does it cover identifying your skills but also the mechanics of applying for a job, writing a CV or resume and attending interviews.

In Summary

Crafting a perfect CV takes time and decent strategizing. Do not make the common mistakes, such as grammatical errors or poor design and layout. Also do not include a picture, age, race, or gender if it is not specific to position (for example, if you are applying for a modeling job, a picture is a must). HR specialists cannot make decisions based on these factors and might feel uncomfortable with this information. Showcase your education, expertise, and achievements instead. Use an active voice, relevant keywords, and power verbs. Include numbers, and tables are also allowed.

About the Author

Olivia Rainolds is the resident career expert for SkillHub with 10 years of experience in the recruiting services industry. She is a professional resume writer (CPRW), helping people to secure the right job.