Six tips to make your CV work for you this year


Get noticed and include what HR teams are looking for with these CV tips… 

New year, new opportunity to up your career game. First step to get noticed by your potential future employer is submitting a top-notch CV.

Try out these six tips from Penquin to help you look your best on paper and make your CV stand out from the rest: 


  • Show them the real you 


In a world of filters and editing apps, many people create entirely new versions of themselves online. When it comes to your CV though, the key is to choose a photo that actually looks like you, not some overly touched up or tweaked version. This is to guarantee that any interviewer won’t have to glance down at your CV to make sure they’ve actually got the right person in the room.

Also, stay away from selfies. Rather ask a friend or colleague to take a photo of yourself in front of a neutral background. Be authentic, and showcase your beautiful smile for everyone to appreciate.


  • List the basics


Contact information, work experience, your education (including qualifications or certifications), as well as your relevant skills are key essentials to include in your CV.

Start with the latest work experience and include dates, as HR teams tend to look at when you were employed and how long you stayed with the company. The more detailed you can be without writing an essay about each, the better.


  • Use a spell checker


If you aren’t the best writer, no sweat. Programs like Microsoft Word and LibreOffice have built-in tools to check documents for grammar and spelling errors. Spend time tending to formatting too. Using a legible font with unified spacing makes for a polished and professional look.

Double check all of these before saving the doc as a PDF and firing off your application. Not doing so is the easiest way to get your CV placed on the rejection pile.


  • Keep it short and sweet


It’s 2023, and nobody has time to go through a ten page CV anymore. Getting the length of your resume spot on doesn’t mean having to cut some of your experience out. You simply need to give the most detail on your last two or three roles, which hiring teams are likely to focus on anyway.

As a whole, your CV should be punchy, written in short sentences. In the final read through, take out any adjectives that might come off as slightly arrogant, like “exceptional” [job title], or “world-class” this or that, as your experience will speak for itself without having to be over inflated.


  • Creativity Sets You Apart From the Rest


Investing a bit of extra time to show off some creative flair when it comes to design will help with making your CV stand out from the rest of the pile. No matter what type of role you’re applying for, try using a modern template with colour (easy to do on a free tool like Canva). You’ll end up making an impression on the person on the receiving end, as well as injecting a bit of fun into the hiring process too.


  • Two summaries HR teams love 


Craft three to five concise sentences at most for each of the two sections:

  • Who are you? Be original with this – don’t default to what you think someone wants to hear. Instead, share what you are really good at, as well as what you are looking for in your next role and team.
  • What have you experienced or achieved? Add an executive summary on the same one-pager, detailing your experiences and achievements. A recruiter or hiring manager might be on a tight deadline, glancing primarily at this to decide if you’re fit to interview.