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Fixing up your resume is an absolute must before sending it to potential employers – it should be tailored slightly for every job. But this doesn’t mean that there aren’t plenty of tried and tested principles that should form the backbone of this document in general.

Through a combination of passed-down wisdom and research amongst recruiters, we have a pretty good idea of what the ‘average’ employer will respond to in a résumé; these are the features that should be found in every resume or CV, regardless of the little changes you make for specific applications.

Perhaps the key insight to bear in mind is that recruiters do not spend much time looking at each resume. They may have dozens or even hundreds to sort through for a single position, and they have no emotional investment in you before they get started: you’re just another name. So try to keep your document brief and light – less than two pages, with plenty of inviting white space.

Use bullet points rather than fat paragraphs, and add no more than five or six skills under each job that you list. Use percentages and monetary figures to flag up your achievements – these draw the attention of recruiters and are easily processed.

And about that emotional investment: the best shot you’ve got at cultivating one is to send a brief, unique cover letter with your resume. Around 40% of recruiters want to see one, yet barely half of the applicants bother to include it. Use a service such as Grammarly to make sure your writing looks intelligent and professional.

For a whole feast of CV wisdom, have a look at this insightful new infographic from NetCredit. It contains 18 firms, actionable fixes you can apply to your résumé right now – to make sure it stays top of the pile next time you go for that dream job.


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