After all the excitement of the holiday season, most of us just want to hibernate through the winter. However, if you use this time wisely and get your CV in shape, you will be prepared for the year ahead. Armed with a strong CV, you can set yourself up for internships, professional opportunities and graduate jobs. They’ll come around quicker than you think – and trust us, the last thing you want to be doing is stressing last minute trying to update and refine your CV to squeeze it in by the deadline.

Below are our top 5 tips to improve your CV for 2020:

1. It’s not an essay!

Keep it short and to the point. Your CV should never be longer than two sides of A4. Use bullet points to communicate key information clearly and concisely. There’s no need for long, waffling sentences. Bear in mind recruiters may receive hundreds of applications – you need to be delivering personal headlines, not a novel.

2. Professional presentation and layout

This is the biggest pitfall you can fall into on your CV. Your CV should clearly display:

  • Your name and profession (returned on the line below) as a headline – e.g. ‘John Smith/ Experienced Digital Marketer’
  • Your contact details: location, email and contact phone number is fine
  • A short and sweet personal statement
  • Key skills: a section of 6/8 clearly highlighted key skills, bullet-pointed
  • Employment experience
  • Education and qualifications
  • Additional experience

It’s not only about what you include, but how you lay it out. Clearly return paragraphs and utilise bullets and columns to make the most of space. Keep your font to a standard choice.

3. Don’t go overboard

Your CV is a professional document. Of course, in the music and creative industries there is more licence to include photos or stats (for example: if you are an artist manager, you may list your clients with a photo for each). However, restraint is key. Don’t use wacky colours, or crazy layouts – this distracts someone reading your CV who only needs to know vital information. Employers don’t want to be lost on the page. Less is more – keep to a white background and colours to a minimum. In some cases, software may read your CV before a recruiter does – or on the flipside, a recruiter may print off hard copies to read. The last thing you want is a dark background with grey font that isn’t readable.

4. Keep it relevant and honest

You’ll want to tailor your CV for each role you apply for. You may have done some volunteering experience which could be a perfect example for one job role but not necessarily for another. A CV is not a ‘one size fits all’ document and you should update it regularly. If you have LinkedIn (and particularly if you’re an avid user) it’s important you keep your CV and LinkedIn profile in line. It would be embarrassing if you applied on LinkedIn, only to have your CV contradict what’s on your LinkedIn profile or vice versa. Finally, you should never lie or falsely embellish your CV. It might sound obvious but we’ve seen some hopeless examples. The colours always come out in the wash.

5. Don’t be afraid to look for help!

Speaking of LinkedIn, they have a handy plugin for Microsoft Word: ‘CV Assistant’. If you really don’t know where to start, or are confused about your presentation and layout, look online too – there are some really good websites and resources (we’ve listed those below!).

If you’re at college or university, go and see your careers advisor. At LCCM students have one-to-one access with our careers and industry liaison officer who is on hand during the week to help students craft their professional resumes. Additionally, our office spends time organising lots of cool and relevant careers-focused events. If you’re interested in the music or creative industries as a career path, why not come along to one of LCCM events? Find out more here.