How to create the perfect CV for 2021

Lydia Smith
·Writer, Yahoo Finance UK
·4 min read
A blank curriculum vitae format with a pen and spectacle
If you’ve got a gap in your CV due to furlough or redundancy, make sure you highlight what you did with your time. Photo: Getty

This year has been a difficult time for job seekers. The unemployment rate in the UK surged to its highest level in over three years in the summer, as the pandemic continued to hit jobs.

Meanwhile, redundancies rose to their highest level since 2009, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Many businesses have put a hiatus on recruitment, and those which are hiring are receiving huge numbers of applications.

It might be tricky to get your CV noticed and land a new job, but it isn’t impossible. The start of a new year is generally a good time to update your resume and send applications, as employers may be feeling motivated and eager to attract skilled workers in 2021.

Watch: How to create the perfect CV

“Many job seekers will be switching industries in 2021, due to the impact of COVID-19 on the job market. For this you will need to repurpose your CV — but it’s not as hard as you think,” says CV-Library’s managing director, Matthew Moore.

So how can you get your CV in shape for 2021?

READ MORE: UK unemployment rises at fastest pace since 2009 as redundancies hit record high

Focus on transferable skills

If you are repurposing your CV for a new industry, you might find it easier to focus on your personal profile and transferable skills, rather than your employment history and achievements.

Being able to adapt to changes in the work environment and develop transferable skills can help you cope with a difficult recruitment period.

These are skills that apply to a wide range of jobs, such as good communication, leadership, time management, organisation, listening and delegation. And you may not have picked up these skills in previous employment, they can also come from hobbies and life experience too.

“You are likely to have a host of transferable skills and these will help demonstrate what your previous experience can bring to the role,” Moore says. “If these skills are mainly soft skills, such as problem-solving or communication, always include an example.”

For example, you may describe problem-solving in a retail job as such: “Using the inventory management software to order clothes for customers who were disappointed at not being able to find their size in store.”

If you’ve got a gap in your CV due to furlough or redundancy, make sure you highlight what you did with your time. “Perhaps you learnt a new skill, enrolled on an online course or did some volunteering?” Moore adds.

Watch: The biggest job interview mistakes

Make sure you stand out from the crowd

With the increase in competition between candidates and sharp rise in applications per job, it’s more important than ever that you stand out.

“Make sure your CV really shows off your biggest accomplishments and don’t leave recruiters guessing or they might not contact you,” Moore says.

“Include a section on your key skills, as this will help your CV be found when recruiters search CV databases, such as CV-Library. Similarly, avoid cliches and buzzwords as they’re often unoriginal and appear in hundreds of other CVs so won’t help you stand out.”

As always, you should try and tailor your CV for each role you apply to. “This helps you stand out and ensures you include relevant work history and skills,” Moore adds.

Think about remote roles

Many people have been working from home during the lockdowns, with the exception of key workers such as supermarket and hospital staff.

As a result of the pandemic, employers have been forced to embrace remote working and many will continue to do so in the future. Making sure employers know you are able to work flexibly can put you in a strong position as an applicant.

“We know recruiters are hiring for more remote roles than ever before; in fact the number of remote job postings on CV-Library has increased by 55.3% since this time last year,” Moore says.

“For remote roles it’s important you are adaptable, great at communicating and motivated. These are key skills to mention if you’re applying for roles where you’ll be working from home.”

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