How to create an enhanced CV (and why it's important)

Updated 20 February 2023

An enhanced CV presents the credentials to a potential employer and shows that a candidate has the ideal qualifications and relevant experience for the role. It entails revising, improving and updating it throughout the working life. By enhancing your CV regularly, you create an outstanding document that highlights your proficiencies and skills and helps you to succeed in your job application. In this article, we discover what an enhanced curriculum vitae is, explore how to enhance yours and discuss why a personal statement is effective.

What is an enhanced CV?

An enhanced CV is a professional document that includes more information related to your qualifications than a basic CV. Typically, an improved CV expands a simple job list to include brief details of the duties you performed, skills learned, targets reached and achievements recognised. A CV may also include details of your academic achievements, any specific research you conducted and projects you completed during your course. If you received any awards in your career, you can include them. You can also add any voluntary or charity work you've performed.

By reading your CV, a recruiter can gauge if your qualifications, skills and experience match the requirements of the job for which you're applying. He can also form a reasonable opinion about your character, your potential work performance and your future career ambitions. An excellent CV can inspire potential employers to follow up with an interview. This type of CV comprises two or three sentences that you can slot into the top of your CV so it's the first thing the recruiter sees. Mention your career goals and your reasons for applying for a particular job.

Related: 6 universal rules for writing your CV

How to enhance your CV

It may not be necessary to rewrite your CV entirely. You can add your latest information to an existing CV, making sure it covers your up-to-date work history and any new qualifications. A well-presented enhanced CV may persuade a recruiter to recommend you for an interview. There are 12 steps to enhance your CV:

1. Use keywords

Before your CV reaches a real person, a computer program, such as an applicant tracking system (ATS), may scan it first. This identifies specific keywords or phrases directly related to the job for which you're applying. You can read the job description to select keywords and include them in your CV. Conduct an online search on similar job descriptions and look for additional appropriate keywords.

2. Avoid idioms and redundant language

Avoid colloquialisms or idioms. Write short, clear sentences and avoid unnecessary phrases where one word may suffice. A CV that's informative but concise is easier and quicker to read. For instance, you can:

  • replace 'at this moment in time' with the word 'now'

  • replace 'small in size' with 'small'

  • replace 'postpone until later' with 'postpone'

  • replace 'in the vicinity of' with 'near'

3. Include only necessary information

Employers want to read relevant information that illustrates why you're the best candidate for the job. It's unnecessary to list your hobbies. But if your hobby includes an activity that's specifically relevant to the job for which you want to apply, include it in your CV. To include details regarding yourself on your CV, consider if the information applies to the job you're targeting.

4. List your work history

It's often difficult to decide how much of your employment history to include. Some recruiters want to see only what you've done in the last ten years, others want to see only the most recent employment details. It's tempting to cover your extensive experience in a range of industries to illustrate your flexibility. If your work history stretches to two pages or more, include details of the jobs that are most relevant to the role for which you're applying and omit the rest. You can explain any resulting gaps in your employment during your interview.

5. Add numbers to your achievements

If you've reduced a company's expenditure or boosted its sales figures, quantify your achievements with supporting numbers if possible. If you're unable to provide actual numbers to validate your claim, use a percentage. For instance:

  • I reduced stock redundancy by 40%

  • I exceeded my sales target by 70%

  • I implemented a new digital image archive to eliminate the need for storing one million printed images in a physical library. This freed up a large storage area which was re-purposed at a minimal cost.

  • I helped to develop three production planning programs which the company integrated into the stores and purchasing systems. This helped the purchasing expeditors to avoid stock-out.

6. List your academic achievements

You may include details and dates of your qualifications. This includes diplomas, degrees, any post-graduate qualifications you achieved and any academic awards you have won. You can add on-the-job training courses and any voluntary courses you passed, whether attended at an educational institution or completed online.

7. Include your non-academic skills

Apart from tertiary education and specific job-related skills, you can include other skills you've mastered through your work experience, such as:

  • problem-solving

  • time management

  • communication and negotiation

  • proficiency in word processing and spreadsheet software

  • proficiency in content management systems (CMS)

8. Include your personal details

Check that your contact details are correct to enable the recruiter to contact you by phone, email or mail. It's advisable to use an email address that looks professional, starting with your full name or initials and surname rather than a nickname. It's unnecessary to include details like your date of birth, marital status, gender, religion or ethnicity. Include a link to your professional profile online if you wish to, but it's advisable to avoid providing a link to your social media account.

9. Include references

Include a list of reputable references who have agreed to vouch for your work performance. These can be previous and current employers, business partners, or academic teachers. Ask a friend with a senior job title to provide a character reference. Include your references' full names and official company titles, and ensure their contact details are correct. Some recruiters specifically request that applicants omit references in their CVs. If this is the case, make a duplicate copy of your CV but delete the references section.

Related: Q&A: Should you include references on a CV? (with example)

10. Review the presentation of your CV

How you present your CV is as important as the information within it. Make it easy to read with short sentences and consistent indents and line spaces. Avoid long paragraphs by splitting them into two or more. Consider formatting long paragraphs into bullet points. Use a simple font like Calibri or Tahoma and use the same font throughout the document.

Related: How to create an effective CV layout

11. Proofread and proofread again

Proofread your CV thoroughly to ensure there are no spelling, grammar or punctuation errors. Use your software spell-checker and grammar-checker. When you've done that, proofread it again. You may find it easier to proofread a printed copy of your CV. Ask a family member or a trusted friend to look through it for errors. Check that the formatting is correct, that your CV looks professional and that the document is simple to read. A recruiter rarely corrects mistakes on a CV before submitting it to potential employers.

Related: How to write an attention-grabbing personal statement

12. Create different versions of your CV

It's a good idea to create different versions of your CV for different jobs or industries. If you only have one CV, it may include information that's irrelevant to the job. Your work history may be diverse, with one job unrelated to another. Edit your CV into different versions most applicable to different jobs. This may take time, but it's worth doing because it can allow you to finish on time when applying for a job with an imminent application cut-off date. Save PDF copies of your CV on your computer so you can attach them to online job applications.

Related: CV objectives: tips and examples

A personal statement is effective

A personal statement is an important component of your CV. It's a concise summary outlining your skills, experience and personal attributes that are relevant to the job you're targeting. Mention your career goals, ambitions and how you think this job offers opportunities to achieve them. Recruiters often use a personal statement to determine who is the right candidate for the job, especially if there are many applicants on the list. Keep your personal statement brief. Highlight the qualities that make you the best applicant for the job, and include words like confident, innovative, commitment, problem-solving and professional attitude.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.


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