Here are ten simple things you can easily fix next time you apply for a job. They’re from the perspective of a hiring manager who has to filter through a bunch of CVs and resumes.

  1. When you save your filename, give it a clear and unique file name. The hiring manager is going to receive many applications. Many applicants will submit documents with the filename “CV.docx” or “resume-final.pdf”. Put your name in the filename (surname first, so they can find it easily) and call it something simple like “Josem Michael Resume.pdf”
  2. Include whatever permissions you have with your right-to-work – citizenship(s) and any other visas or work permits that you might have.
  3. Make it easy for the hiring manager to read your document. Big chunks of white text on black backgrounds is almost always awful. The one-in-a-million cases do not include you. If graphic design or illustration is not an important part of your job, please just keep it simple.
  4. If you care about the job you’re applying for, make your application relate (at least somehow!) to the actual job. If you’re applying for many jobs, have a few with differently focused attributes/messages – and send the right one to each job.
  5. Get a friend to proof read your document, and to give you open and honest feedback. Not just “yes, this is good” feedback, but rather, get critical and substantial feedback.
  6. If you have only a limited work experience (which is reasonable if you’re young!) then include every little part-time or volunteer or other bit of experience you have.
  7. Use, at most, three fonts: title, sub-headings and body text. Don’t use different fonts for every paragraph.
  8. Run a grammar and spell-checker. It doesn’t cost you much time, and will reduce the risk of you making a silly error.
  9. Spell your name (and every other word!) the same way throughout. If your name is Kathryn, don’t sometimes write it as Kathryn, another time as Kathy, and another time as Kath. Make sure your CV is consistent. It’s not hard to do.
  10. After you’ve “finished” your CV, step away from the computer, and spend at least a couple of hours doing something else – and then proof read the document again with a fresh, clean, mind.

5 October 2021 Updates: It is now 2021. Employers probably don’t care what you did in your life last century. Things that happened in the 1980s or 1990s are not likely to be relevant to many job applications now or in the future. Consider significantly reducing much mention of them.

Michael Josem is a long-term consumer advocate, most prominently as a global leader in combating fraud in the online gambling industry. He was in part the inspiration for the 20th Century Fox Movie, Runner Runner, starring Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake.

Josem has over a decade of experience as a senior business leader working across various high-tech and online industries, and takes action to build a better community. His primary volunteer roles include service for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, and Graih, the homelessness charity.

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