In the fast-paced job market of 2024, crafting a standout CV is more crucial than ever. With the advent of new technologies and changing employer expectations, our resumes need to not only reflect our qualifications but also our adaptability to the modern workplace. 

So, how do you write a CV in 2024 that will get you noticed? Bearing in mind that on average, recruiters spend only about 6-7 seconds initially scanning a CV, the importance of clear, concise, and well-structured information can’t be overstated.

Research shows that job seekers who tailor their CV for each job application are around 40% more likely to receive a call for an interview than those who use a generic CV, and that two-page resumes are generally preferred for mid-career professionals and executives. So, what needs to be on those two pages?

Here’s our quick, 10-point guide to help you stand out from the crowd.

1. Embrace the digital format

In 2024, digital CVs are the norm. This doesn’t just mean emailing a PDF copy. Many companies use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to scan CVs, so it’s essential to create a CV that’s both ATS-friendly and visually appealing.

Top tips:

  • Use a clean, professional format with standard fonts like Arial or Calibri
  • Avoid intricate designs that might confuse ATS software
  • Save and submit your CV in PDF format to preserve formatting

2. Highlight digital proficiency

With remote work and digital communication becoming standard, showcasing your digital skills is vital. This includes proficiency with collaboration tools, software, and any relevant tech skills.

What to include:

  • Familiarity with remote work tools (e.g., Teams, Zoom, Slack, Trello)
  • Experience with industry-specific software
  • Basic coding or data analysis skills if relevant to your field

3. Focus on soft skills

Employers in 2024 are looking for candidates who not only have technical skills but also possess strong interpersonal abilities; these are more important to highlight than they’ve ever been.  

Key soft skills include:

  • Adaptability; flexibility
  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Problem-solving
  • Emotional intelligence

“A great CV tells a story. It shows progression, learning, and impact. Use compelling language to describe your experiences and quantify your achievements wherever possible.” – Liz Ryan, Founder of Human Workplace

4. Use keywords strategically

ATS systems search for specific keywords related to the job description. Ensure your CV includes these keywords to pass the initial screening.

How to do it:

  • Tailor your CV for each job application
  • Include keywords from the job posting naturally in your experience and skills sections
  • Avoid keyword stuffing, which can be detected and penalised!

5. Quantify your achievements

In 2024, data-driven results are more important than ever. Use metrics to quantify your achievements and show potential employers the impact you’ve made in previous roles.

Examples might include:

  • Increased sales by 20% over six months.
  • Managed a team of 10, leading to a 15% improvement in project completion rates.
  • Streamlined processes that reduced operational costs by 10%.“A CV is not a biography. It’s a selective record of achievement that highlights what makes you a perfect fit for the job you’re applying for. Tailor each CV to the specific role and company.” – John Lees, Career Strategist and Author

6. Include a professional summary

Start your CV with a professional summary that encapsulates your experience, skills, and career goals. This section should be a snapshot of what you’re going to bring to the table.

You might want to structure it like this:

  • 2-3 sentences summarizing your career background
  • Highlight your primary skills and achievements
  • Mention your career aspirations and how they align with the job you’re applying for

“The most effective CVs are those that showcase a candidate’s key accomplishments and results in a clear and concise manner. Highlighting these achievements at the top can immediately capture the attention of hiring managers.” – Lou Adler, CEO of The Adler Group

7. Keep it concise and relevant

While it’s tempting to include every job you’ve ever had, focus on the most relevant experiences that align with the job you’re applying for. Aim for a CV that’s no longer than two pages.

Top tips:

  • Use bullet points for clarity
  • Focus on the last 10-15 years of experience
  • Omit outdated or irrelevant positions

8. Prioritize continuous learning

In a rapidly changing job market, continuous learning is highly valued. Showcase any additional training, certifications, or courses that enhance your skill set.

Examples might include:

  • Online courses from platforms like Coursera, Udemy, or LinkedIn Learning
  • Certifications relevant to your industry
  • Workshops or seminars attended

9. Pay attention to detail

Errors in your CV can be a red flag to employers. Ensure your CV is free from spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, and inconsistencies.

How to do it:

  • Proofread multiple times.
  • Use tools like Grammarly for additional checking.
  • Have someone else review your CV for a fresh perspective.

10. Add a personal touch

While maintaining professionalism, adding a bit of personality can make your CV stand out. Include a section on hobbies or interests that may resonate with the company culture.

Examples might include:

  • Volunteer work
  • Personal projects or blogs
  • Hobbies that showcase leadership or creativity

Other good facts to know…

According to a survey by Jobvite, 47% of recruiters consider cover letters optional, but 26% regard them as important for demonstrating an applicant’s interest and communication skills.

92% of employers now check candidates’ social media profiles and LinkedIn during the hiring process. Therefore, aligning your CV with your online professional presence is crucial.

 

Our upcoming programme on The Future of Work

The world of work is shifting and changing all the time, and for business and individuals to thrive it is critical for leaders and HR professionals to be across what the future of work might look like. Whether in an SME, a start-up or a multi-national business, HR professionals are key changemakers on any organisation.

Having a perspective on how workforces can prepare for inevitable changes will enable HR leaders and their teams to cultivate success. ITN Business will showcase how HR professionals can stay ahead of the curve and adapt to the latest developments across the employment field, in ‘The Future of Work: People, Culture and Tech’.