10 Tips to Improve Your CV

Use these ten tips along with our CV checklist to create the perfect reskilling CV!

  1. Keep it concise – two pages is optimal unless you’re told otherwise.
  2. Stick to a basic format – personal details, academic background, work experience, professional/industry qualifications, other interests.
  3. Reverse chronological order – within each of these headings, lead the employer through your history starting with your most recent experience and working back. The idea is to show that you’ve gradually been gaining the skills and experience that is needed to be able to do this job. Don’t leave any ‘gaps’ in your history.
  4. Be specific – outline specific duties, responsibilities or experiences you’ve had (use our skills assessment template to help). You can’t assume that an employer in a new industry knows what your old job involved, you’ve really got to spell out the similarities. Also be sure to use their language when tailoring your CV – if they ask for a certain skill in a job advert then make sure you use their phrase when discussing the skill, you may think a different phrase means exactly the same thing… they might not.
  5. Keep it relevant – in terms of jobs, they should all be listed, but if there really are a limited number of transferable skills (are you sure you’ve considered everything?) then keep it brief and leave yourself the room to expand in other areas.
  6. Jargon & Abbreviations – you’ve got to remember you’re changing industries, don’t use too much jargon or the message might get lost.
  7. Don’t just list your jobs – list responsibilities, measurable successes, targets you met and key achievements. If possible, keep note for interviews as to how this is transferrable to the new job and industry you’re applying for.
  8. Keep it legible – there’s a temptation when you feel restricted by space to just make the font smaller and reduce the spacing of your document. Don’t do it! You want your CV to be easy to read – don’t put the employer off before they’ve even read about you!
  9. Be clear – take time to consider the key points and make sure they stand out once on paper, use formatting (such as bold and underlining) to make key points obvious on the page.
  10. Print it out – when you think you’re done, print a copy. There is a good chance this is how the employer will view it, so it’s important that everything looks good on paper. Put it down, do something else and come back to re-read it with a clear head and fresh eyes. Still happy? Then you’re probably ready to give it to someone else to read!

Want a crucial bonus tip?! Have at least three other people read your completed CV and give you feedback – honest feedback! These should ideally be people in the pharma or med device industries, who can give you specific and constructive comments. Having spent as long as you have on your CV, it is easy to find a lot of recommended changes demoralising but it’s better to hear it all at this point in the process, so accept their feedback graciously!

And at the end of all that, you’ll have a knockout CV that not only mentions your career history and reskilling journey but sells them as major benefits to an employer. Good luck!

CV Checklist – Template