Build a Better CV in 20 Minutes or Less

The average recruiter reads between 50-100 CVs per day. In a perfect world, your CV would be read thoroughly from top to bottom, but the reality is the people who read your applications take no more than a minute to skim read your CV. Because of this, it’s absolutely crucial to make your CV stand out.

Many people make the mistake of uploading their CV to a job board in an application for one specific role, then failing to continually refresh it as their experience and career aspirations change. But you don’t need to spend a considerable amount of time updating your details. In fact, you can make all the necessary changes to your CV in 20 minutes or less. That short period of time could be the difference between one interview invite or ten.


Considering you need to impress recruiters in such a short space of time, these are the changes you should focus on to ensure you stand out from the crowd and land the job of your dreams!


If your SPAG isn’t on point, don’t expect to hear back about any application. Whilst it may seem the most obvious advice, ensuring your spelling and grammar is correct will improve the first impressions you give to people reading your CV. Its easy to do too. Run a spelling and grammar check on Word, once this is done, get a friend or family member to skim read your CV; a second eye is useful to spot any errors that could be detrimental for first impressions.



Nothing makes a recruiter close your document faster than a poorly formatted CV. If you have different fonts and font sizes throughout, a pointless thick border or misalignment of paragraphs, this is a sure-fire way to make a recruiter stop reading your CV. Make sure you’ve addressed the following;


  • Fonts and font sizes are consistent (Keep the font professional, avoid comic sans and aim for font sizes 11-14)
  • Enlarge important details (your name and contact details)
  • Sensibly order your content. This is the recommended order to use:

Name & contact details first > Personal Statement > Work experience in reverse chronological order > Education & Professional qualifications > Hobbies and relevant interests


Keep it Relevant

The job market is too competitive to keep your CV generic. Consider exactly what the employer is looking for, and tailor your CV to match it. There’s no need to have four pages of experience that aren’t relevant to the role you’re applying to. Its great that you had a part time bar job when you were 18, but its not necessarily relevant to the marketing manager role you’re applying to now. But, if you can think of a genuine reason to include seemingly irrelevant experience because you picked up important skills, go for it, just try to keep your CV to two pages or less.


Social Media

Whilst this isn’t exactly for your CV, a common practice amongst recruiters and hiring managers is to run a social media search on prospective candidates. Make sure your LinkedIn experience and skills match those mentioned on your CV. Finally, check that whatever publicly available social media profiles you use are appropriate, should they be viewed by prospective employers.

The four key points covered here are more than doable in twenty minutes or less. Even if you’re not actively seeking new opportunities, updating your CV on job boards helps recruiters head hunt you for great opportunities that are well matched to your experience. If you’d like further advice building a great CV, get in touch with the team here at Cute.

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