Judging by recent reports by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, Office for National Statistics and Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, it is clear that Britain's jobs market is improving.
The economy is starting to recover and many businesses feel confident enough to advertise new roles, which is obviously great news for jobseekers. In theory this means that applicants stand a far better chance of landing a new job than in previous years, but the reality is that competition for each vacancy is still incredibly intense.
Employers will receive hundreds of applications for each posting and with so many CVs to vet, they are looking for somebody to stand out from the crowd. The last thing you want to do is produce a bland, generic resume that is instantly sent to the bottom of the pile.
Here's a few tips on how you can sell yourself to potential employers.
Don't use buzzwords!
A sure-fire way to alienate your reader is to fill your CV with cringeworthy buzzwords.
Far too many people still insist on using phrases like "moving forward", "touch base", "thinking outside the box" and "I would action that" - the kind of words that have crept into business speak and are commonly used by contestants on The Apprentice.
It's also a good idea to avoid cliches, so don't refer to yourself as a "hard-working", "enthusiastic" and "punctual" individual. These are generic traits that all jobseekers are expected to have, so don't waste valuable space on your CV by including these terms.
It is widely reported that many employers take no more than ten seconds to skim through a CV and if they are not instantly impressed, you are not going to get an interview.
This is why it is so important to write a strong opening, in which you should list your key skills and experience and how this will enable you to successfully fulfill the role. There is no value in jotting down your GCSEs or some irrelevant work experience that you did when you were 16 if they are not central to the position you are applying for, so make sure all of the important information is right at the top.
Don't repeat yourself
It is usually advisable to write a covering letter when applying for a new job and it is easy for candidates to simply produce a carbon copy of their CV.
Your letter and resume should complement each other, but they should ultimately be different. You have a limited number of words in which to sell yourself, so make sure you use every single one of them.
Don't try to be too clever
You want your CV to stand out against those of rival applicants, but don't be tempted to be too wacky or controversial.
A little bit of humour might not hurt, but if you litter your resume with puns, jokes and chatty language, you will find that employers do not take you seriously. It is possible to be professional without being boring.
Presentation is key
As already mentioned, job applicants only have a matter of seconds to impress an employer with their CV, so good presentation is vital.
A piece of paper that is full of unbroken prose will not grab the attention of a reader, so use bullet points to get your key information across. Also, don't be afraid to use bold fonts, especially at the start of your resume.
Don't lie or mislead the reader
Everybody bends the truth in their CV, right?
While this may be true for a lot of people, this can really come back to haunt you further down the line. Falsely telling an employer you have plenty of experience of using HTML will ultimately come back to bite you when you are asked to set up a basic webpage on your first day in the job.
Avoid spelling and grammar mistakes
This should be a given, but you'd be surprised at just how many job applicants make basic errors in their CV.
With so many applications to sift through, many employers will instantly discard your CV if they spot a spelling or grammatical mistake, even if you have plenty of valuable experience and expertise that suit the role in question.
How Search can help
Search can give you hints and tips on how to improve your CV and writing skills. Our specialist consultants have built strong relationships with employers in almost every employment sector, and are on hand to offer their specialist guidance and support.