I've been reading a lot of CVs recently as we've been hiring at my work and have also been applying for a lot of jobs myself, so I thought it may be useful to give some tips on job applications from things I've spotted in other people's and mistakes that I know I've made myself.
Always adjust your CV
I think some people make a CV once and then just leave it and send it out with every application. It's so incredibly important to adjust your CV for the role you're applying for. I have a retail CV which highlights my experience in customer service and doesn't focus on my education and marketing experience so much, and I have a marketing CV which is the exact opposite. Before you send off your application, have a quick look through your CV and see if you have highlighted all the skills they are looking for.
Simplicity is always better
I have seen so many CVs where the applicant has written paragraphs about each job, and it's great that they have made that effort, but no one is actually going to read that. Always try and go for a simple layout that flows well and makes it easy for the hiring manager to scan quickly. If they can glance over it and see the main skills and experience they are looking for, then they will come back and read it in more detail. If they are faced with a large block of text that they have to spend ten minutes sifting through, they probably won't bother.
Put the most important information on the first page
Your CV should never be longer than two pages but I'm a firm believer in having the most important information on the first page. My CV starts with my contact information, a short profile highlighting my main skills (this is literally only two sentences) and a summary of my education. Note: you do NOT need to list all the GSCEs you did, this just takes up valuable space and it's something that I see a lot. If you feel like you should mention your grades, go for something like 'Five As and three A*s including mathematics and biology'. Chances are if you have a degree, people won't care about your GCSE grades at all so there's no point including them for the sake of it. After my education summary I have a section called 'Relevant experience' where I list all the experience that is (you guessed it) relevant for the job I'm applying for. Organising things this way means that the first page isn't cluttered with things like my current sales job, when what I'm applying for is a marketing role. All my other experience is then listed on the second page, along with some interests (I always think this adds a nice personal touch and makes you more interesting), my language and IT skills. This way the recruiter can see the main things they need at a glance but can still see all my experience if the first page has piqued their interest.
A good cover letter goes a long way
We've covered the CV, let's talk about the cover letter. It's an extension of your CV where you can really highlight your skills and tell the company why you would be the best person for the job. I usually like to start with a short paragraph about why I want to work in that specific company and then delve into my specific skills and how I could apply them in that job. I do have a template for my cover letter because obviously I tend to mention the same things, but it's incredibly important that you review this for every single job to show them not only that you're the person they're looking for, but also that you have a genuine interest in working for their company.