So, what makes a good CV? One that you spend time and energy on tailoring to the role. You can absolutely put a great CV together with a little effort!
Does your CV include relevant information that positions you well for the role? Anything you include should be backed up and include context and help the reader your track performance and impact. If you don't have much work experience, work with what you have and highlight skills and experience developed in your academic studies, but nothing beats work experience on your CV so make sure you try and get some!
Less is more- don't waffle, write in focused data bursts of information. This is their first example of your communication skills, and a single spelling or grammatical mistake can get your CV binned. It should not be more than two pages in length max. Always review it and then make sure someone else looks over it for you before you send it off into the big wide world to seek its fortune!
Layouts may change depending on the sector, but you should make your formatting consistent, well-structured, and pleasing to the eye with a good balance of text and white space. It should look professional, be easy to read and flow in a logical way. Use bold headings to transition to new sections, and bullet points to draw attention to key information. The average recruiter spends between 6 to 8 seconds scanning a CV to decide if it is worth reading. Don't make them say "Why am I still reading this?" Make sure all the key knock-out info you want them to know about you is easy to find in the top half of your first page, they won't go looking for it!
In a word, yes! Most recruiters use Applicant Tracking Systems (APS) software to filter out any CVs without the relevant keywords from the job description to streamline their recruiting process. If you've been sending out the same CV for loads of different jobs and never heard a peep back, your CV probably never got past gatekeeper APS. But it's going to be different from now on because now you know how to optimise your CV for APS and have improved your chances of being shortlisted for interviews!