5 Ways to make your CV stand out
Getting a job these days isn’t always easy – in fact it isn’t ever easy! When jobs get advertised, employers and recruiters alike generally get inundated with CVs and applications so it stands to reason then that if you are to give yourself the best opportunity of being successful, that you need to ensure that your CV gets noticed. We’re not recommending printing it on fluorescent paper or such like, but instead making sure that it impresses an employer by its contents. How can you do that ? Well, here are 5 Ways to make your CV stand out for a start…
When referring to your employment history, if you simply list all the standard job duties for a particular position, you are probably doing what every other candidate is. If instead however you outline how you specifically achieved in that role, how you added value to your employer, it’s a different story. Providing evidence of your achievements is one way of distinguishing you from other candidates who have applied – they are the things that make you stand out. An employer will be much more impressed with detail about tangible successes and achievements as opposed to simply a cut and pasted job description. Remember – it is the facts, figures and results that count.
Tailor it to the job
We really can’t stress enough how important it is to do this. An employer wants to see a CV that is a good match for their position, not just a generic CV that they can tell you have sent out en masse for every vacancy that you see. Look at the job advertisement and job description and then try and objectively assess your CV. Do you seem to meet the essential criteria? Have you provided proof that you have the experience and skills that the employer is seeking? Does your personal profile indicate career aspirations that are relevant to this job, career and industry? If the answer to any of these questions is ‘No’, then it’s time to take stock and update and tailor your CV accordingly.
Many job boards and recruitment agencies in particular use quite sophisticated online systems for shortlisting candidates. Candidates are vetted by how close a match they are to the job vacancy and one of the ways that is undertaken is by assessing if particular keywords are in evidence on their CV. Chances are if the words aren’t present, you won’t be selected. It’s important therefore to use relevant keywords throughout your CV. How can you find out what they are? Well, again it comes down to looking at the job description or advertisement. Look at the key requirements, the mandatory criteria. If you don’t use similar words to an employer describe a skill or a job duty, then you may unfortunately get through the net. We’re not of course advocating replicating exactly what an employer has written; however instead select the main key or ‘buzz’ words and make sure that you use them.
Make it concise and readable
The general consensus seems to be that the ‘ideal’ CV ought to be a pretty standard A4 document and no longer than 2 pages in length. Certainly that is the norm and unless you are in an industry where a longer CV or a CV in other formats is deemed acceptable, it’s probably best to adhere to this. Those 2 pages then can make or break you being selected for a job. When you consider the sheer volume of CVs that employers and recruiters receive these days and the fact that they literally take seconds to decide if your CV goes into the shortlisted or rejected pile, it’s important that in those few seconds your CV serves its purpose and gets you put in the former pile – not the latter! To do that, make sure that it is clear, concise and that it is easy to read. Ensure that all sections are distinct from each other and use bullet points. Remember a CV is not an essay so avoid long wordy paragraphs throughout.
Leave no questions
If you have gaps in your employment history and don’t clearly explain what you have been doing during those gaps, you are making an employer ask questions. When they are looking at a pile of CVs however, they won’t have the time necessarily to ask those questions and may instead simply pass over your CV and move on to the next candidate. The key thing is to ensure that you cover all bases – fill in the gaps as it were. Make sure that your CV doesn’t make an employer wonder what you did during that gap period - leave no questions unanswered. Provide a full and detailed account of your education and work history and you stand a much better chance of your CV standing out.
We hope that these tips on how to make your CV stand out go some way towards helping you if you’re currently in the process of applying for jobs. Got any other tips to share? Why not let us know via the comments section below.
CV ready to go? Why not send it to the professionals and get a free CV review before you send it to the employer or recruiter?