How to make your CV stand out from the crowd

Writing a good CV is one thing, but adding the wow factor can be hard to achieve in a competitive jobs market. The first rule, above everything else is to show off your experience and skills in a clear and concise way. We list the other ways to polish up your paperwork.

CV_standoutStart with a punchy intro – Put yourself in the shoes of the hiring manager. When they’re managing the recruitment of a position, their time will largely consist of looking at CVs and cover letters, over and over again. Therefore, it’s important to start your CV with a strong, punchy intro that outlines your top line experience, passions and skills. This is also a great place to state your enthusiasm for the role and why you would like to work for the business – but expand these areas in more detail within your cover letter.

Emphasise your results – showing off your past responsibilities at work is great, but the best way to give real insights on the impact of your work is to outline your best career results, using quantifiable data, for example ‘Sales increased by X% under my management between X date and X date.’ This will help to connect the dots between what you say you have done and what you’ve actually managed to achieve.

Use positive words – If you’re being interviewed for a position, taking a positive attitude toward your experiences and past employer is the best route to take. The same applies to your CV. Using positive words reflects well on you as a candidate and your ability to work with others.

Write proactively – In the same vein, proactive words like ‘innovative’, ‘adaptable’ and ‘implement’ all send out a strong signal that you’re a doer in the workplace. When you combine these with your results, your CV becomes a top marketing tool.

Avoid hyperbole – There’s a fine line between presenting yourself in a confident way and being slightly arrogant. Read what you’re saying out loud. If you wouldn’t be comfortable reading this to someone else, you may have taken a step too far. If you can’t pitch yourself and what you do in 10 lines or less, go back to the drawing board to prioritise your best qualities as a candidate.

Tailor – Just behind length in the scale of important dos and don’ts is the must-do process of tailoring each application with keywords from the application so that you’ll pass through the filter stage. Don’t be tempted to whizz through your CV without focusing on the detail!

Choose a font that is easy to read - There’s a reason why most documents you see are restricted to a very limited number of fonts: they’re easy to read!

Know your industry – The chance that you’ll be asked a specific question about your industry, from news and trends to predictions and companies, is highly likely. Hiring managers need to know that you can do the job well, but also that you’re passionate about your industry. Try matching what you have done in the past to what is happening in the industry now. Did you spot a trend before it took off? Were you implementing forward-thinking strategies that worked? Again, expand any points you make in your CV in your cover letter.

For more tips and advice, visit our Employability Zone jobs portals.