How to make your CV standout

Does your CV need a revamp? Are you applying for jobs but getting no response? We spoke to CV Library about the best ways to make sure your CV is selling you at your best in a competitive job market.

With more employers looking to grow their workforce, now could be the perfect time to look for a new role. But where do you start? And how can you ensure that you stand out from the crowd?

Your CV is always the place to start. This document is designed to showcase your skills to potential employers and ultimately, tell them why you’re the perfect applicant for the job.

Crafting a winning CV is by no means easy, especially if you’re being measured against hundreds of other candidates. However, if you spend time on making your CV stand out, you’ll be able to secure a number of interviews, in no time. Read on for our advice and guidance.

Stick to a clear structure

Firstly, you need to map out the structure of your CV. Start with your name and contact details at the top, and avoid including any unnecessary information such as your marital status or date of birth.

You can then focus on your personal profile: a short paragraph that sits at the top of your CV and outlines a little bit about you and what your career goals are, in just a few sentences.

Next, your work experience and education sections should follow. Focus on the key skills and lessons you’ve learnt in each of these and depending on which stage you’re at in your career, pay attention to the most relevant parts.

You could then choose to have a ‘key skills’ or a ‘hobbies & interests’ section. It all depends on what’s going to benefit your application and make you stand out.

Either way, sticking to a clear structure is important. Your CV should be easy to read and digest. You don’t want to put the reader off by poor formatting.

Bring your skills to life

Be sure to include relevant examples in your CV that help to bring your skills to life and showcase what you could bring to the role.

For example, if you’re looking for a marketing job, it’s all very well saying that you ‘ran exciting marketing campaigns’, but that’s not going to give very much away about what you’re capable of.

Instead, you could try stating ‘planned and executed several key marketing campaigns, resulting in a 20% increase in customer engagement’.

Always think of the ‘so what’ factor. It’s not always easy to do, but you should never say something for the sake of it. Any examples that you can provide, will definitely help your case.

Cross-reference with the job advert

In order to grab the recruiter’s attention, you need to show that you’re the perfect fit for the role. This can be achieved by honing in on the points included in the job advert and ensuring these are reflected in your CV.

For example, take a look at the ‘key skills/requirements’ (or similar) section of the job description. Can you comfortably say that you’re proficient in all of these areas? If so, that’s great! You can start peppering these keywords through your CV.

In addition, it might be that you’ve undertaken similar responsibilities to what would be asked of you in this role. Again, think about the keyword you can pick out. This will help to make your CV more visible in recruiter searches too.

Tailor your CV to the job

Similar to the above point, it’s extremely important to tailor your CV to every job you apply to. It might seem like a tedious task, but it will help to show to the employer why you’re a great fit for the role.

Pay close attention to the contents of the job description, and do your research on the company. This will help you to match your career aspirations to the company’s own goals. For example, if you were looking for a job as a teaching assistant, you may reference some of the school’s core values.

Just make sure you don’t twist the truth. It’s all very well showing off why you’re the perfect candidate, but if it’s all one big lie, you’ll probably get found out later down the line.

Ready to make your CV standout?

Your CV is the gateway to your career. Therefore, it’s important to spend the necessary time tweaking and tailoring it to each job you apply to. Get it right and you’ll stand a much better chance of landing your ideal job – good luck!

CV-Library is a leading job board in the UK and owns several other sector specific sites, including JobsMedical.

Next Steps

  • CV-Library is the UK's fastest-growing job site, with 186,164 live vacancies across all industries. You can find more career advice written by experts on their website.
  • Looking for a mentor to help boost your knowledge and skills? Find a youth zone close to you.
  • Reveal your skills with Define Me and find the right words to tell employers.
  • Download Motimator - an app that helps you get the career you want - by giving you a gentle kick up the ass each day when motivation is running low.
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Updated on 05-Jul-2018