How to make your CV stand out

CVs are really tricky to write, especially good ones. You need to know exactly what employers want to see to make it as enticing as possible. We asked the experts at CV Library how to make your CV stand out to get some tips that’ll give you the best odds in a competitive job market.

A group of young people want to write a stand-out CV. This is a wide-angle image.

Before we get into how to make your CV stand out, if you’re yet to write your CV, you might first like to check out our article on how to write a CV here. Then have a look at our CV checklist to make sure you’ve covered everything you need to. Plus, we’ve also got some tips on how to write a cover letter here which are worth a read.

Why a standout CV is important

With more employers looking to grow their workforce, now could be the perfect time to start the job hunt. But where exactly do you start? And how can you ensure that you stand out from the crowd?

Well, that’s easy. Your CV is always the best place to get the ball rolling. It’s literally designed to showcase your skills and experience to potential employers and ultimately, tell them why you’re the perfect job applicant. 

That’s not to say that crafting a standout CV is easy. Especially if you’re being measured against hundreds of other candidates. However, if you put in the time and effort to make your CV stand out, you should be able to secure a number of interviews in no time.

If you’re looking for a template to start with, Jobseeker has some great ones here, which are free to download.

How to make your CV stand out

  1. Stick to a clear structureFirstly, you need to map out the structure of your CV. Start with your name and contact details at the top. Remember, you should always avoid including any unnecessary information such as your private social media handles or date of birth.Then focus on your personal statement: a short paragraph that sits at the top of your CV and outlines a little bit about you and what your career goals are. You’ll have to keep this to just a few sentences.

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

    You might also 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, logical , bullet pointed structure is important. Your CV should be easy to read and digest. That way the reader won’t be put off by poor formatting. And if you’re unsure then just look up CV templates online.

  2. Bring your skills to lifeHow to make your CV standout? Let them know what you’re capable of. Be sure to include examples of relevant skills in your CV. This’ll help to bring your abilities 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 doesn’t really prove anything.Instead, you could try stating ‘planned and executed several key marketing campaigns, resulting in a 20% increase in customer engagement’. This gives the employer something tangible to work with.

    Try and think of the ‘so what’ factor. It’s easier said than done, but you should never write something just to pad your CV. And any examples that you can provide, will definitely help your case.

  3. Cross-reference with the job advertIf you really wanna grab the hiring manager’s attention, you need to show that you’re the perfect fit for the role. This can be achieved by honing in on the specific points included in the job advert. That way you can make sure these are reflected in your CV.So, 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 those keywords through your CV.

    Have you taken on any similar roles in any of your previous jobs? If so, think about the keyword you can pick out. This’ll help to make your CV more visible in recruiter searches too.

  4. Tailor your CV to the jobSimilar 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’ll honestly pay off. The employer will be able to see why you’re a great fit for that particular role.To do this, you need to pay close attention to the contents of the job description, and do your research on the company. From there, you can match your career aspirations to the company’s own goals. Say you were looking for a job as a teaching assistant, by altering your CV slightly you could reference some of the school’s core values in your application.

    This comes with a word of caution though. Just make sure you don’t twist the truth. It’s all very well showing off why you’re the perfect candidate. Problem is, if it’s all one big lie, you’ll probably just end up tryna learn french in one day á la Joey from Friends

Ready to make your CV stand out?

Remember, your CV is the gateway to your career. This means that it’s mega-important to spend time tweaking and tailoring throughout the job search. Get it right and you’ll stand a much better chance of landing your ideal job – good luck!

Now you’ve got all the CV advice you could ever need, you’d best have a read of some job interview tips

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.
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By Nishika Melwani

Updated on 05-Jun-2022