Landing your dream role can be challenging at the best of times - especially if your CV isn’t relevant, up-to-date, or accurate.
Your CV (curriculum vitae) should effectively highlight your skillset and showcase why you are the perfect candidate for the job - but how exactly do you get your CV to shine and stand out from the countless other CVs being sent to potential employers?
That’s what we’ll be exploring in this blog post. Read on for our top 5 tips on how you can stand out from the crowd and demonstrate to potential employers that you’re the right fit for the job.
First of all, one size does not fit all when it comes to CVs - you should tailor your CV to each role you are applying for. Simply sending out the same CV to a long list of employers won’t work in your favour.
Instead, study the job description and research the job title and role so you can tailor your CV. Highlight any of your hobbies and interests that coincide with the company culture - for example, if you’re interested in reading and the company has a book club, emphasise your love of reading and mention some of your favourite books.
Be sure to include any relevant skills you have that are mentioned in the job description, as well as any other skills and experience you may have that could be helpful to your application.
Likewise, remove any skills from your CV that aren’t relevant to the role - this is going to waste the hiring manager’s time and may lead to them hiring somebody more suitable for the role.
Although it may take a little more time to amend your CV each time you apply for a role, it will be worth it in the long term. Sending out several tailored CVs is sure to be much more effective than sending out hundreds of generic CVs.
Your CV should be clear, concise and readable. Hiring managers will typically look through a handful of CVs, so they may not spend too much time looking at each document. This is why readability is key - your CV should be easy to read and understand.
Many people will begin with a brief summary of their key skills - bullet points can be a great way to ensure your skills stand out.
Avoid ‘over the top’ designs - instead, stick to a professional format. You want the attention to be on your skills and experience, not bright, flashy images. There are several online tools you can use to format your CV, as well as Microsoft Word and Google Docs tools.
We recommend that you send your CV in a PDF format - this not only looks more professional but ensures that the formatting remains in place.
Additionally, ensure the actual content of your CV isn’t too complicated - you want the hiring manager to understand what you’re trying to say.
When you write a CV, remember that one small mistake can cost you the job. HR professionals and hiring managers will potentially look through hundreds of CVs, and many will instantly dismiss an application with checking errors.
Be sure to proofread your CV for any mistakes, and utilise any spell-checking or grammar tools such as Grammarly or the Google Docs spell checker. Checking errors in your CV ultimately indicates to employers that you don’t care enough about the job to check your CV.
It can also be helpful to have somebody else proofread your CV - they may suggest edits, or pick up on things you did not notice before. A fresh pair of eyes can make a huge difference.
Double-check that your contact details are correct - grammar checkers won’t pick up on mistakes in your phone number or email address. If you put a wrong digit in your contact number or misspell your email address, you could potentially miss out on your job. After all, how is the employer supposed to contact you to invite you to an interview?
Assess how your CV is structured. Instead of leaving the most important or relevant skills or experience you have to the end of your CV, highlight it at the beginning of your CV.
Write your CV in reverse chronological order. This can make your CV look much more impressive. When writing your work history, you should begin with your most recent role. After all, this is probably at a much higher level than your first-ever job.
Many employers or hiring managers sill scan through a document without reading the whole thing - so make sure you’re putting the most important and most relevant information at the top. Begin with the most essential aspects, and focus on your most recent, prominent achievements. Our CV builder can help ensure your CV is structured well.
Finally, make sure you’re using relevant keywords or ‘buzzwords’ - especially if the employer uses an ATS (applicant tracking system). However, take care to avoid ‘stuffing’ them in; only use them where relevant.
Employers will often use keywords to find the right candidates. The keywords they use are often based around the job title and included in the job description.
Make sure you’re thoroughly reading the job description, as well as the company’s social media accounts, website, and reviews - this can help you understand exactly what it is the hiring manager is looking for.
Using synonyms for the role can also be helpful - for example, if you’re applying for a tech role, use relevant terms such as ‘computer technology’, ‘computer science’, ‘IT’, etc.
Don’t be afraid to use industry-specific terminology in your CV to demonstrate your competence, and be sure to highlight your achievements and qualifications.