It’s not easy to ensure that your CV stands out amongst a crowd of others, or that it makes that all-important employer shortlist. So what can you do to make it as attention-grabbing as possible? Thankfully, we came across a list of top tips on The Telegraph website, written by leading career coach Jeremy I’Anson. Here’s his advice:
1. Ask yourself, “so what?”
As the article explains, it’s no use making dull statements that aren’t backed up with more detail and a clear end result. For example, simply stating that you led a team of a dozen staff may not be enough to impress the reader. Instead, imagine the employer asking, “So what?” By adding a result to that statement – ie. “led a team of a dozen staff who all beat their targets” – you transform the statement into something far more powerful.
2. Use keywords
The use of automated CV screening means that it’s now essential to include keywords in your CV and covering letters. Do your research to find out which phrases come up in similar job descriptions, and use these in your printed CVs as well as in any online profiles, such as LinkedIn.
3. Keep it simple
Your CV shouldn’t be pages and pages long – most recruiters just don’t have enough time to read through that much material, so will more than likely pass onto the next applicant. Try to fit everything onto two pages. If you have a long career to fit in, consider leaving out the details of positions held more than ten years ago; you could list the dates and job titles, but leave out the rest.
4. Keep wording brief
Not only will keeping your sentences succinct help you fit more onto a page, it also makes for an easier read and will ensure that the necessary information gets through. You may think that longer sentences sound impressive, but carefully editing your work shows that you can get straight to the point.
5. Maintain focus
If your background and experience are varied, try to ensure that your CV is focused on the particular role that you are applying for. If you are interested in two very separate areas of work, then it’s a good idea to create two separate versions of your CV, rather than have confused text that doesn’t give a clear representation of your skills.
6. Customise your CV for each job
Along with the previous point goes the fact that you shouldn’t send the same CV out to every job you apply for. Customising the document for each application will ensure that you meet the exact job specifications the employer is looking for, which will help you stand out from the rest.
7. Note your achievements
Don’t be afraid to show off; employers don’t just want to know the tasks you carried out at work, they want to know what things you have actually achieved and whether you made a real difference as an employee. Use the STAR model (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to help, and make sure that the achievements you list are relevant to the job in question.
With these tips in mind, we’re sure you’ll be able to make the necessary adaptations to your CV that can help it to reflect the best of what you have to offer.