How to make your CV stand out

Recruiters are busy people, meaning they don’t have a lot of time to scan and assess your CV. In fact, it’s been said that job hunters have just seven seconds to impress with their CV, before the reader decides whether they’re a good match for the job or not.

Sounds like a lot of pressure, right? But don’t panic! If you’re currently looking for a job, here are a few simple but effective ways you can get noticed and make your CV stand out from the crowd.

Spend time on your personal statement

You need to start strong. Your personal statement is the first part of your CV that recruiters will read (other than your name!) so it needs to grab their attention. Keep this section short and sweet. Between 50 – 200 words should be enough, but the more concise you can make it, the better.

Not sure what to include in your personal profile? This is your career overview so you should outline who you are, what your skills are and what your career goals.

Use keywords throughout

In order to quickly and effectively show that you’ve got the right skills, use the job description to guide you. Go through and carefully pick out the skills and characteristics that the employer is looking for. You can then use these keywords in your CV to highlight that you tick the right boxes. For example, you might use phrases like ‘great customer service’ or ‘highly organised’.  

These keywords are easier for recruiter to pick out when they’re skimming through, so remember to spend some time including these in your application. Only if they match your skill set of course – lying on your CV is not a good idea!

Emphasise the results

Don’t just include a long list of responsibilities from your previous roles. Instead, make sure you emphasize the results you achieved and how these benefited the business.

For example, you could say ‘I managed a team of 10’ or ‘I waited 20 tables each night’. Quantifying your achievements will help you to stand out and prove you get real results. 

Tailor every CV

Every CV you submit needs to be tailored to the role and business you’re applying to. That means including the relevant skills and keywords from the job description and potentially referring to your knowledge of the company.

Don’t be fooled, recruiters can spot a generic CV from a mile off. If they don’t think you’ve put any effort into your application, or that you’re just hoping to secure any job that comes along, they’re unlikely to consider you.

Pick a clear layout

Finally, make sure you choose a clear layout. It can be tempting to try and pick something creative or unique. And while that’s great, you need to make sure it’s easy to read and not too distracting. It’s best to stick with a simple layout, use clear font in at least size 12, and only include information relevant to the role. 

Follow this advice and put some careful thought into your CV – and you’ll land yourself an interview in no time! 


About the author: Tash Larkin is PR and Communications Assistant at the UK’s leading independent job board, CV-Library. For more expert advice on job searches, careers and the workplace, visit their Career Advice pages.

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Photo: Todor Tsvetkov

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