Essential tips to stand out from the crowd
By Leanne Styles
Today’s employment market is more competitive than ever, and with some employers receiving hundreds of applications for just one position, ensuring your CV stands out from the crowd can feel like an impossible challenge.
But all is not lost. With a few simple steps, you can create a professional, eye-catching CV which is guaranteed to increase your chances of an employer placing your application in the ‘shortlisted’ pile rather than banishing it to the dreaded recycle bin.
#1 Hook Your Reader
Grabbing a potential employer’s attention in the first few lines of your CV is crucial if you want them to read on. This means writing a great personal statement. As well as being well-crafted, with zero grammatical errors, it should also clearly highlight your strengths and talents, detail your working ambitions, and include any work experience or personal qualities which demonstrate why you feel you are the best match for the role. For further tips on hooking a prospective employer early on in your CV, check out our piece on getting a employers attention in 60 seconds.
#2 Do Your Research
Remember, potential employers are people too. And they like to feel special. You don’t need to go overboard; but if there is an opportunity in your personal statement to mention why you’d like to work for the employer’s company, and how you think your skills and attributes would lend themselves to the company’s ethos, then you should certainly take it. Showing that you have taken the time to look into the company and how they operate demonstrates a real desire that could give you the edge over other applicants.
#3 Keep It Professional
A professional looking, well-written CV will go a long way towards ensuring that you make it to the interview stage. Typos and spelling mistakes are a big no-no. Taking time to proof-read your CV – editing the content and correcting any grammatical errors ‒ will show the employer that you really care about your reputation and are serious about the position you are applying for. Ask someone you trust to check your CV over, as they may spot mistakes you haven’t and suggest ways in which you can improve it.
#4 Back-Up Your Claims
When listing achievements and skills in the employment section of your CV, be sure to include any facts and figures which support your statements. Employers love to see examples of your work achievements, as this can demonstrate to them how well you’ve performed in your previous roles, and what skills and talents you may bring to the new role.
#5 Show Them Who You Are
There’s a fine line between a professional CV and a boring one. As well as detailing your work experience and career objectives, potential employers also like to get a sense of your personality. This helps them establish how well you might fit into the company and work with your potential colleagues. One place you can inject some life into your CV is the achievements/additional information section. This is your chance to show an employer a more personal side of yourself. Try to include any extra-curricular activities and hobbies which you feel are relevant to the role you are applying for. For example ‒ if you’re applying for a job as an animal carer, then a love of animals and any hobbies involving working with or interacting with animals would be a huge plus in an employer’s eyes!
Top tip: Read your CV backwards. It may sound strange, but reading each sentence backwards will help you focus on the individual words instead of skim-reading and automatically filling in the blanks, thus helping you to spot any mistakes!
A bit about Leanne
Leanne is an author and professional content producer for a variety of websites. She has over five years experience of creating content for career and CV websites and publications, including Jobulo.com. She is also a professional lover of literature, coffee and laughter.
You may also want to check out the Top 5 Skills Employers Want to See on a CV.