4 surefire ways to make your CV stand out from the crowd

Job-hunting is tricky business. With hundreds of applicants for every vacancy, and a plethora of different sites where recruiters can source prospective candidates, it can often feel like an impossible task trying to get yourself noticed. In an ultra-competitive market, there are lots of candidates with similar experience and qualifications, so the important thing is to present yourself in a way that gives you the edge. Here are our top 4 tips to make your CV stand out from the crowd.

Write a killer personal statement

Your personal statement or profile at the top of your CV is essentially your elevator pitch. It’s the first thing that recruiters or hiring managers will read (and sometimes the only thing, if you believe the stats that claim that the average time someone spends reading a CV is less than six seconds) so it’s crucial that you quickly and succinctly get to the core of who you are and what you do. Less is certainly more in this instance, and this is an opportunity to clearly establish your USP. Nail the personal statement, and the rest of your CV will follow.

Be concise and keep it relevant

The general rule when it comes to writing a CV is to keep it to two pages or under. Whilst that’s not always viable, especially for complex or senior positions that require a lot of diverse experience, it’s always good to keep your CV as brief as possible. The key to being concise is to cut out, or at least curtail, anything that isn’t directly relevant to the job you’re applying for. Just because you’ve got twenty-five years’ experience, doesn’t mean that your CV needs to be five or six pages long. You should write detailed descriptions for your most recent or relevant jobs, but everything else can just be listed with company name, job title and dates.

Make it easy to read

A lot of candidates seem to think that their qualifications and experience will speak for themselves on a CV, but this is by no means always the case. Layout and formatting are a hugely important factor, and can be the difference between a CV capturing someone’s attention and it being missed. First of all, try and keep the formatting consistent throughout the whole document. That means the same font, regular spacing, and a consistent structure used throughout the job history section (i.e. job title; company name; dates). Secondly, make sure that there are clearly outlined headings and subheadings so that a recruiter can easily scan different sections. Lastly, as a general rule, bullet points tend to read easier on a CV than long paragraphs, especially if you’re listing responsibilities in a role, so try and stick to this format.

Be original, but not too original

We see hundreds of CVs every week, so there’s very little that can surprise us anymore. We’ve seen CVs laid out as infographics, magazine covers, timelines, and even takeaway menus and tube maps. A little creativity never hurt anyone, and if you can pull it off, it’s a great way to edge ahead of the competition. However, there’s a risk of it coming off as a novelty or a gimmick, and you don’t want it to distract from more important aspects – namely, your skills and experience. Of course, it depends on the industry you’re in, and CVs of this nature are always going to be more appropriate if you’re a Graphic Designer or a Marketing Executive. Nonetheless, it’s important to make sure you don’t stand out for the wrong reasons.

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