The way you represent yourself through your CV is crucial to getting noticed by hiring managers. Your CV must create an optimal first impression of yourself, as it’s most probably going to be the first point of contact that the hiring manager has with you as a candidate. It’s common knowledge that professionals in control of an organisation’s recruitment process spend a very fleeting amount of time looking at your CV, as they sieve through applications and decide who to invite to interview. So, how can you ensure that your application survives this process and ends up in the successful pile on the hiring manager's desk? Below we have provided some pointers to pay good attention to if you want to make sure your CV stands out against the crowd.
1. Is your personal statement effective?
For many, writing an attractive and original personal profile is one of the most challenging aspects of building a successful CV. We recommend you spend a good amount of time perfecting these few sentences if you want to immediately engage a hiring manager. They have probably already looked over a great deal of applications, likely all using very similar and generic language. The strength of what you write in your opening personal statement will dictate if a person decides to continue to read the rest of your CV. Reassess your personal statement, is it truly unique to you? You should be instantly selling yourself as a candidate who isn’t simply offering the same as everyone else. Try to get into the mindset of the employer and consider the most interesting and impressive skills, qualities, and achievements you possess, that are most relevant in relation to this job.
2. Find your own USP
To stress this again - the biggest hurdle to securing yourself an interview is setting yourself apart from your competition. Now is not the time to be modest, think about the extra qualities that you can bring to the table that will most benefit the employer. Applicants competing for the same role will usually have a background similar to your own and will certainly be highlighting a similar range of skills. What are you doing that everyone else in your industry isn’t already doing? What are the outcomes of this? What notable achievements do you have? Of course, make sure your USP is relevant to what the employer is looking for, then back your statements up by providing evidence of the results that you have produced in the past.
3.Tailor your CV to every application
CV writing can often feel like a chore you’d prefer to avoid; therefore, many applicants make the mistake of thinking that this is something they only need to do once. Unfortunately, if you really want to impress an employer, you’re going to need to put in a little extra time and care. We would suggest, reading the job ad carefully and realigning your skills and experience in a way that is most responsive to the particular organisation and what they are looking for. This will show that you are eager for that specific role – a quality that greatly increases your chances of winning over the employer. Concisely listing the details of your career that actually address the requirements of the available position, is incredibly more valuable than a lengthy list of everything you have ever done. Don’t expect that the hiring manager will sieve through all of this information, instead show it to them immediately.
Hiring managers often rely on keywords whilst searching for candidates, so make sure that you show you have what they are looking for. Examine the job description as well as the company’s website and social media for keywords and specific phrases that describe what the employer is seeking out. Use these words intelligently, don’t use them repetitively or generically. Avoid falling into the trap of being obvious or cliché and do remember to stay personal. Also, consider using synonyms of these keywords.
5. Be clear and structured
This one probably seems obvious, but it's worth double-checking how easily readable your CV is. Ensure that the layout is attractive, and all of the information provided is completely clear and easily accessible. Break your CV up into digestible different sections and use clear and consistent titles within these sections so that the reader can easily bounce between the different information they want to read. Get straight to the point and make sure that nothing is too over-embellished. You could use short and direct sentences or bullet points, to make your achievements more comprehensible. Don't let your CV go over two pages and thoroughly check that there are no spelling or grammatical errors.
6. Always provide evidence
Don’t just provide a list of the responsibilities of your current and previous roles, try to include the impact that your work has had on the businesses you have worked for and support this by providing evidence of the outcomes of your hard work. Anybody can claim to possess great qualities, not everybody can give impressive, concrete examples of how they have best utilised their skills to accomplish desired results. Put this into practice to directly demonstrate your capabilities and present yourself as a worthwhile candidate.
7. Include your out of work interests and activities
You may think details of your extracurricular activities to be unimportant in comparison to your experience, qualifications, and education, but this information is instrumental in building up a profile of your personality. Hobbies and projects that you spend your spare time on, make you an interesting person. Having passions not only reflects your personality but also what you will bring to the job as they show ability, initiative, and drive.
So, when you’re next applying for a new role, do not underestimate the value of investing a little extra time into editing your CV. Admittedly, writing about yourself is not something that always comes naturally but it will prove a worthwhile task when you land that dream job.
With the tips we have provided, you could break the process down into a few straightforward steps to ensure that your CV is reflective of the best version of yourself and your career to date. This will make your application truly worthwhile and give you the best chance to outshine competition.
Also, get a second opinion, have someone read it over and share their suggestions or advice. Our recruiters are more than happy to benchmark your CV and give you tips to improve it. With much experience in handling CVs, we are well versed in offering expert assistance. Get in touch with us via firstname.lastname@example.org to be put in touch with one of our specialist recruiters who can provide professional guidance, not only on your CV but on the whole recruitment process.