How to Make your CV Stand Out in 5 Steps

How to Make your CV Stand Out in 5 Steps


Job hunting can be a stressful process, especially when you send out your CV and, instead of receiving an email inviting you to an interview, you are told that unfortunately it doesn’t seem like you are the right candidate for the role. Avoid this situation by writing an outstanding CV that will land you a job interview, by following these 5 easy steps:

1. Include a cover letter

Studies have shown that, on average, recruiters and employers spend around 7 seconds reading a CV before making a decision on whether that person is the right candidate or not. Therefore, if you want to make sure your CV grabs their attention and gets through to the next stage, you must have strong cover letter explaining who you are and what your background is.

Your CV provides very little insight into your personality, therefore writing a cover letter is a big marketing opportunity for yourself. Having one can spell the difference between deciding whether to read your CV and find more about you. If you fail to add a cover letter to the employer, they will think you have mass-emailed your CV, which is a major turn-off.  

Photo credit: Yurlick / Shutterstock

2. Focus on results, not responsibilities

One of the biggest mistakes people make when writing their CV is focusing on the task they had to do in their previous roles, rather than showing the results. Potential employers are not interested in seeing a generic list of responsibilities, instead they would prefer to see how the results you’ve achieved have had a positive impact on the company, or project you have been assigned to. For instance:

Instead of saying: “Created and managed company Facebook posts”

Change it to: “Increased Facebook following by 500% through daily postings and sponsored Facebook posts”

Despite this being more difficult than jotting down what you have done, it helps recruiters to understand how you can fit in and bring similar results to their company – this addition will be sure to help your CV stand out from the crowd.

3. Impress them with a course

When reading through CVs, different employers look for different things, but they are all trying to answer the same question: Can this individual add value to my business?  By adding a course to your CV, it immediately displays a set of skills to the employer, which is useful when bearing in mind the “7 second rule” – especially if it is relevant to the role you are applying for. Not to mention that it shows that you are motivated to improve and open to learning new skills in order to progress in your career.

For most employers, one key way to make your CV stand out is by having a Project Management course. This is highly beneficial as it shows recruiters that you know how to work under pressure and be easily adaptable to change, which is a valuable trait. Agile Training and Prince2 Training are two of the most well-known PM courses that will look great in the eyes of potential employers.

Photo credit: Robert Kneschke / Shutterstock 

4. Personalise your CV

Put simply, your CV can – and must – be tailored for every position you apply to. Read the job description carefully and take your time to personalise your CV for the specific role the company are advertising. Consider using the same words they specify in their job description, and write your CV based on the elements they are looking for. If you are applying to multiple companies, this can be time consuming, but this extra effort will go a long way and show employers that you are interested.

A large number of employers’ use “Control + F” to check CVs for keywords relating to the role – many leading recruiters and big companies tend to use automatic CV parsing software tools that do this too. As a result, in order to get your CV noticed, directly demonstrate the results the employer is hoping to achieve in the company by using key buzzwords.

You may also think about adding the following to your CV:

  • Pick vocabulary carefully – use some the following: Launched; Modernised; Orchestrated; Create; Lead/Managed; Committed; Value/Valuable
  • Get specific – include numbers and clear examples

5. Show industry knowledge

Show your potential employers that you like to stay on top of trends by showing a bit of industry awareness. Your CV will look even more attractive to recruiters and employers if you can demonstrate that you know a thing or two about the latest news in your industry, as well as showing them that you are truly passionate about your job.

Be sure to watch videos, read blogs and industry magazines to keep up-to-date. Think about following experts in the industry on social media, for frequent quick updates you can check on the go from your mobile phone. Doing this gives you an advantage over other candidates, particularly if you make it to the interview process.


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