One of the biggest problems encountered by job-seekers is the high level of competition in the job market. It seems like almost everyone is looking for work, meaning that employers are always inundated with CVs from potential candidates. If you’re looking for a new job, this means only one thing: you need to find a way to make your CV stand out. Take all of that confidence and self-belief, and channel it into the one or two A4 pages that make up your CV. You’ll want to be self-confident, but not cocky. You’ll want to highlight your achievements, but not brag. It’s all a bit of a balancing act, so we’ve distilled the hundreds of ways you could make yourself stand out into five easily digestible chunks. Put these into action on your CV, then (with any luck) wait for those offers to roll in.
Make your CV top-heavy
Put yourself in the shoes of the employer: you’ve got fifty CVs to sift through and only half an hour to do it.So what do you do? Scan, that’s what. Employers will generally scan through the first page of your CV for your key achievements, so top-load everything. Relevant work experience? Front page. A number of different online degrees? Right on the front page. A killer Sean Connery impression? Maybe leave that one off entirely. The bottom line here is, take the time to decide what your absolute best selling point are, and bring them right to the top.
Cut the wheat from the chaff
Whilst you’re deciding on what your key achievements are, take the time to weed out things that may be seen as ‘padding’. The mention of a Sean Connery impression earlier was a poor attempt at humour, but the point it makes is valid. Refine, refine, refine. Your CV needs to be a bite-sized sales letter from you to the employer, so make it succinct.
Don’t forget the aesthetics (and be brief)
You may have heard from a number of sources that your CV needs to be quite plain in terms of decoration. Whilst this is true to some extent, there is some room to express yourself. Headings, sub-headings, fonts, bullet-pointed lists, line breaks; these are all things that can help make your CV stand out. We can almost guarantee that if your CV is a wall of text, it’ll go straight in the bin. You wouldn’t want to read a 1000 word account of somebody’s last job, and neither will your potential new boss!
Avoid typos at all costs
There are tales of bosses ripping up CVs with even the smallest typo in them – but these stories are no urban legend. If you’re applying for a job in which attention to detail is important (which, let’s face it, is almost every job), having errors on your CV will make you look bad. And when you’re still on the starting blocks, looking bad is something you want to avoid.
Never, ever tell lies
Ok, so this may not strictly make you stand out, but it’s the best advice we could give on CV writing. By all means embellish your achievements – everybody does this – but never lie on your CV. If you tell your new employer you’ve got a 1st class degree from Oxford and they decide to do a little background checking, you’re in serious trouble. Most employers will at some point verify the info on your CV, so make sure it’s all the whole truth and nothing but.