How to create a CV that will stand out

The current job market is extremely competitive. The impact of Covid-19 has meant some businesses have been forced to make cuts or suspend hiring plans. Whether you’re looking to progress in your career or are searching for a job after being made redundant, it’s important that your CV stands out for the right reasons.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that around 655,000 jobs have been lost between March and August 2020. The unemployment rate is now estimated to be 4.1%. With the furlough scheme drawing to a close in October, this figure is expected to rise further. In a report, the Bank of England said it expected the unemployment rate to rise to around 7.5% by the end of 2020.

So, with competition for jobs set to become even more competitive, here are seven ways you can catch the attention of recruiters.

1. Tailor your CV to each job

It can seem time-consuming, especially if you’re applying for a lot of jobs, but tailoring your CV is one of the simplest ways to draw attention from recruiters and improve your chances of being invited for an interview.

Pay careful attention to the personal specification and job description when doing this. Some businesses have reported receiving hundreds of applications for a single job opening, so CVs will initially need to be scanned quickly. Include keywords and phrases the firms use when advertising their job to highlight how you meet the requirements.

2. Start with a strong personal statement

Your personal statement is often at the top of your CV and what recruiters will see first. Start strong and give a snapshot of why they should be considering you. This a chance to sell yourself to a potential employer. But for some people, this can be a difficult step and they end up underselling themselves. Don’t be afraid to show off your achievements and highlight key attributes that make you ideal for the role.

3. Focus on results in your work experience

When you’re writing out work experience, some people will focus on what their responsibilities were. While this can show what you’re capable of, make your statements more proactive and demonstrate your results. Highlighting your achievements can put your current tasks into perspective. Rather than simply saying you were responsible for client management, note that a new system or process improved satisfaction by delivering responses 20% faster, for example.

Prospective employers will want someone who delivers results and being able to quantify your achievements on your CV can help them see how you’ll improve their operations.

4. Be concise

You want to give as much information as possible to demonstrate how you meet all the personal specification requirements, which can be lengthy. But keep your CV concise. Focus on the key points you want to make and ensure they’re easy to read.

Where possible use bullet points, lists and other ways of breaking up large chunks of text. It’ll help recruiters identify key points as they’re scanning through your CV.

5. Show your connections

The saying “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” still rings true sometimes, especially in certain industries where connections are important. If you’re a member of a professional body or a prominent group within your sector, make this known on your CV. It not only shows you have connections but that you take a proactive approach to your career too.

In some cases, you may want to provide a link to profiles within your CV, such as your LinkedIn account. Make sure you thoroughly check your profile before doing this and that you’re active on the platform to ensure it’s relevant.

6. Include activities outside-of-work

CVs might focus on working life, but there is an opportunity to comment on what you do outside of your profession, particularly if this has transferable skills. If you do volunteer work regularly, actively participate in industry meetups or write a blog, for instance, these can help you stand out from the crowd of applicants.

Recruiters aren’t just looking for someone that can get the work done either. They’ll want to know that you can work with the team and that you’ll fit into their workplace culture. A look at what you do outside of working hours can help them get a glimpse of this before a face-to-face interview.

7. Don’t forget the basics

The basics of writing an effective CV remain the same. While tweaking to match the job description and showing off your network, don’t forget to double, or even triple-check, for spelling and grammar mistakes. Even a small typo can mean your CV goes straight on the ‘no’ pile, especially if attention to detail is mentioned in the personal specification. Where possible, get someone else to read it through too, it can be difficult to spot your own mistakes.

Take some time assessing how your CV is presented too. Keep it to two pages and ensure the layout is easy to navigate. If a recruiter wants to check your qualifications or find relevant work experience, is it easy for them to identify the right section? With many applications to shift through, make their job as easy as possible.

If you’re currently searching the job market, we wish you luck! While it might be more difficult than usual, there are opportunities out there and having an attractive CV is the first step to securing a position.