10 Tips to Help Your CV Stand Out

10 tips for helping you get the best CV you can.

Your CV is the first impression a potential employer has of you and it will ultimately make or break their decision to shortlist you for interview. It is, therefore, of the upmost importance that you get it right. Many candidates don’t spend enough time on their CV and it can make the difference between whether or not you get that dream job, so you need to make it matter. These ten tips should help ensure your CV stands out from the crowd.

1. Most Relevant First

Your last role and qualifications should be at the top, as these are the most significant. The recruiter will want to know the experience you have which is most relevant to the role, not what you worked as when you just left school.

2. Explain Responsibilities

Take time to explain exactly what you did in the roles which are relevant to the one you are applying for. You should consider the tasks you undertook and any relevant systems you used. It is also important to ensure your job title is clear, don’t make one up to make it sound better, stick to those the recruiter will recognise.

3. Make it Relevant

Your CV should be relevant to the role you are applying for, so look at the job spec before preparing it. It is likely that the recruiter will just scan the CV, looking out for experience and qualifications which are relevant to the role, so these will need to instantly stand out.

4. Show Achievements

Many candidates have the misconception that they haven’t achieved anything in their roles but believe it or not, you will have achieved something from ever single job you have been in. For instance, you may have trained staff, saved the company money or brought in new members of staff. Don’t be afraid to mention your achievements, as these will help you stand out from the others.

5. Quantify Experience

You should be clear about your experience and quantify it, wherever possible. For example, if you were applying for an in-house recruiter role, instead of putting ‘high volume’ recruitment, you should state specific numbers. This may include the number of vacancies you dealt with and the number of interviews you arranged each week.

6. Tailor to Suit

Always make sure you tailor your CV to suit the role you are applying for. A general CV won’t work for every job so accentuate specific skills to suit each role.

7. Clear Layout

Your CV will most likely be disregarded if the layout isn’t clear and concise. It should be easy to read and should look professional. Many candidates believe they need to go to great lengths to make their CV looks ‘pretty’, you don’t, just make sure it’s tidy and clear.

8. No Spelling Errors

A CV with spelling errors is highly off-putting, so take time to run a spell check over it. You only have a few seconds to make an impression and bad spelling will be a concern, especially for written communication tasks in the role.

9. Sufficient Length

You don’t need to mention every job you have had, so unless you are a recent graduate, you can cut it down to the last 10 years or so. Your CV should only be around 2 or 3 pages, but definitely longer than one page.

10. Proof Read

We all make mistakes, so take time to read over your CV before you send it. You may even want to ask for a second opinion from friends or family, especially if anyone you know is in the HR industry or actively involved in recruitment.

Peter Forshaw, Managing Director, Maxwell Stephens