4 surefire ways to make your CV stand out from the crowd
Job-hunting is a tricky business. With lots of applicants competing for every vacancy, and a plethora of different sites where recruiters can source prospective candidates, it can often feel like an impossible task trying to get yourself noticed. Here are some of our top tips to help you stand out from the crowd when writing that all important CV.
Write a killer personal statement
Your personal statement or profile at the top of your CV is essentially your elevator pitch. It’s the first thing that recruiters or hiring managers will read (and sometimes the only thing, if you believe the stats that claim that the average time someone spends reading a CV is less than six seconds) so it’s crucial that you quickly and succinctly get to the core of who you are and what you do. Less is certainly more in this instance, and this is an opportunity to clearly establish your USP. Nail the personal statement, and the rest of your CV will follow.
Be aware of the top skills employers are looking for in this job market?
In a recent study, 13.3 percent of businesses surveyed by the ONS reported experiencing a shortage of workers. Since then, to improve the situation, companies have had to reform the skills that they prioritise from applicants to ensure positions are being filled by the best candidates.
Early career website, RateMyPlacement, analysed internal data from 2017 to March 2023 to reveal the most commonly cited skills required within jobs on their website. The result revealed that communication skills as the most important, required for 45% of job adverts.
This was followed by organisational skills at 36 percent and innovation in third place at 29 percent.
Making an effort to consolidate your soft skills is becoming more and more incremental to future career prospects as we become a more remote, digital workforce and as industries become more people-orientated. It’s also these traits that are transferable from industries, positions and roles, making individuals more well-rounded and much more attractive to employers.
If you really want to set yourself out from the crowd you should focus your CV on those skills that employers are hunting for but may struggle to find. Skills like the ability to deal with conflict, manage up and negotiate are those proverbial needles in the haystack that employers are searching for. The best way to develop transferable skills is to get yourself some work experience, part-time work, or volunteer in the industry you most want to work in in the future so you can provide real-world examples on your CV.
By doing this you’ll be appealing to the majority of employers who believe graduates with work experience under their belts have the required soft skills to be successful. Read the full article here
Be concise and keep it relevant
The general rule when it comes to writing a CV is to keep it to two pages or under. Whilst that’s not always viable, especially for complex or senior positions that require a lot of diverse experience, it’s always good to keep your CV as brief as possible. The key to being concise is to cut out, or at least curtail, anything that isn’t directly relevant to the job you’re applying for. Just because you’ve got twenty-five years’ experience, doesn’t mean that your CV needs to be five or six pages long. You should write detailed descriptions for your most recent or relevant jobs, but everything else can just be listed with company name, job title and dates.
Make it easy to read
A lot of candidates seem to think that their qualifications and experience will speak for themselves on a CV, but this is by no means always the case. Layout and formatting are a hugely important factor, and can be the difference between a CV capturing someone’s attention and it being missed. First of all, try and keep the formatting consistent throughout the whole document. That means the same font, regular spacing, and a consistent structure used throughout the job history section (i.e. job title; company name; dates). Secondly, make sure that there are clearly outlined headings and subheadings so that a recruiter can easily scan different sections. Lastly, as a general rule, bullet points tend to read easier on a CV than long paragraphs, especially if you’re listing responsibilities in a role, so try and stick to this format.
Be original, but not too original
We see hundreds of CVs every week, so there’s very little that can surprise us anymore. We’ve seen CVs laid out as infographics, magazine covers, timelines, and even takeaway menus and tube maps. A little creativity never hurt anyone, and if you can pull it off, it’s a great way to edge ahead of the competition. However, there’s a risk of it coming off as a novelty or a gimmick, and you don’t want it to distract from more important aspects – namely, your skills and experience. Of course, it depends on the industry you’re in, and CVs of this nature are always going to be more appropriate if you’re a Graphic Designer or a Marketing Executive. Nonetheless, it’s important to make sure you don’t stand out for the wrong reasons.
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Even if you’re not looking to hire straight away, give us a call to discuss your plans for the future. We have seen a huge increase in talented candidates and fantastic graduates contacting us to secure their next role. Our team can look at sourcing top talent, ahead of your competitors, for when you’re ready to hire again.