With such an abundance of information online on how to write a CV, you will of course be facing very stiff competition if you decide to go it alone. Writing a CV without any help could be a big problem if you are not taking note of what employers are looking for these days.
Choosing a professional CV template is a great place to start, but there are lots of other aspects to be aware of before you finalise your CV and send it to an employer. Here are 5 ways you can ensure your CV stands out from the competition.
Always customise your CV to the employer and the role they are advertising. There will always be a set of skills that are unique to the employer, so rather than making it hard for them you should ensure what they’re looking for is easily noticeable in your CV.
From work experience to qualifications – no matter what the employer wants you should be able to offer and include that relevant information within your CV. Not only should you scrutinise the job advert, you should also conduct some extensive research on the company to dig a little deeper. What are their goals? Who are their customers? What product or service do they sell?
Here is an example of a job advert for an Accountant from Reed.co.uk and we have highlighted some of the key information that you could use to help shape your CV:
Everything you see highlighted in red can be showcased within your CV, and should be highlighted and focused upon to grab the employer’s attention. The hiring manager will often use the job advert as a kind of tick sheet to see how many potential candidates can cover what’s required.
Leave appropriate spacing between paragraphs
With so many CV’s to read through the employer will find it very frustrating if you write long paragraphs without adequate spacing or bullet points. In some instances, you may find that the hiring manager doesn’t even bother to read the majority of your CV and simply passes right onto the next one!
Here’s an example of how not to write your CV:
With the above example you could instead break up each important key responsibility by using spacing and even bullet points like below:
This is so much easier to read and it also allows the hiring manager to quickly skim through and extract the important skills they are looking for.
Consider including a ‘Core skills’ section
A core skills section is a great way to get straight to the point with no frills or lengthy paragraphs. You can simply list and bullet point all the important and relevant skills that an employer would want to see, making it easier for them to navigate around your CV and see that you are the right person for the job.
Always use a professional email address
It may seem like a great idea at the time, but having ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ as your email address is not going to look so good on your CV. It’s unprofessional and could give off the wrong impression right from the start.
Your contact details are the first thing an employer reads from your CV, so instead of this:
Why not go for something much more professional like this:
Using your own name as your email address is a better way to present your information to the employer. New email addresses are easy and quick to setup, and with a new address it will be much easier to see any communication from the employer and won’t get lost within the spam you’ve probably accumulated with an older email address.
Can you imagine if you missed an email requesting an interview because it got mixed up with all the spam? 🙁
Include examples of how you made a difference
Your employment history is probably one of the most important parts of a CV, and will likely see the hiring manager spend the most amount of time. Rather than simply listing all of your previous roles and the tasks and responsibilities, you should instead include examples of how you made a positive impact in those roles.
For most of the job titles the hiring manager could probably guess a lot of the tasks anyway, so it’s important to think outside the box and provide the more important details. The employer would like to see examples of money saving, problem solving, exceptional sales numbers, successful marketing campaigns, awards and recognition, and so on. Try to keep the information short and concise and only focus on relevant roles, tasks and responsibilities.
A customer service based role would allow you to highlight previous customer complaint resolutions, great examples of customer care and service, and instances of problem solving and overall exceptional customer service deliverance. A sales role may focus more on the numbers, revenue, customer care and after sales service when deciding on what to include.
Here’s a small example taken from the employment history section of a CV:
And here’s what it should look like when adding in more information:
You can see how much more information the second example provides the employer and demonstrates your great performance. The difference this makes is huge, and you can clearly see the benefits of providing actual facts and figures relating to how you performed in your past roles.
Your employment history should look to indicate how well you performed and prove to the employer that you are the right person for the job. You didn’t spend all those years gaining valuable experience to just simply list off a bunch of tasks and responsibilities did you?
That experience is worth much more, and the only way to convey that message is to provide all the important details of how you performed, what you achieved, and the promotions you gained.