Having all the skills, qualifications and experience that the employer has requested in the job advert is a great start. Creating a CV that clearly shows you have what they are looking for should be enough to get you an interview right?
Unfortunately, no matter how suited you are to the role there will always be lots of other people that tick all the boxes too. When the employer is faced with the dilemma, albeit a great one, of having to shortlist candidates who are all considered worthy, they are looking for something special – someone who goes that extra mile!
To give yourself the very best opportunity of standing out from the rest of the competition, here are 5 ways to spruce up your CV:
1. Create an online portfolio
If your career is IT, media or marketing based – or indeed, any role where you can physically demonstrate your work with examples – then you should have an online portfolio that you can showcase on your CV. Providing links to your work is a great way to add extra value to your CV and ensure your application stands out from the crowd.
A good way to create an online portfolio is to have your own website. Even if you’re not particularly tech-savvy, the hosted version of WordPress makes it easy to set up an attractive site and start showcasing examples of your work today: https://wordpress.com/
2. Optimise your social profiles
There are two key points to make here: the first being that you can USE your social profiles to boost your credibility in the eyes of an employer. This is done by optimising your profiles, immersing yourself in your industry and posting relevant content. The second point is that you need to clean up ALL of your social profiles, regardless of whether you include them on your CV. An increasing number of employers do look at social media to get an idea of what a candidate is like – and anything that paints the wrong picture could exclude you from the interview process.
The following are typical profiles that might be optimised and included on your CV (usually within the contact section or in the footer):
Having a LinkedIn profile is quite standard these days, but not everyone bothers to optimise it for prospective employers and this is a missed opportunity. LinkedIn can be highly influential to a prospective employer because, aside from showcasing much more of your experience than is possible on your CV, it also shows you’re well connected and immersed in your target industry. The endorsements can be particularly powerful in the context of job hunting and LinkedIn’s own job search tools can put you in front of those who are hiring.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to optimising LinkedIn for better visibility.
Twitter provides the perfect platform for getting involved with your industry and if used correctly, it can boost your profile in the eyes of a prospective employer. The key thing here is to share and comment on relevant content, and to follow relevant people. Here’s a detailed guide to optimising your Twitter profile for job hunting.
Instagram won’t be relevant to everyone but if your work is visual, it’s a great opportunity to put more of it in front of the employer.
3. Add some style
Creating a black and white CV is absolutely fine, but if you really want to impress the hiring manager you could add some colour. Not only will this ensure your CV stands out, it can also make it easier for the manager to navigate around your CV and find what they are looking for.
Bold headings and bullet points are always a must if you want to make your CV easy to read, but you can also use colour to make it even easier. Using colour on your CV does need a very cautious approach, and it could backfire if you don’t do it correctly.
To see some examples of how you can apply colour, take a look at our range of CV templates and even considering choosing one for yourself (they’re free!). Adding colour to a CV can be very difficult to get right, and if you overdo it or use colours which are too bold, you can sometimes detract from the contents and put yourself at a disadvantage.
4. Use a CV template
The whole presentation and layout of your CV has to be spot on if you want to demonstrate your abilities. It won’t matter how qualified you are for the role if you don’t present your details in a nice, easy to read format – but also have a layout that looks great and is eye catching.
Choosing from the hundreds of CV templates available has never been easier, and whether you want to insert your details straight into it, or even make a few minor adjustments to suit your needs, the choice is yours!Here’s our collection of CV templates to help you.
5. Use appropriate industry jargon
If you want to show the employer you know your stuff, write a CV that uses the correct industry jargon. Tailoring your CV to the role and industry is always a must, but you can go one step further and ensure everything you write is in a similar voice to the job advert and the culture of the company or industry.
You want the hiring manager to read your CV and see that you are both on the same page. ‘This person knows what they’re talking about’, is exactly what you want the employer to think, and someone who has the right attributes and clearly understands the business could make for a great interview.
Martin has been a senior manager of a large customer service team within the education services industry, dealing with all aspects of staff recruitment and management. He now authors and manages content for CV Template Master and a number of other leading websites. In his spare time, Martin is an accomplished pianist and teaches all styles with a particular focus on boogie woogie and blues.