How to write a CV that gets you noticed
Finding the perfect CV template was easy, but filling it in so your target employer notices your application requires a little more effort! You need to remember that employers see hundreds of CVs for every job vacancy they advertise, so there’s a lot of competition.
When your would-be employer is sifting through the pile, they’ll have just one thing in mind – the job description. At this stage all they want to know is if you meet their minimum requirements as set out in the job advertisement. This might be for example, a degree, a certain set of skills, or a particular amount of experience.
With so many applications to read the employer will typically do an initial sweep to see who makes the cut. You need to write a CV that instantly gets you noticed as a potential candidate for an interview.
So how do you do that?
Meet the criteria
When you’re completing your CV template, the number one rule is to ensure that they can see you’ve met their criteria within around 10 seconds. This applies to both your CV and your covering letter. Don’t bury the information and make it difficult to find. Use the ‘personal statement’ or ‘objective’ statement at the top of your CV to spell out that you’re exactly what they’re looking for.
For example, if the job advert requires ‘Minimum 2:1 degree in Business and 1 year of experience in management’, set out HOW you meet these criteria in both the CV and covering letter. Here is an example:
I have an honours degree in Business (2:1) from the University of Leicester, together with 18 months experience in a management role at Costa Coffee.
Try to meet the criteria
But what if you don’t meet the job requirements? In that case, it’s important to set out why the recruiter should still consider you. For example, you might write this in your covering letter:
Although my degree grade was 2:2, I have substantially more experience than you are looking for having spent more than 4 years in a management role at Costa Coffee.
Once you’ve tackled the criteria set out in the job specification, focus your CV on relevant qualifications and experience, together with any achievements. Here are a couple of important points to consider:
- If you spent time in a role that wasn’t all relevant, focus on the aspects of the role which were.
- If you have zero relevant experience, focus on relevant qualifications. Where applicable, you could mention how in previous positions you have quickly learnt the job and hit the ground running. You could also mention any transferable skills.
Tailor your CV to the role
The best way to write a CV that instantly gets you noticed is to tailor it to the role. Not only that, but also write your CV with the company and the industry in mind.
The most common approach to writing a CV is to create just the one, and then use that to send to all and any employer. This is a huge mistake, and one which you should avoid if you want to get your CV noticed. Tailor and customise your CV specifically for the role, and as mentioned before, the company and the industry. Your CV needs to also be career focused, and use the right keywords and technical jargon (if necessary).
Tailoring your CV to the role is about making sure each and every section demonstrates you are the right person for the job. The employer is only interested in hiring someone who either has the right credentials, or who can prove that they are very close or are capable of performing well. Some roles demand a certain set of skills, experience and qualifications. However, some roles make requests, but don’t always have mandatory requirements.
You don’t need to be an exact match
If you have the exact credentials the employer is looking for, then it should be easy to write a CV. Tailor it perfectly by putting all the relevant information to the forefront. Make it clear that you are presenting the exact skills they’ve requested.
If you don’t have the exact skills they want, you can still tailor your CV to show you are capable. Find skills and experience from your history that are closely related. For example, applying for a sales role doesn’t mean that you need to have sold the exact same product before. Any type of sales role will demonstrate your experience in this industry.
For more information on how to tailor your CV to the role, we have written the perfect article for you. Please read – How to tailor your CV to the role.
Use a CV template
Finally, if you want your CV to stand out from the rest you should consider using a CV template. If you have any doubts about the effectiveness of using a ready made CV template, then we would like to quash all those doubts right now.
Here are just a handful of the reasons why you should use a CV template:
- They save you a lot of time
- Worry and stress free
- They allow you to focus upon the content
- Some CV templates are career focused
For a more in-depth guide and review of CV builders and CV templates, here is a great article we highly recommend – The advantages of an online CV builder.