Knowing how to make your CV stand out can be a difficult task, with hundreds of people often applying for the same role you’ll want to make sure your CV is clear to read, and your relevant experience is easy to see.
Organising your CV to highlight your key skills and experiences will give you a better chance of making it through the initial CV screening process. Once it’s in the hands of your prospective employer, you can then use the pages to help you stand out from the crowd.
Which information will make you stand out?
Essential information such as your full name and contact information, should be displayed on the front page of your CV and easily visible. If you’re looking for work in a particular location, then include the town or city where you live. If you’re happy to travel for work, within the UK or overseas, then let people know that so they can match your skills to other job vacancies should your initial application be unsuccessful.
Once you’ve included the basics so the recruiter or Hiring Manager knows who you are and where you’re looking for work, your CV will also provide a great opportunity for you to demonstrate your experience and skills as a potential employee.
Below are sections you should include.
Your personal statement
Although not directly related to the job you’re applying for, the personal statement at the start of your CV gives you the chance to introduce yourself – letting the reader know what you’re passionate about, your gained expertise and working style. You should keep this reasonably short and use it as an overview of who you are as a person and employee.
Your work experience
When listing past roles or projects you’ve supported, be sure you’re profiling them as well as you can. Include the key responsibilities and wherever possible detail your main deliverables and achievements for each role, to demonstrate your ability. Remember that potential employers want to see relevant experience that highlights your compatibility for the role they’re recruiting for, so you may want to tailor your CV for each application.
You should always read the job description carefully and ensure your CV draws out any experience you have that specifically relates to the role you are applying for. Where you do not have direct experience, include transferable skills such as working on large-scale projects or following highly detailed processes.
Your key skills
Where possible, ensure you are using specific keywords in your CV that are related to your desired profession. If you’re an Electrician for example, include any relevant codes, qualifications, and methodology you have experience working with. This will help to demonstrate the depth of your knowledge. Also include any computer systems you’ve used to further highlight your capability. Be careful not to overuse keywords, including them too repetitively can appear forced and look like you’re overloading your CV in order to get more job matches.
Review your CV regularly before sending it to potential employers, to make sure it’s up to date with your latest skills.
Your qualifications and training
If you’re progressing in your career by undertaking training to gain qualifications, include these to your CV. This will show potential employers your willingness to learn and adapt as you progress in your career.
Add these in a dedicated qualifications section on your CV in date order, with the most recent first.
Including references, or highlighting that they’re available on request, will help to reinforce the skills and capability you have documented on your CV.
Where possible, look for references from Line Managers or Project Directors you’ve worked with, who can attest to your great work. Where they’re happy to be contacted should any job applications progress, keep a note of their contact details to share with the recruiter or Hiring Manager – they’ll want to check these at the job offer stage.
Consider video to make your CV really stand out
You may also want to consider a video CV to make your application stand out. Whilst it’s still crucial to submit a standard CV, including a link to a video could help bring your application to life. You can find out more about how to prepare and plan your video CV.