How to write a standout CV

We all know that having a great CV is essential to stand out from the competition and grab future employers’ attention. However, if it’s been a while since you looked at your CV or you’ve heard conflicting opinions about what makes a CV great, it can be hard to know where to start.  I’ve put together the following key points to think about when you are tackling your CV, if have them in mind next time set about creating your CV you’ll be well on your way to success!

Make a great first impression

You may have heard it many times before, but first impressions really do count!  Your CV should be beautifully presented, with clearly and consistently spaced text that is easy to read, step away from overuse of Arial, and try fonts such as Calibri, Tahoma or Verdana for a fresh modern feel. Automated spelling and grammar checks are very helpful but make sure you also sense check your CV by getting someone else to read it, does it make sense and is your message coming across? 

Tell us about yourself

A short personal profile of three to five lines at the very beginning of your document provides an opportunity to tell the employer directly about yourself.  Try to encapsulate what you offer in terms of key skills, experience and values, what is your unique selling point?  If you find this tricky to write, think about times when you have had positive feedback in the past, what would your friends say are your key qualities?  Draw on this to help you write about what you can offer.

Highlight your achievements

One of the most common ways that people sell themselves short when writing their CV is by listing their former responsibilities in the format of a job description.  This tells your potential employer very little about you, and what you can achieve.  Instead, think of each bullet as an opportunity to outline an achievement, something you changed for the better, a project you successfully managed or a new starter who you mentored and helped to thrive.  Make these achievements as specific as possible with numbers, timescales and percentages.

Take the time to tailor every CV you send out

Tailoring your CV to the job you are applying for is essential.  Before you begin an application grab yourself a highlighter and mark off each of the skills, qualities or competencies mentioned in the job advert.  Then, include examples of as many of these as possible in your CV, including these key words will help your CV to make it through any candidate selection software or help to convince the person reading it that you are the right person for the job.  

Good luck with creating your new CV!  If you need some additional help I offer CV reviews and preparation, taking the time to get to know you and your experience, so please get in touch if you’d like to know more.

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