5 Ways to Make Your CV Stand Out

Are there weeks where you feel like you have applied for hundreds of jobs and not received even a single interview or telephone call. Is there a particular job vacancy that you have seen that you are desperate to get into? Looking for a career change that doesn’t mean you have to start from the bottom of the ladder again? If this sounds like you then you need to make your CV stand out so that you can win an interview and bag that dream job!

Related: Top 6 CV Mistakes You Should Avoid

1. Layout.

Start by putting yourself in the seat of the recruiter. They need to identify perhaps 10 candidates for interview out of possibly hundreds of applications. If your CV isn’t easy to read and quickly identify the information such as key skills and experience that the recruiter is looking for then your CV is already in the ‘No thanks’ pile. Use a basic template, widely available from the internet or with word processing programmes, to set out your CV in a standard form. You can modify the format to suit as required, but the starting blocks are there so the reader can easily find what they are looking for.

2. Keep it short.

The general rule of thumb is an A4 page for every decade of career history. This means that for most of us 1-2 pages is the maximum length of a CV. This page limit ensures that the information you include is relevant to the post, and only relevant qualifications and career history is included. The recruiter only has a limited time to consider your CV, so keep it short and utilise bullet points so important details aren’t lost.

3. Tailor your CV to suit the vacancy.

Too many candidates submit standard CVs with no thought for specific job role or company. Even jobs with the same job title will require different levels of experience and different personal qualities within different companies. Read the job specification carefully and make a note of the key words, skills and attributes that are listed. Ensure that you take time to review your CV and insert these key words and skills into your CV so that the recruiter can clearly see that you have the skills to successfully undertake the job.

4. Avoid false modesty.

If you have achieved something such as an excellent qualification or increased profit for the company, then make sure that you include this on your CV. There is no time for false modesty as you may not get another opportunity to let the recruiter know about success. You can include a separate heading entitled ‘Achievements’ so these are clearly highlighted.

Related: Top 10 Tips to Write Your First CV

5. Don’t forget your contact details.

Make sure your contact details are clearly available on every page of your CV, such as within the Header or Footer lines. This makes it easier for the recruiter, with possibly 100 CVs on their desk, to distinguish yours. Check that all of the contact details are accurate and up to date, and ensure your email address is professional such as ‘’, and not a comedy name you have used since you were a teenager.

Whatever job you are applying for, make sure that your CV is the best that it can be. Read our Top 5 CV Mistakes You Should Avoid to make sure that your CV looks the best, and demonstrate to the prospective employer that you are really keen to get that job!

image by: andrea prleto

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Jessica Lamb
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