Create a Standout CV
12th January 2022
Are you looking for a new challenge or opportunity to develop? A better culture? Whether or not you’re looking for the next step in your career, making the most of your CV by reviewing it regularly and keeping it up to date is vital. This week’s blog is a quick reminder of what should (and shouldn’t!) feature on your CV as well as some tips to help you elaborate on your successes and make the best first impression.
A Strong Impact
It is always advisable to start your CV with a summary of your skills and key accomplishments. This is the first thing that a recruiter will read about you and grabs attention from the outset. You can then elaborate on key points later in your CV or portfolio.
Emphasise Results Rather Than Responsibilities
Instead of just talking about your past responsibilities, it is more impactful to emphasise the results and your achievements. Use quantifiable data and examples that show your accomplishments. Provide examples of the big problems you fixed and the challenges you overcame to do so.
Highlight Changes, Growth and Personal Development
Your CV should focus on your personal development. Demonstrate how you have grown over the years, how you have honed your skills, and how it led to your career achievements. The hiring manager will understand that you have learned a lot from your past positions, and that you are a committed professional who wants to learn and expand their skill set.
Show Industry Insight
You will often already have an awareness of the industry that you are applying to. You will be a lot more attractive to employers when you show the recruiter that you can stay on top of trends. So, make sure you are up to date with industry trends, news, and innovations. If you are seeking to switch sector explain why and how your experience and knowledge is transferrable.
If you aren’t already on LinkedIn, set up your free account. This is a great place to expand your network, find new opportunities and receive recommendations. A lot of employers will seek your LinkedIn profile to ensure your career history matches up, so keep it up to date. Keep your activity on there professional. Also be aware of your other profiles and what is and isn’t private.
Perfect your Portfolio
This can make the difference between getting an interview and not. Choose your best and most recent work projects and ensure it is your own work. Outside of the creative space try to limit irrelevant photography, bold images and different colour fonts where possible. Clarifying your experience helps the hiring manager know what you are capable of and how flexible your skills are. Remember this is a sample of your work so make sure your portfolio is a suitable size. If in doubt, test sending it to make sure the file size isn’t too large.
Consider the Basics
Keep the layout of your document simple and readable. If in doubt, get someone to proofread your CV. Ensure you’ve leveraged key words but also that you’ve included your preferred methods of contact. Your address won’t be needed, but adding a postcode often helps you appear in searches.
Invest in Yourself
Think strategically about which skills will make you more employable in the short and long term. If you’ve thought about going on a training course to update your skillset, do it now.
It’s Not All About Work…
Your interests and achievements outside the work place can contribute greatly to your performance and career success as well as having a positive impact to the culture of an organisation.
In 2022 and beyond, it’s important to be active in the market but also selective, don’t panic and apply for every job you see. Maintaining your value as a candidate is important. Apply for the positions that best match your skills, experience and will help you achieve your career and personal goals. Adapt and tailor your CV to match the description of each job you apply for. This will make it easy for recruiters to know you have the right skills for the job and promote all the great things that you have done. Make it obvious you have the necessary skills, experience and drive to make that next step in your career.
MD’s comment: “I’m often asked what makes a great CV. My response is always – write an engaging summary, make the content relevant, easy to read, not too long with tangible results and achievements. Your CV is a tool to get you in from of your future employer so needs to stand out for all the right reasons. If you put yourself in the shoes of a hiring manager or recruiter they will often review a large volume of applicants so if your CV doesn’t get their attention, demonstrate results, achievements and relevance to the vacancy the reader may well move on to the next applicant, which happens all too often. Never underestimate the impact of your outside interests and achievements, I’ve seen many a good hire happen because the candidate mentioned an outside activity or achievement that had direct and positive relevance to the role they applied for. If you are in the technical space or a space which uses a lot of acronyms its worth considering creating a separate skills matrix as an addendum so you can list all your technical competencies without cluttering your CV. And finally, get it proofread by several people ideally including a professional recruiter who will be able to advise on any improvements and importantly how it stacks up against your competition.”
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