How to make your CV stand out

Man and woman on a laptop looking at a resume

Your CV is a tool with one purpose: to get you a job interview. Your CV should present you in the best possible light and convince a prospective employer that you have what it takes to be successful.

Most employers scan rather than read CVs – how can you make sure your resume breaks out from the pack?

Here are some tips to consider in order to make sure your CV is clear, up-to-date and showcases your skills effectively.

1. Make it interesting

Yes, you want it to sound professional, but that doesn’t mean using the same old dry phrasing from the template you found online. A clean graphic layout and compelling wording goes a long way in grabbing the attention of a hiring manager whose eyes are starting to cross from all the resumes he’s seen.

2. Numbers always speak louder than words

Was a project a success? Exactly how successful was it? Use growth rates and numbers that illustrate the actual impact your work had on the business’s bottom and top lines. Don’t be afraid to list stats that illustrate your successes. 

3. Cover all your bases

Providing a full employment history is important. Keep your resume short and sweet but don’t leave any gaps. As you become more senior you can start removing the details of your earliest jobs and focus instead on your most recent and relevant achievements.

4 key areas to strengthen your CV:

  • Qualifications: List both academic and non-academic qualifications in chronological order, including awards and distinctions.
  • Employment History: Start with your current function and work your way down to your first employment. Include your responsibilities, duration of employment and reasons for leaving. Do not omit any period of employment. However, as you become more experienced you can start removing de details of your earliest jobs to focus on your most recent and impressive achievements.
  • Achievements: Make your CV results oriented. Give examples of your achievements and the skills you've developed in your career so far. Address the specific qualities relating to the job and provide examples of what you have done so far in your career that demonstrate why you are particularly suited for the role.
  • Personal Interests: Including some personal information such as hobbies and interests is fine, but do so sparingly. Consider how your hobbies and interests have equipped you with skills that are relevant to the job you are applying for. Other transferable skills or qualities such as being a self-starter or possessing leadership skills are also highly valued by employers across a wide range of roles

More help

A great resume is only a foot in the door, of course. Good interview skills and actual talent are paramount to landing the job of your dreams.

Don't forget to consult our career advice section for more career and interview advice or search through our latest job vacancies.

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