Making your CV stand out
Looking for a new job? Time to make your next career move? Use your CV to market yourself, make a lasting impression and stand out from the rest.
To get started, include all the essential information you need and use it as a way to demonstrate your unique personality. Cut out any unnecessary information. Follow these 10 easy steps to update your resume and stand out from competition.
Download an example CV here.
1. Choose a format
There are three standard types of CVs, each with its own advantage. Think about the job you want, the skills you have, your employment history and then decide on the format you want to use.
An industry standard. In this most common format, employment history is listed in chronological order starting with the current employer. Use this format if your employment history is stable and shows that you've climbed steadily up the career ladder. The format is not recommended if you have had frequent job changes.
In this format, skills, responsibilities and achievements are listed rather than employment dates or company names. Use this format if you've experienced spates of unemployment or sporadic job changes.
This CV prioritises the work experience, skills, responsibilities and achievements most relevant to the job you want. Use this format if you're planning a career change or your current skills are not directly relevant to the job you're applying for.
2. Include your personal details
You should list or update the following information:
- name and contact details
- education and qualifications
- industry and training courses
- memberships and associations
- hobbies and interests
- language ability
There is no need to include information about your age, marital status or religion.
3. Outline your employment history
Once you've chosen the format for your CV, organise your information using the format chosen. Treat your CV as an outline of your job history by including the following:
- Employer name, including information on the organisation, such as the structure and industry and/or the main service/product it provides.
- Your position title. Include the division or department that you worked in.
- Duration of employment. List the month and year you started and ended your employment.
- Responsibilities. This should cover the duties and purpose of your previous position(s) as well as the person you reported to or who reported to you. A snapshot of your achievements is an appropriate way of showing how you can add value to an organisation. Edit what you've written, prioritise and group your responsibilities and be concise.
- Achievements. Include information on projects, promotions and favourable reviews.
4. Make it short and sharp
If you have one to five years' work experience, a two to three page maximum is recommended. If you have six to ten years' work experience, three to five pages in length is acceptable.
Most employers and recruitment consultants will skim over a resume to look for key requirements relevant to the job, so choose your content and words carefully. The keywords you use to describe your responsibilities and achievements should be relevant to the job you want. Highlight your strengths and abilities using active verbs such as responsible and achieved, which have universal appeal. It's this information that will make your CV stand out, not the length and detail of your resume.
5. Type it. Don't write it
A handwritten CV can be difficult to read and may prevent you from being considered. Type your CV without using fancy fonts or flourishes and emphasise substance over style.
6. Tailor the content
Don't send the same CV to every potential employer. Tailor the content to each role.
7. Don't exaggerate
Focus on real achievements and don't exaggerate. If your success was as a result of teamwork, identify it as such. It will make your claims more believable.
8. Check grammar and spelling
Poor spelling and grammatical mistakes can cost you a role. Employers expect a CV to be your best advertisement and an example of the work you would produce in your new job. Read your CV at least three times and, better still, ask a friend or family member to proofread it for you. Run the spell check option, but don't rely on it.
9. Alert your referees
Include a list of three referees (ideally two professional and one personal). Include their name, position, and telephone number and indicate your association or relationship. Inform your referees of the particular position you have applied for and its requirements. As a courtesy, and to ensure contact details are still current, contact your referees before you offer their name for future jobs.
10. Don't mention the money
Unless a recruiter asks over the phone or during the interview, never state your current salary. Disclosing this information in your CV may work against you if your salary is less or more than the employer is willing to pay.
This article was prepared by Randstad.