What you should really be including to make your CV stand out 5 months ago

What you should really be including to make your CV stand out

Perfecting your CV is no easy task, but it really is key to landing that dream role.

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Your CV is the first impression you make on any potential employer, and you need to be doing everything you can to stand out.

Often, a recruiter will be sieving through hundreds of CVs from candidates who all have similar experience to yours, so it really is essential that yours makes a lasting impressions.

Of course, putting together a strong CV is a lot easier said than done, but there are some simple steps you can take to make your CV stand out from the crowd, and highlight you as a promising candidate for the job.

Use keywords

A recruiter isn't going to read in between the lines of your CV to decide if you're a good candidate for the role, and they shouldn't have to either.

Your expertise, experience and skillset should be clear to see from a brief skim of your CV. You can ensure this by including keywords and skills relevant to the role and industry as, in the early stages of the recruitment process, this is what potential employers will be looking for.

At the top of your CV, include your professional title that sums up your experience and skillset in two or three words. Your personal statement or profile should clearly and concisely show why you're suited to this role. Throughout your experience and skills section, be sure to include terms relevant to the job description and the industry the role is in.

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Highlight your unique selling point

You need to stand out from the crowd, so focusing on the unique elements of your your experience or interests could be a good way of bringing something new to the table.

If you've got any particularly interesting achievements, awards or any other kind of formal recognition during past roles or your education, they're well deserving of a place on your CV.

Any interesting pastimes, like volunteering, blogging or building up an impressive social media following could also be worth highlighting depending on the role, and you never know how including these could catch a recruiter's eye!

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Make readability a priority 

You don't want your CV to look like an essay at first glance, as this guarantees a recruiter won't spend much time looking at it. Bullet points, sections and short sentences are an absolute must, and are a great way of laying out your CV so that it's easy to digest.

But it's also important to try avoid too much whitespace. This can be a bit more difficult if you're fresh out of college and don't have much experience, but adding in some extra sections such as interests or achievements is a great way of filling in some gaps.

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If you've been on LinkedIn lately, you might also have seen that creative CVs are gaining a lot of traction at the moment. For most roles, you won't need to do anything too innovative and for some industries, this might even be a bad idea. But simple things like including the company's branding and colours in your application will add a bit of life to your resume while also showing the recruiter that your CV is tailored specifically to them.

Don't forget your soft skills

It's not all about the technical skills that are specific to your industry. Communication, teamwork, time management and organisation are all important skills that recruiters are looking for, and therefore should get a mention on your CV.

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Including these can be particularly helpful if you're changing careers or don't have much hands-on experience in the industry you're hoping to work in.

In your skills section, make reference to the soft-skills you have that are mentioned in the job description. You can also refer to them throughout your descriptions of past roles, to show how your experience in these jobs has prepared you for aspects of the position you're applying for.