Did you know that the average recruiter spends just 6 seconds looking at a CV before deciding whether to offer a person an interview or not? For this reason it’s vital you grab the employer’s attention and leave them wanting to know more. Here are 5 ways you can make your CV stand out from the crowd and ensure you get an interview.
1. Emphasise your achievements
Rather than simply listing the things you do each day, emphasise the things you’ve actually achieved.
So instead of saying “I run the social media accounts for 5 companies” say something along the lines of “In my first three months at the company, I helped a popular sportswear brand drive traffic to its website and boost conversions by 20%.” Be as specific as possible and be prepared to back your claims up in an interview.
2. Show, don’t tell
When crafting a CV, a lot of people make the mistake of including words or phrases that are either blindingly obvious, completely meaningless, or extremely difficult to prove.
I’ve been guilty of it myself. Looking back over an old CV, I instantly spot the words “I’m creative” right near the top. Considering I have an art degree, this seems a little pointless to say. Obviously I’m creative.
A little further down, I’ve also claimed to be “hardworking and enthusiastic.” This also seems like a waste of time because NO ONE would claim to be lazy and apathetic on a CV.
These pointless words not only waste space, they also fail to give recruiters any indication as to what we’re actually like. So rather than telling the employer about your qualities, find a way to show them how great you are.
3. Cut to the chase
As tempting as it can be to pack your CV with as much information as possible, you need to cut to the chase as soon as possible and grab their attention early.
You can do this by listing some of your greatest achievements at the top of the page before you even start talking about your current role or education.
4. Prove you fit the bill
Take a really close look at the job ad you’re applying for. After highlighting the things you can do really well, pick out some keywords from the ad and include these in your CV. If the employer is looking for someone with Google Analytics experience and you’re an Analytics pro, be sure to say so as soon as possible. You need to prove you’re their dream employee!
Also look for cliche phrases such as “we need someone who can hit the ground running.” Respond to this by writing about a time you thrived in a fast-paced environment.
5. Highlight things you do outside of work
Highlighting the things you do outside of work can be a great way of standing out in the crowd, but only if your extra curricular activities are relevant to the job or valuable in some way. For example, there’s usually no point listing hobbies that are fairly universal. Most people like reading, socialising and going to the cinema. However, if you’re applying for a job as a sports writer and you love playing golf and coach a kids’ football team on Sundays, by all means, include that stuff.
If you’re struggling for activities and achievements to include, why not consider volunteering for a few months? Not only can volunteering be a great way of helping important charities and organisations, it can also allow you to meet new people, gain valuable experience, and even impress employers.
Whether you volunteer at a local charity shop, help out at a local kids’ club, or visit the elderly to keep them company, there are numerous ways you can volunteer. And with so many charities crying out for support, it’s simply a case of finding the right one for you.