How to get your CV to the top of the pile

interviewer looking at document in blue folder with man in interview

In a crowded and competitive jobs market setting yourself apart from other applicants and getting noticed is becoming all the more important.

One of the best ways to get noticed is to guarantee that your cover letter and CV work hand-in-hand to show off your skills and personality.

Here are some key tips to make your CV stand out from the crowd and elevate it to the top of the ‘must read’ pile of any prospective employer.

Avoid a generic CV

Many jobs and organisations are not the same and a generic approach to your CV will be spotted immediately by any prospective employer. To avoid invoking frustration in your prospective employer, add some key achievements and responsibilities that are relevant to that specific role.

Philip Bowles, Head of Talent Acquisition UK & Ireland for SThree, explained: “An employer can see through a generic CV straight away. If you want to increase your chances of securing an interview, we would always advise adjusting your CV to reflect the job you’re applying for. That may mean swapping the format around a bit, or highlighting specific skills that are desirable for this role.”

Although it may be time consuming to tailor and amend your CV it could be the one thing that sets you apart from everyone else. Showing you understand the job on offer will clearly demonstrate that you are a serious contender for the position.

Keep it on point

An employer will spend very little time reading your CV if it looks messy and is unorganised. Making sure your CV is as succinct as possible will go a long way to catching an employer’s eye and will make them want to read it.

A general rule is to always aim for a CV no longer than two A4 pages with no lengthy paragraphs and well utilised bullet point sections. This approach will maximise appealing white space and make your CV look much more professional.

Show your personality

CVs are not just a place for qualifications and showcasing your experience. While it’s crucial to do both of those things it’s equally important to show the person behind the CV and the career.

Including a basic and personalised “about me” section will give an employer a flavour of your personality and out of work activities. All of this will ultimately offer an insight into how well you could fit in to their organisation and workplace culture.

“The CV is your window of opportunity to make an impact with a prospective employee, by investing time in the content the greater the level of success will be achieved,” says Philip, “the saying ‘you only get one shot’ is so true. Employees want to see the real you enabling them to visualise your suitability for the role.

“I always advise; check your grammar, avoid clichés, quantify achievements and follow this step by guide to stay ahead of the game”

Quantify your career success

While writing your CV it’s very easy to only briefly mention your achievements or even ignore them completely. Don’t assume that a prospective employer knows the significance of certain achievements in your previous jobs.

Adding detail, whether it be facts, percentages or statistics, will be greatly appreciated by an employer as it offers concrete evidence of what value and skills you can bring to their business.

Email might not be best

In today’s technological era the vast majority of job applications are submitted online and understandably so. However, with many employers receiving hundreds of job applications via email, the possibility of it getting lost and ignored is a risk.

A failsafe way of getting your CV in front of the people who matter is to identify who you are sending your CV to. It might sound simple but hand delivering your CV and cover letter to the relevant hiring manager will send a strong signal.

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