Making your CV stand out

If you’ve been in a job for a while, it can be difficult to get back into the job hunting game and work out your tactics for standing out against the competition. The first step is to make sure your CV is up to date and positions you, your skills and experience in the best light. Here are some tips for how to make your CV stand out:

Showcase your strongest skills

List your key skills which are most relevant for the job you’re applying for. For example, if you’re applying for an assessor role, it will pay to mention your strengths in time-keeping and attention to detail. It's important from the offset to show why they should choose you. You can also take it to the next step by referencing certain projects or examples that you’ve applied this knowledge to as well.

Kay Dowland, Recruitment Consultant at Alderwood offers some additional advice: “You should always make sure you list any relevant training, as well as industry qualifications. Many candidates don’t include any of this and presume it’s obvious that they have the qualifications required, when often it’s not!”

… But don’t neglect your other skills

Although they may be your main strengths, don’t leave out what you may perceive as your less relevant skills. To excel at many roles, skills such as team working and good communication go a long way. Showcasing this in your CV can illustrate to  prospective employers that you’re a desirable candidate.

Structuring your CV

How you structure your CV is very important. Some employers will make the decision about whether to carry on reading your CV purely based on your opening summary and key skills so if you want to grab the employer’s attention, tailor it to the role you’re applying for. You should also put the greatest emphasis on your latest/most relevant jobs, and simply summarise the older or less relevant roles.

Check, check and check again

Spell check and carefully proofread your CV. It is worth asking someone else to read it; a fresh perspective could pick up on mistakes you have missed. Even the smallest mistakes could make an employer think you are not conscientious. As well as spell checking and proofreading for punctuation, always make sure the font type and size is consistent.

Brad Coombes, Senior Consultant at Alderwood, reiterates the importance of spell checking: “Checking your CV a number of times is really important. For an employer, there’s nothing more off-putting than a candidate who states that they “pay attention to details” and then doesn’t hit spell check before sending!”

Think like a recruiter

When reading through your CV, try to place yourself in the position of an employer reading the document. Would you hire you? And does this CV really get across information you want to see in the best possible way?

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