First impressions count

If you want to secure interviews and land your dream job, you need to ensure your CV stands out from the crowd. On average, recruiters spend 7 seconds looking at a CV before deciding whether a candidate is suitable for the role.

Competition is tough with thousands of recent graduates, top performers and quality CV’s, so how do you make it out on top? If you want to ensure that your CV is read in full, you need to grab recruiters’ attention from the second your CV is opened.

Competitive market

Recruiters are often inundated with hundreds of CVs for a single vacancy, and don’t always have time to read every one in full. If the desired requirements for their vacancy are not at the top of your CV, recruiters may just shut it down and move on to the next CV.

Yes, this can be a bit harsh, but in a competitive job market, you are in a tank full of sharks where everyone wants to eat. That is just the reality that you need to prepare for.

Achievements and results are what really count

You need to start somewhere, and that is with a summary of your skills and key accomplishments. You want to attract the recruiter and grab their attention from the get-go. You want to make the right first impression, so getting your personal profile right is an important part of writing your CV  - it tells the recruiter exactly who you are.

Tailor your CV for the job you want

Writing your CV in line with your target job will allow the recruiter to see immediately whether you are a good fit for the role. Whatever the requirements, make sure they go into your CV’s top quarter (if you have them).

Research different job sites to browse through the job adverts and start making a list of the most common candidate requirements that keep appearing. This way you can respond directly to the description of each job advert and explain exactly why you are the perfect fit for the role. To do this, you need to relate your accomplishments to the elements of the job role. Yes, this might take you longer to write your CV when applying for different roles, but it is time well spent if it helps you obtain the perfect position.

“Employers want candidates to understand the role they are applying for, and the more you can demonstrate this, the more your CV will stand out” (Sophie-Anne Bradley, Top Universities 2021).

Prove your worth with facts

It’s easy to say you’re good at something, but you need to back it up. If you want your CV to stand out, you need to substantiate your claims – give them a good reason to hire you. You can do this by focusing on your personal development to show how you have grown and changed in your roles, highlighting the accomplishments you have achieved.

The best way to do this is, is with facts and figures that can be used to measure your effectiveness. For example, the amount of income/ profit generated, the time taken to complete a project, or the value of company budget controlled.

Including figures like this, gives recruiters measurable examples of what they can expect from hiring you.

What sets you apart?

For every job application you submit, you could be up against hundreds of other candidates who have a similar skill set.

You need to have a unique selling point that will set you apart from the rest. Whether that be having your own blog, volunteer work, any extracurricular activities, or whether you use social media to network with others in your field, it’ll all help you to stand out from the crowd. All of these extras should be relevant to the job and prove your ability to succeed in the role.

It is important to elaborate on your knowledge of the specific field, along with any other impressive achievements (e.g. having your work published and displayed at an event). You can back this up by including links to portfolios, blogs, or anything else that validates your skills and makes you unique.

Keep it simple

You need to get the basics right if you want to make a good impression. Therefore, it’s crucial to write your CV in a clear, concise, and to-the-point manner (no more than two pages). Always read your CV thoroughly to ensure that all grammar, spelling and punctuation are in order.

Lastly, make the layout of your CV easy to navigate. Break up the text in your CV to make a more pleasant experience for the reader. Keep paragraphs short and sharp and use bullet points throughout your role descriptions so they can be easily navigated with the eye.

Your CV is the first impression given to the recruiter or hiring manager and gives a snapshot of who you are, your skills and your experience. Standing out from the crowd will determine whether you score an interview or not. Make it count!