FIRST IMPRESSIONS COUNT – 5 things to make your CV stand out
Your CV is often the first and only information a potential employer will receive about you so its importance should never be undervalued.
A well written CV demonstrates how you meet the needs of the employer by detailing your talents and achievements clearly and in a positive manner.
A quality CV summarises both your qualifications and experience, and highlights how your skills and achievements benefited your previous employer. Show your personality as much as possible, focus on what problems you solved, rather than “I am good at …” .
Below are some pointers to consider when submitting your CV for a new role.
1. COVER LETTER
You should always include a cover letter to accompany your CV. The cover letter is your introduction, and allows you to highlight key skills and accomplishments which are particularly relevant to the position.
Always address your letter to a named person/company name, quote the job reference and source of advertisement, this shows you have made the effort to customise your application and shows you are keen. A cover letter should be brief and to the point – aim to keep the cover letter to a maximum of one page.
2. MATCH CV TO JOB DESCRIPTION.
A job description is a list of requirements created by the prospective employer. This is what skillset they would like the ideal applicants to have.
Top Tip: Take the job description and highlight each of the requirements. When updating your CV for this new role make sure include the words highlighted in your CV. This will get you noticed above everybody else as you are ticking the boxes as the employer reads your CV.
When you submit your CV most employers will use a database. Think about how Google works then a database is similar. A Recruiter or Hiring Manager runs a search against the database for a set of keywords. If you have these keywords in your CV then it will show up.
You get one chance to make a first impression, your CV should be well-presented, and proof-read it for grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. Employers are always impressed by candidate’s attention to detail, but more so, employers are put off by untidy layout and spelling errors.
Top Tip: Ask a trusted friend to read it, a second set of eyes can clearly see errors you might have missed.
4. HIGHLIGHT STRENGTHS, COMPETENCIES.
All Employers want to find the best candidate. Make sure you emphasise your core strengths and competencies and that what you focus on matches the core skills outlined in job description. Provide detail on some of the tasks you completed and the benefits to the company. If you have a project you are especially proud of, and it is relevant then provide details and outcomes. Make sure it’s relevant to the position you are applying for.
5. SHOW YOUR PERSONALITY.
A lot of CVs are copies of copies or modified versions of old CVs. Create a new CV when applying for a new role. Focus on your personality traits that are sought after in the role you are applying for.
For example, in social work, a recruiter will like to see positive statements like ‘caring’, ‘incorporate humour into my daily activities’ and ‘empathetic’.
Use the hobbies and interests section to show that you are ‘a team player’, ‘active in your community’, ‘care about others’– be it people, animal or environmental welfare interests.
Personality coming through in your CV will make you stand out from the crowd and get noticed. You just need to make sure it’s for the right reasons. Strong words like hate, despise, even fight – can put a reader off.
YOUR SALES PITCH
A good CV is not a complete autobiography, but simply enough information to let the person recruiting see how well you match their requirements. If you think about your CV in a marketing context, the CV is a sales pitch and you are the product, therefore you need to show how your skills match their needs. The aim of your CV is to spark interest, which in turn ensures that the employer calls you in for an interview. To do this, your CV must set you apart from your competitors.