Writing a curriculum vitae has become so standardised, it has almost become a copy and paste activity for many people. As any manager or HR personnel would tell you, that’s not the most effective method. Here are 4 practices to help make your CV stand out from the crowd.
Are you applying for one specific role or browsing different opportunities across multiple fields?
Each role should have a CV written specifically for that position, highlighting the necessary and relevant credentials, experience and value that you’ll bring to the company.
Ignore past experiences that are not connected to this position otherwise it will look like 'padding' - that you're just trying to fill the space. We are aiming for quality, not quantity. Even if you only have 1 relevant experience, go into more detail about it. Outline the responsibilities, the action you took and the results you achieved.
Put yourself in their shoes
Imagine you are the employer. What would you expect from the employee? What skills must they have? What personal qualities will be considered? Will they need you to work unsociable hours or support your colleagues or even work from home? Try to get into their frame of mind and adapt your profile accordingly.
When we review teacher applications, the first element we look for is the teaching qualification. Our teachers must have a meet a certain standard of training. If they possess the relevant qualification, we then browse their experience and check the details of what they did in their role e.g whether they taught adults or children, Business or General English, IELTS or Cambridge. Finally, we try to get a sense of their personality and character. Is this person going to represent our school as we require? Will they be professional and punctual but also, will they be friendly and courteous with our students. There are just some examples.
It will be similar for your potential employer. Put yourself in their shoes and think about what they need. This is what you need to offer.
Are you following the same, boring Europass layout that hundreds of thousands of your competitors are? Depending on your field, you could certainly add some life and dynamism which will reflect some personality (without having to even write anything).
You may think that innovative designs may be fine for people in arts or marketing, but even if your profession is more traditional, you can still make minor adjustments to help you stand out in the recruiter’s mind. Fonts, sizes, colour and especially the layout. Instead of a classic list, perhaps box vital information into a summary at the top. You could then place the Education and Work Experience side by side in 2 columns, with the necessary highlights.
Merely changing the shape and structure will help you stand out from the crowd, try it.
The universally recommended length of a CV is 3 pages and we agree. Keep it short, direct and snappy. Employers will have to read hundreds and they won’t read every single word.
Bullet points, highlights or headings and bold font are the tools that will help communicate your ultimate strengths as the recruiter’s eyes skim through the sections to find what they’re looking for, a little like this article!
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