How to Make Your Resume Stand Out
Your curriculum vitae is a prospective employer’s first access to you and your aspirations, so make sure the impression lasts!
There are many ways you can get your resume wrong when it comes to inspiring someone who’s received your CV to call you back and ask to interview you. Here are some things you can do to make your CV stand out from the crowd:
- Always attach a cover or introductory letter. This letter is the first thing a recruiter will read, and if it is lacking in any detail, it’s possible they won’t even bother with your CV. The most important things to remember for your cover letter are your spelling and a short biography showing the recruiter how you match with the job’s requirements. If you’ve worked for particular well-known organisations, include their names. Also, every job is different, so make sure every covering letter is also different and tailored to the specific job.
- Make sure the layout of your CV is consistent. If it’s not, you’re telling your prospective employer that you don’t have excellent attention to detail. This includes spelling and grammar, so make certain this is perfect! Many recruiters instantly remove CVs that have these errors.
- Your key skills section should not cover every one of your skills, even if you’re an excellent cupcake baker - tailor your list to the skills specifically required for the job you’re applying for; in other words, focus on your strongest talents.
- Wherever possible, include the result of your actions in your previous employment. If you were involved in the creative for an award-winning advertisement, mention this, as it will be more concrete than an abstract list of responsibilities.
- Focus on the job title of the career you’re applying for, and add some flair to your resume title to immediately attract attention. If you are applying for a marketing assistant position and have experience, add 'with five years of experience' or 'for WHEY Advertisers', as an example.
- Include memberships to industry-relevant clubs and associations, as that shows that you are dedicated to your chosen career.
- Don’t ramble, as CVs that resemble an academic essay find their way to the bin really fast. You need to use dynamic and concise language.
- As with your cover letter, target your CV for the job you are applying for, trimming the unnecessary skills and experience so that your CV is succinct and to the point.
- Rather than list your responsibilities at previous employers, ask yourself 'So what?' and tell your reader how you met the responsibility with evidence, preferably in numbers or percentages.
- Attach a copy of your most important qualification, as it shows sincerity and gives your CV credibility.
- Add references! This is one of the most important parts of your CV because your potential employer will want to speak to someone who has experience of your work ethic and performance.
Remember that applying for a job is a learning experience, so there is nothing wrong with asking why your CV was not shortlisted. Take any criticism as constructive and move on to create a superb resume!