How to write a C.V. that stands out!
Updated: Jan 1
Looking for a job can be a little like dating, it’s about finding the right match. Your first move is usually your C.V., so it’s important to put time and effort into making it the best it can be. A good C.V. is your ticket to the interview, where you’ll both get to know each other better. You get to tell them more about you, but it’s also a great opportunity to ask questions. Good matches are right for both parties. Writing a good C.V. can be daunting, but with our step-by-step guide, you’ll have everything you need to stand out from the crowd and showcase your qualifications, experience and achievements.
1. Start with your name and a concise summary
When your C.V. lands on a recruiter’s desk, the first thing they’re going to check is your basic qualifications, so they know where you’re likely to be placed. If you’re applying for a specific job, an employer will want to know that you’re qualified for the position. To stand out, include a descriptive one-liner after your name that tells them who you are and what you can do. Imagine yourself as a brand, what would your slogan be? Something snappy like “economist with experience in marketing,” or “multilingual barista with a passion for customer service” works well. (Just to be clear, this is not the time for a philosophical motto! No “Carpe Diem,” please!
2. Describe your previous work and training in detail
Every company works a little differently, so don’t assume your new employer will know what your role entailed, even if you’re applying for a similar position. To stand out, give them a little more than just your previous job title. Tell them briefly about your duties and level of responsibility. This will help them to understand the range of your experience. For example, “As a sales representative, I was responsible for generating leads, meeting or exceeding sales goals, and giving sales presentations to clients.” For more complex roles, a bulleted list is a good idea.
3. Describe your previous employer
In a short sentence, describe your previous employer and what they do. Again, this may feel obvious to you, especially if it’s a well-known company, but it provides valuable information to potential employers about where you’ve come from.
4. Always customise your C.V. to the position
I know it’s tempting to have a “one size fits all” C.V., but to stand out, tailor your C.V. to each job you’re applying for. Carefully study the job description on the advertisement. What are they looking for? Identify the specific skills they’re after and think about which of your skills and experience are worth highlighting. Pay attention to their specific wording and incorporate this into your own descriptions. This shows that you’ve carefully considered the position and why you’d be a good match. Don’t expect them to read between the lines! If you know you have what they’re looking for, make it clear!
5. Keep it short!
Remember our dating analogy? The C.V. is just an invitation, it’s not the first date! You will have plenty of time at the interview to tell them more about yourself. Potential employers quickly scan C.V.’s, so your goal is to get the most important information on one A4 page that can give them enough information to request an interview.
· Who you are and your slogan
· Last three employers
· Highest educational qualification
· Any skills/qualifications specific to the job
Include the most relevant information first. If your qualification is essential to be considered for the job, let this be the first thing they read. Your goal is to catch their attention quickly!
6. Include something personal
Give your C.V. an edge by including something personal along with your qualifications. Here, briefly talk about an experience that demonstrates character or personality. This can be volunteer work, an interesting project or an achievement. Avoid things like “I like socialising and going out with my friends.” Be strategic and think about how your words will be received. You might be trying to communicate that you’re an excellent networker, but they may wonder about your reliability. Choose something that tells them about the best of who you are.
7. Layout, Layout, Layout!
A poorly laid out C.V. full of spelling mistakes communicates to potential employers that you just don’t care, even if that’s not true. If you’re worried about this, remember to keep it simple. Do a spell check, and get a friend to check your C.V. too. Don’t forget to include your contact details, including your physical address, phone number and email address.
Happy job hunting!