Six tips to make your CV outstanding
Your CV is your personal marketing brochure. It needs to give a potential employer an insight to what separates you from other applicants. Should you be uncertain about that, start with a self-analysis (you may contact your career service office for support). Coming to the structure, we have prepared a list of tips to help make your CV stand out from the crowd.
1. Make them understand
The more information you can provide, the better! Companies will use everything to understand what you actually did and what you achieved. Have three to four bullet points under your most recent employment experiences and be prepared to change them according to the job you are applying for.
2. Be Consistent
- Keep your formatting consistent throughout (font, text size, etc.)
- List your education and employment in a standardised way (i.e., list the name of your university followed by your degree; list the name of your company followed by your position.
- Make sure all sections are in chronological order. Put the most recent information first.
- Make sure that your CV is also consistent to your CV in professional networks.
3. Be relevant
- Choose the best examples from each experience that best matches the job.
- Think of the technical aspects of your experience that may be useful.
- Use the technical terminology of the industry/organisational area you’re applying to, (e.g., marketing or banking).
- Tailor your CV to each application – what is the most important thing for the company you are applying to?
- Consider adding a 'Summary' section which you tailor for each role, especially if you have diverse experience. It needs to be precise and focused, demonstrating two or three key facts that make you suitable for the role.
4. Keep it simple
Most companies prefer a clear, simple structure and clearly defined sections. Overly complicated graphics or borders make it hard for the employer to find the information they need.
5. Stay with your tasks
To give employers a good overview of your skills, it is best to describe the tasks you have performed. Describing the skills you used in past employment does not give any evidence of your experience—it is hard for employers to understand what you actually did in a role. Instead, use action-orientated sentences to describe what you did in order to highlight your skills to the employer (e.g., “Co-ordinated with the sales team on a daily basis by leading the morning meeting.”)
6. Try to be as precise as possible
Don’t use buzz words and try to avoid general or vague vocabulary like “supported”, “assisted” etc., rather try to describe your tasks as concrete as possible. Be careful with adjectives as well—words like ‘dynamic’ or ‘interpersonal’ are overused and do not tell the employer anything about you.
"What does a good CV look like?"
"Provide clarity, explain your work experiences in three bullet points and mention your final grades."
“Don’t forget to list your commitments beyond your educational and professional background. Whether you chair a club, train the kids’ volleyball team or volunteered to work in a shelter for the homeless – let us know about it!”
“Our favourite CVs are one-pagers with a clear format; and don't forget to send it to a friend to check for typos!”