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How To Make Your CV To Stand Out From The Rest

In these uncertain times, it’s becoming increasingly competitive to find a job. Certain roles and industries are seeing a massive spike in job applications. Last year, in less than 24 hours, a receptionist role for a Manchester-based restaurant received almost 1000 job applications. The increase in competition makes it all the more important, that your CV will stand out in front of the hiring manager.


How can I do this?

Incorporate keywords

Keywords are a definite must in order for your CV to stand out. Without including the right skills, or experience your CV will not make it past the first application hurdle. Many employers utilise CV screening technology to automatically search job applications for candidate key skills that match the job vacancy. When composing your CV, keep referring back to the original job advert and make sure you can incorporate all or if not some of the skills it states as required.


Focus on job titles and relevant work experience

Whether a recruiter screens your CV manually or automatically both methods will prioritise your work experience. Ensure this section is of the highest standard. Here’s how to format:

Job Title – If your job title is very niche to the organisation, it’s ok to make slight changes to make it more mainstream and ensure all recruiters can identify the role.

Company – Name of the organisation you work or worked for.

Dates – The length of experience, month and date you started and finished or present if currently still employed.

Role Overview – A summary of your role.

Key responsibilities – Bullet points highlighting the key role responsibilities.

Achievements – Include here evidence in the form of statistics, numbers and percentages to prove how you made a difference during your employment.


Personalise your CV

Every CV you submit should be tailored to each individual employer. Hiring teams will bypass job applications that have been mass distributed.

But how can they tell? Your CV will not stand out. Your skills, experience and opening bio will not reflect the job vacancy which will definitely not impress the recruiter.

Remember a little effort goes a long way, once your tailored CV is submitted, follow up with the hiring manager through a personalised message. Inform them of your submission and that you are looking forward to hearing back from them. It’s a small touch that will help them remember and help make you stand out from the others.


Provide examples of work

Showcase your potential! Take that extra step in proving your capability and provide your future employer with examples of your work. If you are applying for a creative role this could be a portfolio or if you are applying for a digital role this could be website links to blog posts, web pages, and social media accounts.

However, if the role you are applying for is more difficult to provide work examples, be sure to include in your CV the impact you made in your last role. What did you achieve? How was it made possible? This shows to the employer your capabilities and willingness to go the extra mile.


Key points to remember

  • Try to apply to a role as early as possible! If an employer experiences a high volume of applicants they may close the position early.
  • Update your LinkedIn page and include a link to this in your CV.
  • Make sure to include extracurricular activities. Are you part of a team? Do you play sports at the weekend? A work/life balance is important and employers want to see that.
  • Remember if you really want your CV to stand out keep it to a maximum of two pages. Recruiters have a very limited amount of time per CV review and probably won’t spend over a minute reading it.


  1. Maureen Smith

    Re. Your Advice on CV’s

    Limiting a CV to 2 pages is difficult if you’ve worked 30+ years, bearing in mind you include Job Title, Company, Dates, Role Overview/Summary, Key Responsibilities (in bullet points), and your Achievements, how do you fit in all that information from a long career into just 2 pages?
    Some say just make your CV show the last 10 years of work/jobs, but then you risk leaving out valuable previous experience gained earlier in your career, which could clinch a job, especially if/when relevant. Others say it’s acceptable to submit longer CV’s depending on the type of role/job you do. There’s no ‘standard’ as it just seems to depend on the role, the job you’re applying for, the company itself, or the agency you’re applying for the job through, but all advise differently. It’s confusing not knowing how best to present your CV in a way that fulfills so many different requirements, the only alternative being to continually keep changing it? In addition to tailoring it specifically to the job you’re applying for.

  2. Chris Rose

    I Aggree with Maureeen, youhave a lot of BS out there like you must not leave any gaps in work histyory but fit it all in 2 pages whihc is impossible if you get loads of temp casual fill in work and other jobs, especially agency work.

    What’s the point of saying how log you were there when its often a say a few days or week? I work in the film and TV industry you are often just needed for the film shoot in that location, or some promo work handing out samples on a weekend festival.

    Likewise what’s the use of listing work in date order when the better more relevant work is way back and wont fit.

    For example you are backpacking and all the recent work is things like handing out nightclub fliers, jelly wrestling gigs, the off bit of labouring, few days hotel house keeping, or cold call centre work etc when applying for an engineering training position.

    Likewise when there is lots of overlapping work like film extra and promo agency work.

    How about when your work does not allow for achievements ie film extra, I walk past Tom Cruise lots of times from lots of camera angles, Or go and see if the card display is up on many shops or helping decorate a film set etc.

    Likewise how do you state a salary when every day pays different, or when your recent job have no relevance to what you are applying to etc

  3. Matt

    I agree with your recommendation to incorporate keywords into the CV! Generally speaking, I tend to focus more on hard skills and industry-specific terminology.

    Phrasing related to soft skills such as “effective communicator,” “skilled leader” and “problem solver” don’t add much value without evidence to back them up.

    It’s much more effective to provide specific examples of ways you actually demonstrated communications and leadership experience within your bullet points instead. It’ll also help differentiate you from other similar applicants.

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