Top 10 tips to make your CV stand out

Posted on: 8 December 2022 by Richard Finch in Hints, tips and advice

Your CV could be the first thing a prospective employer will see about you so it needs to stand out if you are to make it through to the next round of the selection process.

A good CV shows employers what you have to offer and will make them want to find out more about you. It is your personal marketing tool where you are selling your skills, qualities, expertise and potential to a prospective employer.

Here are 10 top tips to help make your CV stand out:

  1. Know your audience

When crafting the content for your CV think first about who is reading it and what they need to know about you. What skills and experience they are looking for? You need to tailor your CV for each role you are applying for. To save time it’s a good idea to have a few different versions of your basic CV on hand to make it easier to tailor to the job you’re applying for.

  1. Choose the right CV style

Reverse chronological CV (most recent events first) is most effective if your course/work experience is directly related to what you are applying for and ensures that the most recent qualifications and experience are the first thing the employer sees. A skills based CV is useful if your course is not relevant and you need to highlight your transferable skills.

  1. Make the information you provide relevant

The information in your CV needs to be tailored to the job you’re applying for. If you are applying for work experience or a placement, the reader wants to see the skills and knowledge you have and some indication of what you’d like to gain in the placement.

  1. Provide examples

Use the STAR method to write succinct examples and make sure everything is relevant. Put most emphasis on the action part of your example and clearly demonstrate the skill you have used.

  1. Don’t write too much

Your CV should be a maximum of two sides of A4. Choose your words carefully. If it isn’t relevant, be brutal and cut it out.

  1. Make sure the most important information stands out

The first page is the most important as the recruiter might not turn over to look at the second. Don’t put your most crucial information on the second page. If this information is hidden away the recruiter might miss it. Use relevant headings to draw the eye to the information underneath and consider a personal profile as a ‘sound bite’ to summarise how you match the job profile.

  1. Presentation

The words should look good on the page so make sure everything is clear and well formatted. For example, make sure you don’t change font or font size part way through your CV. You are what your CV tells people you are. If you want to come across as a professional make sure your CV looks the business.  If you’re handing in a hard copy, don’t fold or staple the paper – a simple paperclip and plastic wallet will look much tidier.

  1. Use appropriate words

Look at the job description and see what type of words they use under their ‘must have’, ‘required skills’ or ‘essential skills’ sections.  If they say they need someone with excellent communication skills, use these words in your CV.

  1. Proofread

This check might just be the most important. Spelling mistakes and grammar issues give a bad first impression. Get as many people as you can to read it over and help to make sure your CV is in tip top shape. Whilst you’re applying for jobs, try to make sure you’re checking your CV at least once a month to ensure all the content is still relevant.

  1. Get advice in the Career Studio

Drop-in to the Career Studio on University Square for advice on how to make your CV stand out or to have your CV checked by one of the team.

You can find more useful information on crafting the perfect CV - click here!

Make use of our CV360 digital tool that helps you to create a brand new CV or update your existing resume.

The University’s Careers and Employability team offer support in our Career Studio on University Square and have developed a series of resources to help you with every stage of the recruitment process. 

Keywords: hints and tips, Apply.