When applying for a new job, your CV could be your ticket to getting through the first stage of selection process. But, how to make your CV stand out from the crowd?
Developing a strong CV can be one of the toughest challenges of job hunting. In this competitive job market, it takes a little effort to make your CV stand out from the crowd. You might be confused at first on how to begin formatting your CV. Whether you’re a new graduate or an experienced professional looking for a job, here’s our guide on how to build a strong CV that you can feel confident about.
But, before that here are a few tips from our recruiters at Quest:
- Your CV is the first thing an employer will judge you on, so make sure it showcases all your relevant skills and experience in a neat and clean format that is easy to follow.
- Make sure that you tailor yourskills and experienceto the job roles that you apply for. This increases your chances of being spotted in the crowd.
- Chronologically, list the information you need to include in your CV.
- A good looking CV is much likely to be read from the piles of CV than a shabby one. So, make sure that your CV follows a good layout, proper font size (not too big) and relevant content.
- Highlight your key achievements. Stand out from the crowd by adding facts and figures. Eg. Grew sales by X %, or increased LFL by X %
The best format to write a CV can be seen in the guide below.
What details should I include in my CV?
- Postal address
- Contact number
- Email address
- Social Media preferably LinkedIn URL
This is your chance to grab the reader’s initial attention. Keep it concise with around 60 – 70 words and unique to your skill set. You can highlight your experience & achievements to date or briefly outline your career aims and reasons for seeking a new role.
- List all work experience in reverse chronological order, beginning with your current or last position.
- Provide brief details of the companies you’ve worked for i.e. the name and type of business plus turnover.
- State the dates of employment and include details of your key responsibilities and key achievements within the role.
- Ensure the detail is factual and quantitative. Future employers want concise and informative information that sells your skills to them.
In reverse chronological order, list:
- Your professional qualifications achieved, including the one you’re currently studying
- Your university, course & degree gained (if applicable)
- Your secondary and further education including A-Levels, GCSEs/O Levels and grades obtained
- Detail all the systems in which you’re literate or have used previously i.e. Word, Excel, SAP, Photoshop, etc. State your proficiency in each honestly.
- List any foreign languages along with your proficiency at each classified as Basic, Conversational or Fluent.
Hobbies and Interests
Listing interests and hobbies provides a more personal profile for employers and helps to present you as a rounded individual.
It is up to you whether you include referee’s details in your CV or prefer not to disclose them at this stage. If you prefer not to disclose you can mention “References available upon request”.
But, if you’d like to include references, then provide the following information:
Position and relationship to you i.e. ‘previous line manager’
Postal address (optional)
- Make your CV look professional: write it in MS Word and focus on clear, consistent formatting.
- Don’t have unexplained gaps: If you have been travelling or unemployed, include the details. Time out is often a good discussion point at interview.
- Be concise: your CV should ideally be about 2 pages if you have good amount of work experience. For a fresher, a one page CV is preferable.
- Keep it neat: Short paragraphs and bullet points look neat and make the CV easy to read.
- Keyword Friendly: Recruiters are most likely to look for a set of keywords matching to the job description. So, make sure you put in the right amount of keywords relevant to the job.
- Avoid Errors: Check and Double check for any errors or look for second opinion from friends or colleagues.
- Keep it Current: Always keep your CV updated by recording everything significant in your career.
- Use Numbers: Back up your achievements with numbers, for instance don’t write that I increased sales, instead say that you increased sales by 60% in a 6-month period.
Now that you have an idea of what should be included in your CV, read more on how to avoid common CV mistakes and best practice for cover letters.