7 Expert Tips for Making Your CV Stand Out

Need professional CV help? Check out these expert CV tips from Universal Recruitment and Interim Solutions.

7 Expert Tips for Making Your CV Stand Out

A stand-out CV is no easy feat. These days, surviving the digital application process takes some specific CV structuring and strategies. Thankfully, you don’t have to do it alone.

The right recruitment and employment specialists can help you write the perfect CV. By choosing to read this article, you’re already on the right track! Universal Recruitment and Interim Solutions is a world-class resource connecting top employers with competitive candidates, especially (but not exclusively) those from the defence and security sectors.

Wherever you’re headed, our expert tips can give you a boost in the right direction.

1. Keep It to 2 Sides

“Think BREVITY,” advises URIS Managing Director Guy Denison-Smith. He says the ideal CV length is one A4 page, two sides (so two written pages).

You may have lots to say about your background and professional experience, but keeping it concise shows a respect for the employer or recruiter’s time. Long paragraphs and run-on sentences are common CV mistakes.

2. Don’t Disclose All Personal Data

7 Expert Tips for Making Your CV Stand Out

Don’t include information like your home address on your CV (never mind gender, age, character references and so on). Too much personal data can compromise your own digital security and make it read more like a biography than a professional document. Closely read what the job posting is asking for regarding personal information, and provide that.

If those requirements aren’t clear, here’s a good general rule: Give your name with post-nominals, email address and mobile number. Anything besides that is just taking up precious page real estate.

3. Simple Formats Read Best

“Keep your layout business-like and not too flashy,” recommends Guy. “Remember it is about you and not what your CV looks like.”

Stressing about the visual appeal of your CV is a waste of time. High volumes of CVs are usually sorted by an Applicant Tracking System or ATS. ATS bots often can’t correctly read graphs, columns, tables, or images, so your creative design choices might get your CV booted before it’s ever appreciated by human eyes.

4. Make 2 Versions

Thanks to ATS bots and the modern digital application landscape, CV keywords are now INCREDIBLY important. You want a CV that ticks a certain amount of keywords on your employer’s wishlist.

Prepare by making one all-purpose CV (detailing your experience/qualifications in plain English) and then use it to build a specialised CV for each job opening.

“You will need a generic/standard CV that you use for headhunters and recruiters,” explains Guy, “but you will need to tailor your CV to each position for which you are applying.”

That tailored option should include as many keywords directly from the posting as possible.

5. Perfect Your Personal Statement

7 Expert Tips for Making Your CV Stand Out

The personal statement should be right at the front/top of your CV. It’s the first thing a recruiter or employer will read, so make it count!

Guy advises your personal statement be kept short- no more than 5 or 6 lines. So how do you write a CV personal statement?

Focus on communicating three things as simply as possible: who you are (in one sentence), what your main career goal is, and why you would add value to the role at hand.

6. Communicate Experience in Data Points

“If you have a full and varied career, you don’t need to include full details on all of your positions,” Guy explains. “Highlight your last 3-4 roles in detail showing what you achieved and what the outcomes were, using data if possible.”

Data points like how many people you managed or the amount a campaign earned with your help will speak volumes. Think bullet points, more numbers, and fewer words.

7. End with Education

Guy advises that successful CVs usually have education included as a final section. Giving your sections clear titles (Personal Statement, Work Experience, Skills, Education) will also be an advantage in the bot-scanning ATS process.

If you’ve included your post-nominals with your name on your CV, a recruiter/employer already understands your educational qualifications up top. Save further details about those quals for the end: it’s an efficient use of time and space for people who will make decisions without reading the whole thing.

Bonus: Don’t Overthink

7 Expert Tips for Making Your CV Stand Out

“At the end of the day, CVs are personal documents, and you will receive lots of advice. Keep it simple, don’t overthink it, keep it current and accurate,” says Guy.

The best CVs this year have enough information to keep the reader interested but leave them wanting more. Let’s be clear: your CV alone isn’t going to win you your dream job, but it’s a great way to open the door for an interview that helps you close the deal.

Want more job hunt motivation? Read some of our success stories here - and watch this space for more job application and interview advice.

READ NEXT: Top 10 Interview Tips for Service Leavers and Veterans

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