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Whether you’re searching for a new job position, or you are looking for your break into the workplace after recently finishing school or university, making your CV unique is essential if you want to get invited to an interview.
As a result, it is crucial to get into the head of your potential employer and consider exactly what they are looking for, to ensure you are ticking all the right boxes for them. Here are five ways to ensure your CV stands out from the crowd, and make sure you are the employer’s desired candidate.
- Personal statement
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Your personal statement is the first thing an employer sees when they open your CV, so it is fundamental you get this part right if you want them to carry on reading.
First of all, let them know who you are, what you can offer and what your goals are. Use keywords and phrases from the job description to help identify the specific skill sets that the employer is searching for.
Secondly, make it as unique as possible. Anyone can easily regurgitate what they can do and bring to a company, but the key is to stand out. In the news recently, a man went viral for creating a rap as his cover letter, which obviously stood out considerably more amongst other candidates – and he got offered the job! The moral is this is to be different. Employers read hundreds of CVs; they want something unique, not the same CV for the 103rd time.
Emphasise your the most impressive, interesting and relevant skills that will help you bag the job, and use examples to back up your claims. It is advised to aim for around four or five lines here, to avoid rambling on too much and losing focus.
- What’s your USP?
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It’s no secret that job hunting is highly competitive – and tough. Every job application you apply to, you could be up against a number of other candidates who have a similar skillset. However, it is your unique selling point (USP) that can help to set you apart.
Whether you have your own blog, you take part in extra-curricular activities in your spare time, volunteer at a local charity shop, or even have a large following on social media; it will help you significantly and bring different skills to the job you are applying to. In addition, if you voluntarily take part in courses, such as Prince 2 project management training, it is a huge bonus for employers and looks impressive too.
However, in order to include these on your CV, they must be relevant to the job at hand and highlight your strengths. For example, if your blog content specializes in the job you are applying to, you should draw attention to your awareness and extensive knowledge – alongside any other impressive achievements, such as having your work published. You should also include links to portfolios, or anything else that not only demonstrates your skills but also makes you unique.
- Keywords are key
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When writing up your CV, it is worth considering adding in keywords. However, there is a fine line between using keywords and overdoing it. When looking to recruit, employers use keywords to search for candidates that relate to the job title they are hiring for – especially if the recruiter is using an applicant tracking system (ATS). So, to make sure you impress, always check the job description and company website for specific keywords and phrases the employer may have their eye on.
- Tailor your CV to the job
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If you’ve been sending the same CV to every employer, you’re doing it wrong. You should always alter your CV in line with the role you are applying for, utilizing the job description and company information.
A CV is all about selling yourself and emphasizing your relevant skills and experience. If the skills you mention aren’t relevant, the employer will disregard your CV as they won’t know how you fit into the job role on offer. It will take more time, but is worth adapting your CV for each job application than submit hundreds that won’t necessarily stand you in good stead against other candidates.
- Don’t forget the basics
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Your CV won’t stand out if you don’t get basics right. Therefore, it’s vital to write a CV that’s clear, concise and to the point, with zero grammatical errors or typos. Always check before you press send, to avoid any embarrassment.
Ideally, your CV should be no more than two pages and remember, less is always more. To achieve this, consider using headers and bullet points to make your CV easy to navigate. Think about adding headings such as, ‘personal details,’ ‘personal statement,’ ‘work experience,’ ‘achievements,’ ‘education,’ and ‘hobbies,’ in a logical order.