In today’s job climate, no matter what position you apply for, you will almost certainly be competing against a number of other candidates. If you have found out about a job opportunity, chances are other people have as well. This shouldn’t discourage you from pursuing the job you want, but you should be prepared to put the extra effort in to make it stand out from the rest of the crowd.
Your CV is your first opportunity to impress potential employers and to sell yourself to them. Everyone has a CV, but surprisingly few people really take their time with them. It is worth spending the necessary amount of time to ensure that your CV is the best that it can be, as doing so will greatly improve your chances of landing an interview and, hopefully, a job at the end of it.
Making your CV stand out requires a two-pronged approach. First of all, you need to work on the way that you present your CV, and the information contained within it. Along with this, many people will find it helpful to spend some time acquiring new skills and experience, which can be added to beef up your CV.
Trim the Fat
When a potential employer first sees your CV, this will often be their first experience of you as an individual. As such, the appearance of your CV makes a big difference. However, before we begin to worry about the layout of your CV, we need to make sure that the content you have to work with has first been refined.
Your CV should contain all the information that a potential employer could possibly want to know. As well as providing them with your vital statistics: name, age, work experience, education, etc, your CV should also include a personal statement (more on that later) and give them an idea of your interests and personality.
While you should make sure that you are thorough, and that you cover all the most important areas, it is also important that you don’t go overboard and end up providing huge amounts of extraneous detail. If you do this, your CV will become unwieldy. It will also reflect poorly on your organisational skills and your self-restraint. If you turn in a CV that is so overflowing with superfluous information, it becomes hard to find the information they actually want.
Once you have made sure that all the information you are including in your CV needs to be there, the next stage is to make sure that the information is presented in an easily digestible way. You want to ensure that all the language you use is easy to understand. It’s fine to show off your language and writing abilities but remember this isn’t a creative exercise.
Bear in mind that the way that you present your CV is the way that you are choosing to present yourself. You want whoever sees your CV to go away with the best possible impression of you as a person and as a potential employee. As well as making sure that the language you use is clear and concise, you also need to ensure that the layout of your CV is simple and that it flows logically for a reader.
Make sure that all the sections of your CV are clearly divided and marked. It is also important to make sure that you break up any long paragraphs into shorter, easier to digest, bites. Using shorter chunks of text will make it much easier for the reader to follow what you are saying and hold their attention.
Learn Some New Skills
If you are feeling a little discouraged at the lack of qualifications and other skills that you are able to put on your CV, do not despair! There are a number of things you can do to spruce up your skills a little bit. Online courses mean that anyone who has the inclination to do so can now study the subject of their choice from home. Whether you study a formal educational degree through an online university, or you choose to study a skill through another organization, the internet makes learning cheaper and more accessible than ever before.
You can even use online courses in order to learn the skills you need to apply for specific jobs, jobs you would otherwise be unable to apply for. If there is a particular role or position that you have a burning desire to pursue professionally, there is almost certainly some degree or course out there that would be beneficial for you to study. If, for example, you are looking for Human Resources or HR training courses, you can review HR training courses here.
There is an endless range of courses available on the internet, and there are also clubs, groups, and other organisations in the offline world who may well be able to provide you with a useful experience.
This is another really great way of making your CV stand out. Volunteer work is easy to come by and there are a number of organisations who are always in need of additional workers, in particular, charities and other non-government organizations. Volunteer work is a wonderful undertaking for your own self-improvement, as well as looking great on your CV.
Undertaking volunteer work will demonstrate to potential employers that you are a hard worker, that you are not motivated solely by financial rewards, and that you are willing to take on additional responsibilities. If you can find some volunteer work that is relevant to the field that you are hoping to work in, then clearly this will be of tremendous value. However, any volunteer work that you can find and complete will look great on your CV.
If you reference previous jobs and other experiences in your CV, make sure to be specific and include details. For example, don’t just say that you did well in your last job; specify the roles you undertook and provide evidence that you excelled.
Include Your Personal Statement
One of the most common reasons that employers dismiss CVs out of hand is because the author hasn’t put in any kind of personal statement. If your CV is just a list of achievements and qualifications, this tells the reader nothing about you. If they are considering whether to invite you to work for their company, they will want to know something about your personality.
Often, when people do include a personal statement, they go about it the wrong way. Your personal statement should tell an employer about who you are as an individual, so make sure that your CV stands out as being original and your own. Remember, seeing friends, watching films, and socialising do not count as hobbies. Think of something unique to you!
Improving your CV is a simple process, but it is one that is often overlooked by many people. While there are large numbers of people now applying for many jobs, it is only a relatively small number that are really putting the effort into their CV. If employers can see that you have really put the effort in with your CV, they are far more likely to invite you for an interview.