How to make your CV stand out from the crowd

Woman in a job interview handing over CV

If you’re fortunate enough to be only up against a handful of other people, you may stand a good chance. With the right skills, qualifications and experience, your chances of making the interview stage look very promising.

Unfortunately you are not always going to be up against a handful of people. It’s more plausible that there are twenty, thirty, or even forty other applicants all applying for the same position. Your chances of gaining an interview have now dropped dramatically.

The key to success is writing a CV that stands out from the crowd. Your application needs to offer a unique approach and take the initiative. If you want to rely on your credentials alone, then go for it. That could be enough to see you through. But if you don’t want to take any risks, then read on for some tips on how to make your CV stand out…

There is only one employer

Your only focus when writing a CV is to show the employer that you are the right person for the job. It is not an opportunity to show off all your achievements and skills. Although you may have a fantastic amount of work experience to shout about, the employer is not interested in your entire career history.

The employer is mainly concerned with how relevant you are to the role. Have you worked in this industry before? Have you already got some or all of the skills required? Are you qualified for the role? Do you have relevant experience?

To stand out from the crowd you need to write a CV that only considers that particular employer. Your application should not contain everything you’ve ever achieved, and should focus upon what matters.

Most job seekers write a CV that they use for every employer they apply too. The problem with this is that it will fail to focus upon their needs. Each company has their own unique culture and approach. The job description, no matter how similar the job title, will vary from employer to employer.

Stay focused

It would be a mistake to assume that the hiring manager wants to read every single task for each of your previous roles. Ask yourself, what benefit would that be to them? Instead, focus upon listing tasks which are relevant to the employer. The same or even similar skills and tasks are what’s need to stand out from the other applicants.

You don’t necessarily need to list every job you’ve had on your resume. In fact, if you’ve been in the workforce several years, many career experts advise listing only your most recent employers or including just the positions relevant to the job you’re applying for. If you’ve worked in a diverse array of industries, you may also want to omit some of your experience, especially if it’s not related to the job you’re seeking. — Ellie Williams

Within a few seconds the employer should quickly be able to see that you have some or even lots of direct work experience. But don’t forget that this doesn’t mean you need to have done the exact same job before. You can demonstrate transferable skills and experience and make the comparison for them.

Applying for a sales role means you need to provide sales experience. It doesn’t have to be the same product or service, and anything ‘sales’ related is relevant and will add value to your CV. So no matter how different you think your past roles may be, there could just be some transferable skills in there that are relevant.

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