CV Advice

How to make a stand-out CV

You don’t need us to tell you that it’s a tough job market out there. It’s all we ever hear or read about! School leavers, graduates and the unemployed all over the country have to deal with the simple fact: demand for jobs is higher than supply.

According to the recent unemployment figures, things are getting better, albeit slowly. Yet studies still show that around 66 young people apply for every retail job advertised (according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation), which means that there are extreme levels of competition.

Having a good CV is vital for getting ahead of the competition. CVs are the first introduction between you and a prospective employer and it is important that they like what they read. In a time where recruiters could be sifting through hundreds of CVs to select a handful for interview, it is important that your CV gets noticed.

So how do you make sure that your CV stands out from the others?

Of course, matching the criteria helps but if 50 or so other amply qualified people apply as well, then you need to have something unique. We’re not talking about your skills and experience, but about the layout, format and general design of your CV.

Here are some simple tips to get your CV to the top of the pile:

  • Send it early. Even if the closing date is a week away, you never know if an employer is already making their way through the applications before they stop coming in. Not only does sending a CV in soon after the vacancy is posted show that you are on-the-ball, it may also mean it gets read before the recruiter starts getting tired.
  • Layout is all-important. A badly structured CV with lots of writing in small font is dull to read, regardless of whether you got a first at university or have endless experience. Simple letter format is a bit dated, especially when there are many great CV templates to download and use. Split up your information into logical sections and make your CV easier to read.
  • Use colour! Coming across the one CV printed in colour after twenty black and white ones will be quite refreshing. Your name will instantly stand out. Ok so some recruiters may only print out applications in black and white, but if not, a simple blue CV might just be enough to give you an edge. It’s the little things that count.
  • Go digital. This is not to say that paper CVs are on their way out, it’s just that jobseekers and employers are far more tech-savvy in the way they hunt for jobs and candidates. We’re not just talking social media, but actually putting your CV in a digital format. Digital CVs are on the up, with all the information of traditional CVs and more. They showcase creativity, technical ability and ingenuity. Send the link in an email with a cover letter. Now that’s how to stand out!

Originally sourced from

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