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How to Produce a Stand-Out CV? Expert Tips

You’ve decided that University may not be the preferred route for you and have found a job that you’d really like to apply for, so now what? All of your friends are writing UCAS personal statements while you’re scouring the internet for an Apprenticeship that appeals to you. 

From first-hand experience, I know that starting a job application can sometimes be the most daunting part of applying. You want to present yourself in the best way, to highlight your skills and why you would be a great fit for the role, this is where a CV (or Curriculum Vitae) comes into play! Here are some of my top tips for writing the best CV.

It is essential for candidates to use a clear and concise format in their CVs. This will help to create an organized and professional document that can be quickly scanned by the hiring manager. Using a simple font and structure, while keeping the information direct and focused, is key to gaining an employer’s attention.

Instead of using lengthy sentences to explain your experiences, use bullet points to break up sections and highlight important pieces of information. This should ensure that relevant details are easy to find without having to read through irrelevant examples or past jobs that don't apply to the position you are trying for.

Taking the time to perfect your CV’s format will help you stand out from other job seekers and support your success in getting an interview.

Every job seeker has accomplishments that are worthy of being highlighted on a Curriculum Vitae. Whether through successful internships, exemplary course grades, or other related work experience, each person can include something that shows why they are the perfect candidate for the job.

On top of any academic accomplishments, make sure to include any awards you have received from your previous employers; these small extra details show a level of commitment beyond what is usual and can really help you stand out as an applicant for several different positions. Highlighting your achievements in a CV is an absolute must, so take the time to connect potential employers with your past successes.

It is important to really consider the job or apprenticeship that you are applying for so you can identify how your skills may suit the role and consequently be able to outline this within your CV. Consider how your personal skills match the job role and outline these in your CV. 

For example, if you were a Prefect in school, it may have given you the opportunity to demonstrate leadership and teamwork skills which translates to a workplace environment in being part of a team or working on projects etc. 

If you are interested in applying for more creative roles, there may also be some scope to design your CV online to show your creative design skills, although remember to clearly include all relevant information.

Here are some tips to help you tailor your CV:

  1. Review the job description: Carefully read the job description to identify the skills, experiences, and qualifications the employer is looking for.
  2. Match your skills and experiences to the job requirements: Once you have identified the skills and experiences the employer is looking for, make sure to highlight those that you possess in your CV.
  3. Use similar language: Incorporate relevant keywords and phrases from the job description into your CV to help it get past automated applicant tracking systems and to demonstrate that you have the skills and experiences that the employer is looking for.
  4. Customize your personal statement: Your personal statement should reflect the skills and experiences you have that are most relevant to the job you are applying for.
  5. Highlight relevant achievements: Rather than just listing your job duties, focus on your accomplishments and how you have made a positive impact in your previous roles, particularly those that relate to the requirements of the job you are applying for.
  • Review the job description: Carefully read the job description to identify the skills, experiences, and qualifications the employer is looking for.
  • Match your skills and experiences to the job requirements: Once you have identified the skills and experiences the employer is looking for, make sure to highlight those that you possess in your CV.
  • Use similar language: Incorporate relevant keywords and phrases from the job description into your CV to help it get past automated applicant tracking systems and to demonstrate that you have the skills and experiences that the employer is looking for.
  • Customize your personal statement: Your personal statement should reflect the skills and experiences you have that are most relevant to the job you are applying for.
  • Highlight relevant achievements: Rather than just listing your job duties, focus on your accomplishments and how you have made a positive impact in your previous roles, particularly those that relate to the requirements of the job you are applying for.
  • Keeping your CV short and concise is important for several reasons. Firstly, employers receive a large number of applications and do not have the time to read through lengthy CVs. Secondly, a shorter CV is more likely to be read in full, allowing you to showcase your most relevant skills and experiences.

    Here are some tips to help you keep your CV short:

    1. Stick to the essentials: Only include the most relevant information, such as your work experience, education, and skills.
    2. Be selective: Highlight your most important achievements and experiences, and avoid including irrelevant details.
    3. Use bullet points: Bullet points can help you to present information in a clear and concise way.
    4. Use a clear and simple format: A simple format with clear headings and a professional font can help to make your CV easy to read.
    5. Keep it to two pages: Ideally, your CV should be no longer than two pages. If you are struggling to fit everything onto two pages, consider using a smaller font or cutting out less relevant information
  • Stick to the essentials: Only include the most relevant information, such as your work experience, education, and skills.
  • Be selective: Highlight your most important achievements and experiences, and avoid including irrelevant details.
  • Use bullet points: Bullet points can help you to present information in a clear and concise way.
  • Use a clear and simple format: A simple format with clear headings and a professional font can help to make your CV easy to read.
  • Keep it to two pages: Ideally, your CV should be no longer than two pages. If you are struggling to fit everything onto two pages, consider using a smaller font or cutting out less relevant information
  • Even if you think it may not directly relate to the job or apprenticeship you are applying to, include any previous work that you have done. This can be both paid or unpaid, for example if you have done any work experience, volunteering or achievements such as the Duke of Edinburgh Award or being a Prefect at school. 

    Any such experience shows your willingness, dedication and motivation, that you can work within a team towards a shared end goal and that you have chosen to go above and beyond to carry out extra responsibilities.

    https://img.freepik.com/free-vector/busy-people-work_74855-3817.jpg?w=1380&t=st=1678108646~exp=1678109246~hmac=c0728d61961160ac093fc2e909fb332868a58fcd67b41b92b191361c684a10a2

    Not only will this be useful for your CV, but it will also be essential knowledge for an interview later in the application process. The best place to find this information is the job advert, as well as the company website and also general research about the field and type of work you are applying for. 

    This will also make you certain that the role will be something that appeals to you and that you will enjoy. In summary, your CV doesn’t have to be absolutely perfect but should be an ongoing document that is changed, adapted and updated over time according to your experience and the type of jobs/apprenticeships that you are applying for. 

    Make sure to include your personal information and previous experience, as this can be critical as to whether you are a good candidate for the role. Be truthful, portray yourself positively, and from that, you have your very own stand-out CV!

    Concluding, a standout CV takes some effort and dedication in achieving the perfect balance between aesthetics and content. By selecting an appropriate structure, filing in relevant information, choosing a design scheme, proofreading and following all the other expert tips herein, you should be ready to submit the CV that is sure to impress. 

    Just ensure you don’t veer off from the guidelines given and keep everything as brief yet informative as possible. With these tips in mind, you can be certain of producing a polished document that reveals your competence with clarity.

    Your CV should include your contact information, a summary of your skills and experience, education and qualifications, employment history (including job titles, dates of employment and key responsibilities), achievements and any relevant certifications or awards.

    Research the job requirements and tailor your CV to highlight how your skills and experience align with the specific needs of the role. Use keywords from the job description throughout your CV to show that you understand the role's requirements.

    Use clear headings, bullet points, and white space to make your CV easy to read. Consider using a professional font such as Arial or Times New Roman in 10-12pt size. You can also add visual interest by including a professional headshot or incorporating color in a subtle way.

    Avoid spelling or grammar errors by proofreading carefully before submitting it. Don't exaggerate or lie about your qualifications or experience as this can be easily verified by potential employers. Also avoid using generic phrases such as "team player" without providing specific examples of how you have demonstrated this trait.

    Use specific examples of times when you have made significant contributions to previous roles or projects. Quantify your achievements where possible by including data such as sales figures, project outcomes or numbers of clients served. This will help demonstrate the impact you have had in previous roles and showcase what you could bring to a new position.

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