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    Making your CV stand out from the crowd

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    A good CV can be the difference between getting your dream job and being ignored but with more people applying for a new job in January compared to any other month, is it time to get your CV in order? Steve Thompson, managing director at Forward Role, has put together a list of top resumé dos and don’ts. 

    With January 2019 expected to see up to 36 per cent more job applications than in previous months, there is no doubt that you’ll want to make your CV stand out from the crowd to a new employer.

    First impressions are everything, you wouldn’t turn up to an interview and insult your employer because it would leave a bad impression, but by handing over a disorganised CV you are giving the recruiter the same impression.

    CV dos

    Do use white space

    Your CV should be an ‘at a glance’ summary. It should use formatting, bullet points and white space for readability and to direct the scanning eye.  If you’re creating thin margins or using a tiny font size to fit everything on one page, make yourself familiar with the backspace button and start using it!

    Gordon Kaye, co-founder and director at Cathcart Associates, has this advice: “Remember these three words – clear, concise, simple.”

    Do be social

    If you have a LinkedIn profile, blog or a portfolio site that is directly relevant, shout about it. Once you’re in the initial ‘yes’ pile, it can help you to stay there.

    According to Tim Redgate, co-founder of EchoMany, you should be careful though, as your personal Facebook page or Instagram profile may place you on that dreaded ‘no’ spike: “What do your Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts say about you? If they are a continuous stream of unflattering pictures from after-dark socialising, it might set off a few alarm bells.”

    Do select the best

    Only include work experience that is directly relevant, or that showcases transferrable skills.

    Forget about the three bullets discussing your cash-handling skills in your student job at Tesco and really focus on the relevant commercial and academic experience you have for the specific role you’re applying for.

    If only highly relevant information is on your CV, it will get read. If you ask the recruiter to find the gems amid the guff, they’ll get lost. And so will your chances.

    Do sell your personality

     Personality and culture fit are a huge deal for lots of businesses, so a CV that tells them nothing about who you are as a person generally won’t work in your favour.

    For marketing roles, in particular, personality is incredibly important. Don’t be afraid to try to raise a smile with your CV copy.

    While it shouldn’t be the main focus of your submission, including a short section on hobbies and interests demonstrates you find time to be passionate about other pursuits outside work.

    No one wants to work with a robot, and discussing hobbies is a good opportunity to bond with your potential employer.

    CV don’ts

    Don’t show your age

    In an era of equal opportunities, including your marital status, religious preference or age simply suggests you’ve slept through a couple of decades. As do double spaces after a full stop.

    Don’t use an inappropriate email address

    Speaking of email addresses, make sure you use a professional one and not the Hotmail address you made for MSN messenger when you were 12 years old.

    Gareth Jones, commercial manager at Kit Out My Office, has run into some questionable email addresses before: “It’s better to keep your email address to john.smith@domain.com or something similar as opposed to freakydancer1991@gmail.com or badboy_bigdave@hotmail.com.“

    Don’t create a disasterpiece

    Some people think being artistic with their CVs is the key to standing out, but it’s easy to go too far.

    Amy Shaw, senior digital PR executive at The Femedic said: “While it’s great to have something a bit out of the ordinary, it can be off-putting if you can’t find the information you need quickly.”

    Remember, your CV needs to sell you, but more specifically, it needs to sell you to the role you’re applying for. Don’t forget it needs to stand out among a pile of 80 other candidates. With these dos and don’ts, you can transform your average application into a standout submission, putting you closer to getting that job than you were before.


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    Vincenzo Ferrara

    Vinny Ferrara, Staff Writer for PA Life

    All stories by: Vincenzo Ferrara