Stand out from other applicants Write a CV that stands out

When you apply for a job, your CV is compared to dozens, sometimes hundreds, of others. Employers often take less than a minute to decide whether to move on with your application. So what do you do? How do you create a CV that stands out to employers?

Not to worry! Following these four key tips will help you get your CV to the top of the interview pile.

1. Become a job detective

A good ‘job detective’ is someone who is able to analyze a job ad and then tailor their CV to the requirements of the job. For example, the job ad might say: ‘you will collaborate with both local staff and country managers on a daily basis’. As a job detective, you will then determine that strong communication and teamwork skills are required. The final step is to show in your CV that you have these skills. A typical job ad is filled with such ‘clues’. Try to find them and address them in your CV.

2. Make your CV achievements-focused

Many job applicants list only the duties for each job. Yet, research shows that CVs which focus on outcomes and achievements are more likely to succeed than those which focus on duties and responsibilities. Instead of saying, ‘I was part of a computer sales team,’ try, ‘I was the top computer salesperson in a team which increased sales by over 40% in a two-year span.’

Don’t be shy about showing off your best self!

3. Use a standard format and template

There are situations where a creative and unconventional CV might pay off but, in general, it’s best to stick with an easy-to-read, conventional CV. Employers appreciate CVs that use a standard template and a nice layout. Instead of trying to impress with a quirky CV, try instead to impress with your skills, experience and achievements.

4. Include competency statements

Have you ever heard of competency statements? If you haven’t, you’re not alone. They are an underutilized but very beneficial part of your CV.

One study found that including a competency statement will boost your chances of getting an interview by 30%!

Competency statements briefly outline - usually with concrete examples - that you have the knowledge, skills, attitudes and abilities listed in the job ad. They can be placed in your CV just under your career objective statement in a section titled ‘skills, experience and personal attributes’.

Suppose, for example, the job ad lists ‘an ability to multitask’ as important. You could use that as a heading and write underneath it:

On several occasions, I had to plan the budget for the following year while implementing new project management systems and training new team members. I consistently rose to the challenge and met tight deadlines through effective planning and careful delegation.

To impress employers, find the three or four most important job requirements and write a competency statement for each.

By showing potential employers that you know the specific job requirements - and proving, with concrete examples, that you meet those requirements - you greatly increase your chances of getting invited to an interview.

Your CV is one critical part of the job-hunting process. Check out these courses to help you stand out and land that perfect job:

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