Dean26th Aug 2017
So you’re on the hunt for your dream job and, after a fair bit of searching, you’ve found it. You’re excited; you know you’d be perfect for the role. But you’re nervous; you need to make sure that your CV is top-notch to give yourself the best chance of getting an interview.
Follow our six top tips for getting your CV noticed to give you the best possible shot at your dream job.
Tip #1 - Make the most of keywords.
Make sure you’re using the same keywords on your CV as you’ve found on the job ad. When recruiters are managing high volumes of applications they’re going to be filtering using specific search terms, most likely those from the job ad, so you need to give yourself the best chance of appearing on that search.
Also, if there are two or more acronyms for the same term in your industry, then make sure that both are on your CV.
CEO & Chief Executive are the same thing. Make sure you use both terms on your CV as some computer systems don’t have a synonym lookup table built in. If you cover all possible search terms then your CV is more likely to show up in searches. However, if they are using the term CEO specifically, then make sure you use that term first and foremost.
Tip #2 - Include the exact job title.
Somewhere in your CV, include the exact wording of the job title you’re applying for (and the job number if there is one). You could include it in your personal statement section or at the top of your resume near your contact info. Just as with keywords, this ensures that your CV shows up in the search results when the recruiter does a CV search for that job title. Don’t worry about putting this in your cover letter as it may not actually be included in the search criteria; if it’s on your CV then it will be indexed and found.
Similarly, if the job ad is looking for an ‘ABC Machine Engineer’ and your previous job title was ‘BCD Machine Engineer’, use the variant ‘ABC Machine Engineer’ as that will be the terms the recruiter will be looking for. Obviously only do this if the roles are pretty much identical with similar levels of responsibility; don’t be calling yourself a Head of Marketing if you were a Marketing Assistant.
Tip #3 - Get creative with your words.
Even if you’re not in an industry or sector that fully appreciates a creatively formatted CV you can still get creative with your words to showcase your skills. For example, instead of the boring old ‘QUALIFICATIONS’ or ‘EDUCATION’ headers, use ‘COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGES’. Instead of ‘SKILLS’, why not try ‘AREAS OF EXCELLENCE’. Rather than ‘PERSONAL STATEMENT’, relate it to the organisation you’re applying to by writing ‘WHAT I CAN BRING TO THE COMPANY’ instead.
Tip #4 - Include both accomplishments and results.
Always include both your accomplishments and results. Show what you did in the job that no one before you or after you could or would do. This helps to highlight what differentiates you from the other candidates applying for the same role.
For example: ‘I implemented Six Sigma within 9 months and lowered the costs of delivering our product to market by 12% within 18 months.’
Tip #5 - Quantify your results.
Quantify your results as best you can, approximate where necessary, but don’t exaggerate and certainly don’t lie!
Quick tip: use the full numbers - they pop off the page against a bunch of letters. For example: £1,000,000 stands out more than £1M does. Look at this sentence:
I implemented a new process for quality assurance testing and saved the business over £1,000,000 within the first 12 months.
Looks impressive, right?
Tip #6 - Make it look pretty.
Make your CV visually appealing; even if you’re not applying for a creative role you want your CV to be remembered (and for the right reasons). If you’re not particularly creative yourself, spending a couple of quid to get someone to spruce up your CV is well worth the money. Try sites such as Fiverr and peopleperhour.com.
A recruiter, who spends all day looking at hundreds of the same black text on white background CVs with the name and address at the top left, will soon get bored of them. They will really pay attention to one that looks just a little different. Take a look at some of these: