When you only have a few standard formats from which to choose, it can be difficult to make your CV stand out from the crowd. Of course, you could go off the beaten path and go with your own format, but this is a risky move since most hiring managers and HR personnel expect to see a specific format.
When you stray from the standard, it shows originality, independence, and resistance to the norm, but it also shows you can’t (or don’t want to) follow simple rules and may have a defiant personality (translate as difficult to integrate with a team).
So, if you are currently looking for a job and don’t want to take your chances with a non-conformist approach, here are the top five ways to make your CV more eye-catching without breaking the standards:
1: Add a Photograph
You must be having a LinkedIn profile and a lot of employers already hire through LinkedIn. It must also be colourful with a professional yet flashy image of yours. So, why not add a smile to your CV by using one of your pictures.
It helps in establishing a connection with recruiters right away and gives them a gauge into your personality.
In a world where social media is a thing and smartphones with a high-def camera are everywhere, everyone should know to include a photo in their CV.
However, the situation differs from one country to another. For instance, in countries like the UK, Ireland, and the US, it’s recommended to forget about the picture. In these countries, hiring companies want to make sure no one selects a candidate based on their physical appearance so they have a strict no photo in your CV policy.
On the other hand, most other countries like CVs with a photo that highlights your aspect as a professional. So, it all depends on your location and local standard practices.
Quick tip: In case you already have the CV in PDF format, you can still add an image to your PDF with the right tool.
Whether you’re talking about accomplishments or successful goals, it’s important to add specific numbers.
Therefore, instead of saying “I helped the company increase sales”, you should say “I helped the company increase sales by 20% in the time span of a year”.
This formulation gives the hiring manager a better understanding of your influence on the tasks.
Hiring managers like numbers as it gives them an indication of your achievements. Subjective details would not mean a lot without specific numbers.
So, go on and add some numbers like:
- I have 3 years of experience in Business Development.
- I have led a team of 24 sales professionals and improved revenue by 64% in 2 years.
- I have been instrumental in adding 7 new products in less than 2 years which have resulted in 32% increase in sales.
There can be many such instances when you can use the magic of numbers for grabbing the attention of recruiter.
This is even more important as a few reports suggest that you have just 6 seconds to grab the attention of hiring manager.
3: Focus on the Job
We know it’s difficult to apply for a bunch of jobs on the same day and not get a reply from any of them.
The problem may be with your CV – if you send the same document to all the companies you’d want to employ you, then you are not focusing on the job requirements and all your applications sound generic.
To make sure your CV stands out, build it around the job’s requirements.
So, each job application needs a personalised CV. The Cv should be curated around the job you are applying for. It increases your chances to be called for an interview.
4: Keep it Organized
Nothing irks a tired person, who (probably) has read dozens of CVs that very same day, more than some disorganized data! If your CV is all over the place, with sections that don’t have a logical flow and descriptions that don’t really make sense, you will surely land in the “never mind” pile.
On the other hand, a beautifully organized CV shows attention to detail and a love for structure.
These skills are extremely useful in the life of an office employee which is why your resume will catch the hiring manager’s eyes.
It is through a properly made resume that you display some of your soft skills.
5: Highlight Keywords
Just like you would prepare a website for search engines, your CV also needs to contain a few keywords to catch the reader’s eye.
To make keywords even easier to see, use boldface font. Also, place the most important information (the one you want to be read) at the top of the page.
Have a look at this video which highlights the exact usage of keywords and other useful tips for writing a prefect resume for 2021.
Overall, a well-organized CV, with highlighted keywords and a picture should help you stand out from the crowd.
And, now that you know how to make an eye-catching CV, make sure you are prepared for the interview! That’s the next step and be sure to have all the details of the CV on your finger tips before you step into the interview room or get set for the same virtually.