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How to write the perfect CV

Posted in Candidates

Posted by Joanne Caine
Published on 19 August, 2021

There’s no room in the jobs market for a plain CV anymore. Competition is rife and only the most innovative talent will do. Employers are looking for candidates who offer a bit of spark and aren’t afraid to venture outside of the box. And this starts from the CV.

Here are a few tips on how to make your CV stand out and ensure you land the job interview.

Sell yourself in the first two lines

Employers are incredibly time-poor, especially during the hiring process. One hire can take, on average, 27.5 days to complete and so employers need to pick the crème de la crème quickly and efficiently.

How you begin your CV could be the make or break of your chance at interview; ensure you keep it succinct but, where possible, aim to make it stand out from the crowd too.

Think outside the box

Don’t be afraid to move away from the A4 piece of paper – in fact, I’d strongly recommend trying something else if you want to be noticed.

Create a website, app, digital-first portfolio or even an animation to showcase your skills. Employers find these types of CV incredibly engaging, with 89 per cent revealing they would watch a video resume if it were submitted to them. Not only does this type of CV highlight your creative and technological expertise, but it also proves just how far you’re willing to go to make a good first impression.

Of course, this very much depends on the sector you’re in, for more technical roles jazzing up a CV may not be as straightforward. But, like I mentioned, really think outside the box. If you’re an accountant, for example, could you send your CV in an envelope that looks like a £20 note?

Do you have to send a CV just via email?

While most employers will be expecting a CV to land in their inbox, there’s other ways to grab their attention. Can you tag them in a portfolio on Twitter or share something insightful with them on LinkedIn that is relevant to your job application?

In fact, 92 per cent of companies are currently using social media to find new hires, so the likelihood of at least starting up a conversation with a potential employer is high. Social media is exactly what it says on the tin – social – so don’t be afraid to say hello in other ways when job hunting.

Keep the physical copy of your CV AI-friendly

Of course, no matter how you present your CV, you’ll always need to send it in paper format – just as a back-up. When you do this, be aware of making it clear enough for AI systems to read.

Many companies now, to help make the recruiting process more efficient, will use automation to scan CVs. This will pick out the ones that include the correct skills that the tech has been programmed to look out for. If it can’t accurately find the right skills, you might be automatically discounted. Keep the layout simple – bullet points are your friend, as is being concise.

A CV is a window into you, your personality, and your expertise – it gives employees a snapshot of you as an employee and your success but getting it perfect can take time. By adhering to the advice above, as well as looking at examples online and asking for advice from a recruiter, you should be well on your way to writing a 10/10 CV.   

Managing Director

I joined Cathedral Appointments in 1998 to cover a maternity leave and never left. I now own the business and love my job. I've a great team of consultants who work with me in ensuring that Cathedral Appointments provide an excellent service to candidates and clients alike.

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How to write the perfect CV

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