Tips for a standout CV

Update: 2022-08-28 00:54 IST

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Wonder why is it essential to have a well-written resume? In the hiring world, first impressions matter especially when applying for a new role or a job. A well written CV creates an inflection point to deliver a positive impression on the prospective employer. Thus, an ideal CV should be personalised to the job opening consisting of your experience, certifications and strengths that are most relevant to the position.


After all, the ultimate objective of any CV is to entice a committee to interview you. A resume must do more than simply list down work experience in chronological order, to stay ahead of the competition and clearly demonstrate to employers. It must also help you to stand out from the crowd.

Industry research states that, on average, a recruiter spends 6-10 seconds looking at a CV before deciding whether to go ahead with the application or not. As a job seeker, this may be very unsettling information.

On the other hand, recruiters/employers are often seen complaining about not finding the right talent for the job openings. So, what exactly is the gap here? Unfortunately, many CVs do not make it through the first cut. To get to the job interview stage, a CV is the most valuable weapon. The more time and effort are invested in tailoring one's CV, the better the chances of landing an interview.

Here are 10 expert tips for making your resume stand out:

Short and direct resume

The number 1 tip to an excellent resume is to keep it short and to the point. Unless you have a very good reason for it to be lengthier, such as a long career or several highly relevant work experiences, the typical rule is no more than one or two pages. When writing a high-impact CV, brevity is crucial. Long-winded sentences imply a lack of focus and direction.

A convincing introduction of your profile

Every day, recruiters may receive hundreds of applications to analyse. Starting your resume with a compelling, concise summary is the greatest approach to capturing their attention when they open your application. This could be a brief, one-to-five sentence statement at the top of your resume that highlights your most important relevant accomplishments and talents.

Customised resume for each application

Customising your resume for the specific position you desire is one of the easiest methods to make it stand out to companies right away. Even though the positions are in the same industry, no two job descriptions are comparable. To make your resume stand out, read the job description carefully and look for specific talents or characteristics that the hiring manager is looking for in new hires.

Showcase the 'the right fit'

The best analogy to define this situation is - would you buy a shovel to build a door? Many applicants plainly send across their application to every opening in the hope that some recruiter will catch hold of their resume and arrange for a call. Suppose you are a software engineer looking for a position in machine learning. In that case, your resume should ideally include some relevant machine learning experience that may consist of your side projects, online training or even certifications.

Include keywords

Many employers now use ATS (Application Tracking System) to sort out the hundreds of resumes they receive daily. ATS examines resume based on keywords and is automatically rejected if the software does not find them. Read through the job description offered and include them in your CV for maximum acceptance.

Add quantifiable experience

Employers appreciate it when you demonstrate that you had a measurable influence on your past work. Adding complex numbers to some of your resume's bullet elements is a terrific approach to making your resume stand out by demonstrating to employers what you accomplished in real terms. Not only that, but actual data show companies precisely what you can achieve for them.

Use resume template for the standard design

Updating your resume with a sleek new resume template is one way to make it stand out and capture the attention of employers. Add some subtle splashes of colour to your resume and experiment with more unique resume headers if you're applying for a job in more creative fields like graphic design or advertising.

Use strong action verb

Most job seekers describe their previous positions using passive language such as 'responsible for' or 'tasked with.' These types of phrases don't highlight your accomplishments at work, and they frequently fail to leave employers with a lasting impression of you as a candidate. Replace these terms with 'spearheaded', 'achieved' or 'boosted' with supporting numbers. Strong verb action depicts what you actually accomplished.

Explain the gaps

A lapse in employment is not the end of the world, but a lapse of more than a year or two will raise eyebrows. Explaining such gaps is thus vital whether it was a personal project, active volunteering with NGOs, or maternity break. Finding a way to incorporate it is always better than avoiding it on the resume.

Edit and proofread

Before submitting your resume, you should proofread it several times to ensure no spelling or grammar errors.

While numerous proofreading applications and tools are available, it is also beneficial to have trusted friends or colleagues review your resume. It is helpful to have an objective third party review your resume in the same way that an employer would find ways to correct or improve it.

Employers use resumes throughout the hiring process to learn more about applicants and whether they would be a good fit. Your resume should be simple to read, summarise your achievements and skills, and highlight relevant experience.

Your resume is frequently the first step in obtaining an interview with a potential employer. Make sure your resume contains the most relevant information. It should be organised to highlight the most important information and thoroughly reviewed for errors.

Having a tailor-made resume is always recommended for every position you apply. It's harsh, but a brutal truth of job hunting. Some jobs attract many candidates, and employers simply do not have the time to read through every one of them.

Once you've polished and finalised your resume, it should help you get more callbacks, interviews, and job offers. Creating a strong resume is the most important but the trickiest step in getting a new job. These simple tips might add up more time each time you apply, but it will undoubtedly keep your profile away from the reject pile!

(The writer is co-founder and director, Spectrum Talent Management)



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