How to make your CV stand out from the crowd

Your CV is the first impression you give of yourself to a prospective employer. Keep in mind that they could receive hundreds of these and they need to filter the weak from the strong, follow these tips to make your CV stand out from the crowd and help you get that great job you’ve been dreaming of!

Start your CV with a short summary or personal profile, write no more than three or four sentences about yourself. Include what you’re studying and where as well as your aspirations for your future career. If you’re going for a part time job in a local shop, explain how you “relish the challenge of retail” and “strive for excellent customer service” in this section. It’s key here that you grab the employer’s attention and make them want to read on, so take some time on this section and go back and edit it to ensure perfection. 

You should always tailor your CV to the job description. A CV is not just something you write once and send off to every employer you’re interested in working for, somewhere might need you to be good at sales, whereas another job might need someone who is responsible for cashing up tills and handling money. The jobs might even seem similar but if their job descriptions are different, you need to alter your CV to reflect this. Demonstrate that you can do exactly what they’re asking for. 

Find your wow factor and accentuate it! Going for work experience with an MP? Have you written a blog about your experience as a politics student? Include a link to relevant extras in your CV so the employer can check them out. You should always talk about the things that set you apart from the crowd. Getting involved with clubs and societies is a good way to do this. Explain how your role as Treasurer of the Mini Golf Society highlights your skills in money management- perfect for that business internship! Showing that you have interests in your chosen career field outside of work let an employer know that you are the one that’s right for the job. 

Back up what you’re saying with facts and evidence, CV’s are all about wording, did you file and organise paper in your Mum’s office last summer? Or, did you manage an internal database which held sensitive information? Did you work on social media? Or did you plan and execute social media campaigns that increased engagement by 70%? Think about the way you word your skills and abilities, be precise and give figures to show the result of your work if you can. This shows an employer that your work had a direct impact on the company and is much more powerful than empty adjectives such as “I am a hard worker”, everyone’s a hard worker.

For certain jobs, it might make your CV more interesting to include a link to your social media, providing it’s work appropriate. If you’re applying for a job in online media, add your Twitter and YouTube channel links to show first hand that you understand the importance and power of social media. Something a bit more traditional to consider would be a LinkedIn profile, to connect with colleagues who can recommend you and reaffirm to an employer what you wrote in your CV.

Lastly, don’t forget to get the basics right, as this is a certified way to get your CV binned before it’s even been considered. Your CV shouldn’t be any longer than two pages and this doesn’t mean cramming everything in in size 8 font and 0.5” margins either. Leave plenty of white space around the text to make it easy to read, employers don’t want to get their magnifying glass out to read about your year 9 success in hockey. Stick to what’s recent and relevant to the job, if you need to get a friend or teacher to read over it and tell you what to ditch. Again, enlist someone to help you proof read, there should be absolutely no grammar or spelling mistakes in your CV, especially if you’re going for a job which involves writing.

Check your CV against these sure-fire winning tips and get applying for all those jobs you never thought you’d get! 

Post by Olivia Greaves

Olivia is a Politics student at the University of Southampton. Follow her on twitter @oiiviagreaves (