Create a Standout CV: Tips from the Pros

CV’s at their most effective, serve as a compelling marketing document, selling who you are professionally and what you can do. At their most basic, they are a chronological report of what you have done, telling not selling. To standout, you’ve got to sell. To sell, you’ve got to get clear on who you are, what you can do and what’s unique about you that’s relevant to your desired role

Many clients report feeling unsure about how to sell themselves or feel uncomfortable with the idea of pushing out to the front, what they have done well, but this does and will prevent you from progressing in the ways you deserve. Selling has a bad wrap, but it’s all about understanding value and how you think about it.

Selling isn’t about being pushy, it’s about showing value

In the corporate world, all everyone is concerned about is ‘how can you add value?’ Selling is mostly about understanding the external and commercial value of what you have done and can do, knowing what to push out and pull back at the right time, knowing your audience and understanding the relevance and value of your experience and skills. It is possible to do it in an authentic way, that still aligns with who you are. Either way, it’s a necessary soft skill to develop and translates across and through everything you do, whether it’s in your CV, your LinkedIN profile, your interviewing style, your networking or your online presence, you need to communicate your value, so it’s worth investing in and getting it right.

Always pipped to the post?

So often, we hear from clients who consistently get great interview feedback, make it to the last round, but never quite get that elusive job offer – this is a red flag suggesting that this person isn’t clear on what makes them standout, doesn’t know their own USPs and is failing to create a compelling enough proposition to win the confidence of their interviewers.

Test your CV

A great CV tips test to consider is; if the hiring choice was between you and someone with the identical educational and professional experience as you, what would make you stand out and compel the hiring manager to give you the offer? Think about the psychology of a hiring manager, their choice of candidate is a direct reflection of them, they need to feel assured and totally air-tight confident you can do the job, otherwise they look bad.

Here are some of our CV Tips from the Pros:

What are your unique selling points? Think FAB, feature, advantage, benefit – what adds value, is the benefit. A USP can be any of the above, but the benefit will always sell.

What are your standout pieces of experience for this role – your CV is a carefully curated piece of marketing material, pick and choose the best pieces relevant to this role.

3 lines to open, in a compelling way. Use active, descriptive language, talk about who you are professionally and where you’re going.

Separate out what you’ve done
Breakdown key projects, the core skills used, show your progress and development. Demonstrate how you’ve used your skills and what you achieved, backing up everything you say in your bio with practical examples in the body of your CV.

Achievements / Results / Highlights
We suggest a CV layout which gives clear results achieved or if you prefer your highlights in your performance at the end of each role. It’s easy for hiring managers to read quickly and helps frame you as someone who understands what they’re interested in, tangible results give confidence and ultimately are what sells.

Numbers give context, communicate instantly, show commercial awareness and are quick and easy to digest. Whether it’s the budget of the project, the size of the team you managed, the deadline or timeframe you worked to, or the impact the project or piece of work had, use numbers to show it.

Show don’t tell
Show your Soft-skills as well as technical expertise Show you’re a well-rounded person – emphasise your soft-skills, as well as technical stuff Think about fit: hobbies, interests, show you’re a person who will fit in with their team

White Space
Having a well designed CV is key. Use white space, keep things light and fresh, your CV is likely to be one of hundreds. If it looks clear, it’s easier to read. Basic, but so often ignored.

Graduate CVs
What recruiters and hiring managers are looking for in graduates is malleability, enthusiasm, interest and the ability to learn. Use an accompanying online presence to demonstrate your interest in your chosen career, get some experience to show your skills and experience and pro-activeness.

We offer an Interview Coaching package, for all levels from Graduate to Executive.