In the UK, the best graduate jobs are in high demand, so for any given role recruiters can receive hundreds, if not thousands of applications (the average graduate role has around 80 applicants per position!) . It is then no wonder that recruiters spend an average of 6 seconds on your resume. As such, knowing how to make your CV stand out is essential.
So how exactly do you make sure your CV stands out from the crowd for the right reasons? Here’s Sanctuary Graduates’ tips on how to make your CV stand out to recruiters:
You have limited time and space to grab a recruiter’s attention, so don’t make your CV difficult to read. You want to make sure that the most important information (education, work experience and skills) is easy to see. Avoid putting pictures on your CV; they take up a lot of valuable space and don’t add anything.
The best CVs are one page, but if you’ve got lots of experience, two full pages are fine. Try not to go over two pages; you need to show your ability to condense information, and pick out the important parts. Avoid half pages!
If you do want to include a personal profile (a short introduction at the top of your CV), make sure it’s only one or two lines and is tailored to every application you make. You don’t want to say that you want a job in sales when you’re applying for an engineering role. Keep it short and snappy, and don’t repeat things that are later in your CV, such as your degree or university.
Make sure that your personal details (phone number and email address) are current, and that you’ve got your most recent experience on your CV. Think about the language you use – you don’t want to be talking about a project in the present tense if you finished it two years ago.
It goes without saying that you should triple check that your CV has no spelling or grammar mistakes. You also need to make sure that your CV is always consistent – all of your margins need to be aligned and think about little things like short and long dashes, as these need to be the same throughout (- or –).
Candidates often assume that work experience, such as shop or pub work, is not relevant to an application. However, employment such as this demonstrates that you can deal with customers, take on responsibility and show up for work every day, on time. Internships are important, but so are these jobs. Think about what impact you made in all your roles, and what skills your prospective new employer may be wanting to see on your CV (technical or non-technical).
It is key that you have a skills section, and that this shows information such as IT skills, languages you speak and any other qualifications you have that don’t naturally sit in education. On the flip side, think about whether you need to include things like teamwork and presenting in this area, or whether this is already very obvious in your education and work experience.
Candidates often forget to include their hobbies and interests on their CV, yet this will give employers something to talk to you about, and may make you stand out from the crowd. It is also a great place to demonstrate your softer skills; being on a sports team shows you’re good at teamwork, debating demonstrates your communication skills.
Did this help you work out how to make your CV stand out? Do you have any questions? Sign up to our database for our roles and drop us an email with your questions on how to make your CV stand out!