You’ve just sent out your umpteenth Curriculum Vitae to ‘Person Y’ at ‘Company X’, another in a long list of applications that, other than the standard ‘we have received your application’ auto response, you might never hear from, you feel dejected, demoralised, and defeated. Why aren’t you getting anywhere? How can you change that? Reevaluating your CV may be the place to start.

With many unemployed individuals vying for the positions you are, you can imagine why you might be having trouble. This also explains the sheer inability of a lot of companies to reply to each applicant, as they are inundated with CVs and covering letters, making it impossible to reply but to a chosen few. To make sure you are one of the few your CV, basically your sales pitch of yourself to the company in question, has to catch their eye, jump out of the pile, basically, be uniquely different to everyone else’s. Below are some suggestions of how you can tailor your CV to become more eye-catching for prospective employers.

Layout

People often overlook the layout of their CV, preferring to focus more on content to prove themselves different, however this can be a massive mistake. Imagine being on the other end of the process, the person reviewing the applicant’s CVs, going through paragraph after paragraph of text, it’s easy to imagine things get overlooked. However, if you spice up your layout, add a little flair, maybe create a simple design in one of the many graphic design suites, that can make your CV pop, and make the person looking at it sit up and take notice.

Length

Short and sweet. There is a reason for the existence of that phrase, and it complements the world of CV building perfectly. Employers don’t want to read pages of information, detailing everything in your life thus far. Limit your CV to one page, I would suggest even one side, but back and front is acceptable if necessary. Whittle down the unnecessary information, make sure you are tailoring your CV to the position you are applying for, make it concise, precise, and to the point.

Content

Content goes hand in hand with length in some respects. The usual suspects are king here; Name and contact details, relevant experience in chronological order starting with the most recent, education, skills/abilities, and maybe a small personal statement, or other information, such as hobbies – if you have a driver’s license state so as many companies consider that important. Companies aren’t interested in experience that is unrelated to your current application, so unless you can relate it back to the position at hand, don’t put it down. Having a breadth of random experience can also work against you as most companies are looking for specialists in the field, so try to focus your experience as much as possible.

Spelling & Grammar

This may seem a silly thing to mention but unfortunately it isn’t. Have you seen any pictures/articles about the worst CVs received by companies? If your CV has spelling and/or grammar mistakes then your application is dead on arrival (this applies to cover letters too), because if you can’t take the time to check your application for the position, what can the employer expect from your actual work were they to offer you the job? Check and re-check to make sure that there are no mistakes, likewise ensure your contact details are written correctly or you will never hear back whether they liked you or not!

These are just a few things that you can do to make your CV standout from the rest of the pile, all you need is that one lucky break, to catch the employer’s eye, and that could make all the difference.

Posted by Alexander Goodenough

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