The large influx of CVs that any Hiring Manager receives for a single position means that, not only does yours have to stand out to be considered, but they will also be looking for specific content that will either put you in the running, or lead you to the discard pile. So what are they looking for?

‘Show, don’t tell’ is the pervasive method preferred by employers in relation to a candidate’s experience on their CV. What does this mean? Rather than listing your experience with a description of what your duties were in the role, identify and champion your achievements in the position instead. As opposed to phrases such as ‘responsible for…’ and ‘experience working in…’ utilise words that end in ‘-ed’; achieved, created, implemented, influenced, resolved, negotiated, etc. Employers want to see the results of your experience, and not a description or story about the position you held. These types of words show rather than tell employers what you have done, they help paint you as proactive, dynamic, and, for all intents and purposes, a ‘doer’.

Potential employers want to be able to see what you can do, so where applicable, put down how your work positively impacted the company, sector, or situation you were in. A small window into how what you did improved things in quantifiable terms is what employers are looking for. Results are king, and if you can identify, and even better, quantify, the effects of your work, then do so.

An example of NOT leading with your achievements would be:

‘During my time with xyz company I gained valuable experience in xyz task, and developed my skills in xyz. This helped me apply what I learned in order to do important work in the field of xyz.’

In contrast, the following makes more of an impact:

‘During my time at xyz I was instrumental in helping to develop and implement a new xyz system which helped resolve the issue of xyz, and led to a profit increase of xyz% for the company.’

Another aspect of your CV you should be weary of are certain overused ‘buzzwords’ that are more likely to get your application discarded than help you stand out. Below are a 10 words identified as overused in CVs:

Responsible                                                                                              Think outside of the box

Proactive                                                                                                   Self-motivated

Effective                                                                                                     Hard worker

Dynamic                                                                                                    Innovative

Team player                                                                                              Detail oriented

Rather than using these ‘buzzwords’, show examples of how you are these things through the work/activities/courses you have done. Remember, ‘show, don’t tell’.

These are just a few suggestions about how to hone your CV to be more appealing to the Hiring Managers who will be reading them. For more ideas on how to make your CV stand out, check out our other article here.


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