Our top five CV tips to stand out from the crowd
If you’re looking for work, you’re probably looking at the current situation with some trepidation. With the covid-19 pandemic set to give way to an economic slowdown and the possibility of unemployment in the UK hitting 15% if a second wave of the virus occurs, this makes for some tough conditions for job-seekers.
Here at Search, we go out of our way to connect employers and employees so that both reap the rewards. We’ve seen a 260% increase in the response rate to our jobs, so we understand how competitive the job market has become.
So how can you boost your chances of finding a job in the current circumstances? Having a CV that showcases your skills and experience is crucial to standing out. To help you in your efforts, we’ve put together this concise guide on how to rewrite your CV and stand out and get noticed in a post-covid-19 employment market.
The most important thing to remember through this difficult time is that there are employers who are still hiring. The competition for jobs (whichever sector you’re looking in) will inevitably be more intense than usual, but don’t let that knock you down.
Read on for our top 5 tips on how to write a CV so that you have a crucial advantage in your next job search.
1. CV presentation matters
First things first: when you submit a job application, you only have a limited window of opportunity in which to catch your prospective employer’s attention. This is why the way you present your CV is so important. The layout has to be sharp and clear, and you have to convey the key information you want to get across in a succinct and eye-catching manner. Make good use of bullet points, but don’t overuse them - having too many with excessive text is likely to defeat the object of conveying information concisely.
Employers will have a lot of CVs to get through over the coming months, and they won’t have time to do much more than skim most of them. You therefore need to ensure that your CV doesn’t overburden the reader with too much info. If you can keep your CV to two sides then it’s a good idea to do so; this gets harder the longer you’ve been in work, of course, but there may be some old employment information you can trim back or discard entirely. There are lots of CV templates online, so take a look at these for inspiration. And whatever else you do, make sure you check your spelling and grammar thoroughly before you press send.
2. Demonstrate your flexibility in your CV
One thing employers are looking for from applicants is an indication that they’re open to continually learning and branching out into new areas. After all, modern-day jobs are founded on flexibility, and employees are required to take on new responsibilities all the time. Job descriptions are still useful as a general guide, but they can’t capture the full complexity of the modern working environment. When you write a CV, therefore, you must demonstrate that you’re prepared to be flexible as well.
During the current pandemic, we’ve all had to make pretty drastic changes to the way we work simply to keep things going as best we can. Flexibility is very much the current watchword. If you can demonstrate to an employer that you’re particularly well placed to adapt according to the changing needs of the new, post-covid working environment, it could just give you the edge over less nimble and adaptable applicants.
3. Tailor your CV according to the job description
We’ve already noted that job descriptions offer only a partial snapshot of what you’d be expected to do once in the role. However, they offer some valuable hints as to what your employer is looking for. If you’re looking to glean an advantage in your efforts to secure a particular job, then, you should write a CV that matches the description more closely. It’s always worth reading job descriptions carefully to gain crucial insight into what the employer is looking for.
Now, ordinarily, you might just send over your regular CV and hope for the best as most people who apply for jobs won’t make a new CV each time. So, again, this is another area where you could steal a march on other applicants. Make a CV that’s tweaked to emphasise aspects of your experience that are most in tune with the job description. If the job description emphasises tight deadlines and heavy workloads, for example, cite an example from your own experience. This is more likely to help you catch the employer’s attention.
4. Prove that you’ve kept yourself busy
If there’s one thing that makes employers wary, it’s finding gaps in an applicant’s CV. Now, it goes without saying that there are lots of good reasons for extended gaps between jobs. It might be that you simply decided to take a sabbatical and weigh up your options, or you tried something that didn’t work out, or perhaps you’ve just been generally a bit unlucky. That’s fine. But you will need to prove to a prospective employer that you haven’t spent the time simply sitting around waiting for something to fall into your lap.
Employers will look for evidence that you’ve been proactive and that you’ve sought to use your time out of work productively. Write a CV in a way which proves it. Perhaps you’ve done some freelance work as a stop-gap, or you’ve embarked on a course to learn new skills. This will reassure your employers that you have a solid work ethic, and it’ll put you in a better position. Make sure you include on a CV any such activities you’ve undertaken so that your potential employer can see what you’ve been doing while between jobs.
5. Sharpen your CV summary
When you come to write a CV, it’s always useful to include a quick summary at the start introducing yourself, outlining your skills and listing some of your interests outside of work. Make sure your summary is concise and, again, relevant to what employers are actually looking for. As we’ve discussed, prospective employers are likely to find themselves bombarded with CVs and they’ll be scanning them for key, relevant information. Including a summary is a good way of emphasising your suitability for the job and the strength of your previous experience - so use that space well.
When you’re searching for work, don’t forget to keep your information secure; you can get useful advice by reading our guide on how to stay safe with your online job search. Our experts at Search are always happy to help you in your search for a new role, so feel free to contact us or check out our diverse range of jobs today.
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