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STARR INSIGHTS: Five ways to make your CV stand out

By Robyn Harper

1. Find your USP

When you are looking for a new job it is likely you will be up against numerous other good candidates with a similar skill set. Therefore you need a USP to set yourself apart. This can range from a particular project you completed, a blog you have written or a particular technology you are an expert in or have pursued outside of work. Your USP must be relevant to the job and should always emphasise your ability to effectively complete the role. If you have a blog or a github account, etc. this should definitely be included, not just to demonstrate your skills but also to make you unique.

2. Utilise keywords

Key words should be made the most of, within reason. When a recruiter or employer is searching for candidates, keywords are how they do it. They will be based around the job title along with technologies they are looking for and duties the job holds. Make sure you check job descriptions, adverts and company websites  for specific words/phrases the employer or recruiter will be looking for and include them. This could be via using a number of interchangeable job titles e.g. Systems Adminisrator, Systems Engineer, Systems Analyst, etc.

3. Tailor your CV to the job you’re applying for

Sending the same CV to every job you apply for will not give you the best chance of success. Instead you should alter your CV in line with the role you’re applying to. Use the job specification, the company website and anything the recruiter/employer has told you to ensure your CV represents that you are the best person for the job. Obviously, this can be time consuming but it is full proof in increasing your chances of landing that dream job.

4. Use proactive descriptions and examples

In your CV you shouldn’t just say you’re good at something but should instead show how you are good at it by use of examples. To do this you should use the STAR model (Situation, Task, Action and Result). Using this in a concise way should include how you achieved the result and how the actions you took addressed the initial situation and task. Doing this allows you to go beyond past roles and responsibilities and focuses on your results and achievements as well as highlighting your understanding of the tasks at hand, going beyond following instructions.

5. Don’t forget the basics

In addition to the points listed above ensuring the basics are done properly is massively important. Your CV should be clear, concise and to the point. You should read and re-read your CV to avoid grammar mistakes or typos as these are seriously detrimental to your chances of success. If you are using a recruiter, they will generally format your CV in a uniform way so they can definitely help you in this area.

For more CV advice or help with anything you’ve read above, call Robyn on 0203 5877007 or you can email me directly on robyn.harper@harringtonstarr.com

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