How to make your CV pop

Graduate Corner

Words by: Lauren Bromley
Picture by: Photo by cottonbro from Pexels.

You’ve reached the end of your degree and after a lot of hard work, you can now humbly be addressed as ‘graduate’, paving the way for exciting career opportunities to be explored. You breathe a sigh of relief, thinking you have gone through the hard bit until you realise the hard work is yet to come. The dreaded CV. Don’t worry graduates; we want to share the best tips and tricks to help your CV stand out in the job market.

Keep up with current trends.

Research, research, and more research. The world is constantly changing, leaving gaps for new and innovative trends to appear. Use this to your advantage by showing your understanding of changing trends within your field of interest.  For example, if you apply for a marketing field, consider doing a short course to demonstrate your familiarity with new trends.  It tells employers that you are able to take the initiative in your forward-thinking.

Choose your words carefully.

Composing a CV that reads well and expresses your experiences and skills is down to the words we use and how to use them effectively. Many organisations use an applicant tracking system, so identifying keywords in relevant job descriptions to discuss your own skills, will effectively put yours to the top of the pile. Refrain from using overused words like motivated, passionate and creative by substituting them with attained, showcased and exceeded to appear more confident and desirable.

Add sparkle.

Qualifications alone would not guarantee you a job, but personality might. Showcasing your charisma and demonstrating how you would fit into the company’s culture is an effective way of impressing your employee and increases your chance of securing the job.  We all have our unique way of speaking and employers cringe at CV’s that follow a bleak structure with no originality. So, ensure conversational tone such as ‘I’ as an alternative to messy business jargon. 

 Personalise your Cover Letter and CV.

Cover letters are the backbone of a CV; it’s the first thing employers see so ensure that it represents your skills and ambitions accurately. Since 2020, the desire to showcase an original cover letter has become more competitive, from having a CV piped onto a cake to being hand-sewn onto a t-shirt. We don’t expect you to go to this extreme but flaunt your individuality, however big or small.   Withhold from sending the same CV and cover letter to every company, make sure to tweak and tailor them accordingly. 

Be short and sweet.

A hiring manager will take 5-7 seconds to scan a CV, painting a picture of who you are and how successfully you represent their company. Hence, it’s crucial to remain simple. Refrain from overwhelming the employer with wordy sentences and unorganised structures and alternatively stick to a professional and easy to read framework.  Make information more easily accessible by using images and links, including online portfolio links or using bullet points when necessary. 

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