From keywords to content – 5 tricks to help your CV stand out from the crowd

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It’s difficult to get the job of your dreams, isn’t it? First you’ve got to actually find a job you really want to do, then you’ve got to get through the software selection process and then the dreaded interviews. But you’ll only get that far if you have an impressive CV. If your CV is so-so, what chance do you have? So what makes a great CV? Is there an easy way to create a CV? Here are 5 tricks to help yours stand out from the rest…

Remember, CVs are actually marketing tools. With them, we’re able to present ourselves to potential employers in the best possible way, showcasing our skills and education without ever having to lift a finger. People who create a fantastic CV can get a job well above their actual expertise – they simple need to present themselves correctly. How can you write a good resume? By following these simple rules:


This is something that the majority people stumble over. Trying to fit in as much as possible, they often overdo it with formatting, images, and other unnecessary stuff. Remember that an actual person has to read this document; if you make it too complicated this might deter the recruiter from ever giving you a chance. Plus, if any of your spelling or grammar is wrong, your CV will probably go straight in the bin. So get someone else to proof read it for you before you send it out.


When recruiters start reading the “work experience” section, they don’t want to read about a job that you had 20 years ago. Yes, it might be important for you personally but in terms of employability, they are much more interested in how far you managed to get in your current career. In most cases, the last job or your most recent education is the most important so there is no reason to start with something that you did as a teenager. Start with the most recent and work backwards chronologically, including any roles and courses that are relevant to the specific job you’re applying for.


When it comes to CVs, less is often better especially when it comes to big companies. No one has the time to read 4 or 5 pages of a resume where you go in detail about your personal experience and outside-work activities. Instead, they need to know that you’re reliable, disciplined and can perform the job in the right way. Look at the job specification and demonstrate that you have those specific skills, in 2 pages or less. If you tick all their boxes, you’ll make it to the interview. Furthermore, adding too much information dilutes your skills and work experience: important elements may be overlooked if they reader is skipping past a load of waffle about hobbies and achievements at school.


A CV is a business card of sorts. With it, you present yourself to an unknown person. This is precisely why you have to be distant but professional. Given that you’re applying for a job position, you should use language that would be suitable for a workplace – they want to know that they can trust you to be professional in your future communications. When writing a statement, avoid using “Me” and “I”. Go for impersonal phrases and sentences. This should be the case in all other sections as well, such as skills, employment, education etc. It goes without saying that there should be no emojis! 😉


Did you know that companies use ATS software that is able to quickly sift through numerous CVs? These programs analyse the text within the documents and shortlist those that are the best fit for the position. And that’s before any ‘real person’ has seen it! So, make sure you focus on keywords. You’re probably wondering “but what are the keywords for my industry?” It’s simple; these are phrases that are closely related to a job that you’re applying for. Again, the job advert itself will give you a clue and if you make sure you include all the terms in the ‘person specification’, you’ll avoid premature elimination by software!

Who knew that CV writing is such a complicated process these days? That said, if you follow certain patterns and add those keywords you’ll get your CV in front of the right people. Your main task is to intrigue recruiters and make them want you! So, if you’re able to create that sort of a connection through your personal statement, you’ll have no problem getting an interview for that dream job that you’ve been yearning for!

Let me know how you get on with your new CV in the comments below. Have I missed anything out? Please share your tips for getting your dream job! And thanks to Path Consulting career counselling company for collaborating with me on this article and for sharing their CV writing knowledge and career advice – I wouldn’t have know anything about ATS software without them!


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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in Lifestyle Promotion Studies and is trained in Personal Money Management. She loves to ‘get the look for less’ so regularly shares thrifty-living advice, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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