How to optimize your CV so it stands out

We’ve all been there:  sending CVs out to countless recruiters or hiring managers and waiting to hear something back. In today’s digital world, hiring managers receive hundreds of CVs for each open position.  If your resume gets more than 30 seconds of attention, you’re lucky.  In order to write an appealing CV and cover letter, you need to capture the attention of your reader and communicate a lot of valuable information in those few seconds.

Here are 10 key tips to ensure you make the best possible impression from the first line:

Adapt your CV

Customize your CV for the role you want. The standard resumes or models you’ll find online simply won’t work. Different roles require different skills, whether it’s interpersonal, analytical, leadership or communication skills – you’ll have to adapt your resume accordingly.

Highlight the good stuff

Put the most important information on the top. Whether it’s a summary of your experience in a nutshell or the knowledge the position requires, make sure it is displayed at the top. This will help the reader focus on what makes your application unique and why you should be considered for the job.  

Add information that is in progress

If the role you’re after requires language skills or a particular degree you’re lacking and If you're currently taking classes, don't wait until graduation to add this key bullet point on your resume. Rather state you’re currently in the learning process.

Don’t waffle

Go to the point and bring it down to a maximum of two pages.

Spell check meticulously

Have a good look at the typos, print it and put yourself in the shoes of the line manager who is going to read it and potentially interview you. Ask a third party to review the whole document before you send it out.

Is it still relevant?

Look at each bullet and question the purpose of each sentence. Make sure what is mentioned is still true today and banish anything that does not make sense anymore. Are you still an expert of SAP? Are you still fluent in German?

Use numbers to your advantage

Add numbers when you can for emphasis: KPIs, revenue, the amount of people impacted by your work, the size of the team you were managing and by what percentage you exceeded your goals.

Have reasons for gaps

A delicate subject that often raises eyebrows among recruiters or hiring managers are important time gaps in your work history. Instead of leaving a question unanswered, explain straight away what kept you away from work.

Be creative

Come up with an eye-catching headline to catch the eye of the reader.

Update it regularly

Giving you resume a good scrub every one and then is the most efficient way to keep it accurate and up-to-date over time.

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