Direct Line Group

How to write a CV that gets you noticed

Posted by Direct Line Group at 04:04 PM

How to write a CV that gets you noticed
For most of us writing a CV starts with a lot of staring at an empty word document and fighting the sudden desire to do anything else. But there’s no avoiding it. When you’re looking a for new job you have to show the best of yourself, so making sure your CV is doing its job is essential.
It’s not easy to say what makes a good CV because it very much depends on the job, the recruiter, the competition and a host of other factors. But a simple measurement to start with is to ask yourself does your CV get you noticed?
If you are getting shortlisted then your CV is serving its purpose. If you are not getting to any interviews then you should think about how you are coming across in your CV.
The basic ingredients of a good CV
So let’s make sure we’re on the same page and start with the fundamentals. You are aiming for a flawless form that is tailored to the position you are applying for. So make sure the layout and wording is on target.

  • Grammar - Your grammar should be correct so if you know that’s not your strong suit get someone else to check it for you.
  • Layout - The layout should be tailored to the post you are applying for. Make the most relevant skills and your highest grades and qualifications stand out. Use bullet points and clear section headings to set out your information.
Bearing in mind that your layout and grammar needs to be top notch, the content itself needs to be thoughtfully put forward. Starting with the basics, your CV needs to include at least:
  • Your contact details
  • Your employment history
  • Education and qualifications
  • Referees – you should at least say they are available
When you’ve written that, great you’re no longer staring at a blank screen, the ball is rolling. Use this How to write a great CV advice if you need further guidance on structure, you can also view an example CV and CV template.
The next step is to try and look at your CV as a stranger would. What does it say about you as a person, have you conveyed a sense about what you are like? This is where you begin to turn a descriptive list of your achievements into something richer and more likely to stand out from the others in a recruiter’s inbox.
Writing a good CV  - show, don’t tell
It’s one thing to tell the reader that you held a particular job but it’s much better to explain what skills you developed by doing it and how you see that job and those skills fitting into your overall career progression.
Show the reader your personality and strengths through clear examples. This is worth a lot of thought, if you claim to be well organised make sure your CV epitomises that. If you say you are creative, present your CV in a creative way. Telling the reader what you have done is far less powerful than showing your skills through relevant examples and practice.
Keep your CV small but perfectly formed
Waffle is your enemy. You need to be clear and write about yourself with confidence and concision without leaving your CV lacking in detail. Think about the recruiter who may only have a little time to select which people to invite for interview. Make sure your CV contains the information that person needs to make a decision without having to wade through stuff that isn’t relevant. A common rule of thumb is to not go over more than two pages, if you start going over that think about if there is anything you don’t actually need in there.
Review your CV and make sure it’s relevant
A CV is like a tuxedo, years can pass without it ever seeing the light of day. But when you need it again it has to look great. So if you haven’t used yours in a while you’ll need to dust it off and spruce it up a bit before you send it to anyone. Review your CV regularly and make sure it’s relevant to whatever new post you are applying for.
Good luck meeting your job goals, visit our careers pages for career advice and job vacancies at Direct Line Group.

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