Make sure your CV helps you stand out from the crowd!

by Sarah Holbrook on March 28, 2012

Curriculum Vitae

My Top 10 Tips…

I’m recruiting a Graduate Marketing Assistant and the opportunity has attracted lots of applicants; I think it was 35 at the last count. It’s nothing more than I would expect in the current climate but it really has highlighted to me what makes a good CV and what does not!

  1. Don’t apply for a job unless you have the essentials; In my advert I said that I was looking for a good recent marketing (or similar) degree as essential. The first and the easiest thing to do was to rule out people that didn’t fit the bill.
  2. Check, check and check again; If you’re applying for a marketing job, no matter how junior, please make sure that there are no spelling mistakes and that your copy is grammatically correct. If you don’t, it brings into question your ability to write effectively and your attention to detail. If you can’t get your CV right to sell yourself, how will you promote our business?
  3. Relevant experience, even if unpaid, does count! If you’ve spent years doing a marketing degree, you really need to try and back that up with some relevant experience in the workplace because that’s what your competition is doing. Those applicants who seemed to have gone all out to get unpaid internship / voluntary work or who had relevant work experience stand out from the crowd.
  4. Make your CV look good and stand out from the crowd; How your CV looks and is presented makes a big difference to me. Tasteful use of colour, striking designs and text layout all improve your chances. They help you stand out and show me that you can be creative and original.
  5. Tell your story to interest and engage me; When reading through a CV I’m looking for people to tell their story in an interesting and engaging way. In the back of my mind I’m trying to build up a picture of you. I want to know the facts but I also want to get a feeling for your flair and personality.
  6. Less is most definitely more; When you have many, many CVs on a pile to read, a lengthy CV is not necessarily a positive thing. Keep it sharp and salient, ensuring that you get your key points across.
  7. Always tailor your CV; Make sure that you update your CV and present a good case as to why you’re the right person for the job that you’re applying for. A little bit of effort reaps the reward.
  8. Who are your referees? Make it clear if your referees are work, education or personal ones. If they are work I would like to know their job title and relationship to you in the workplace.
  9. Sound interested in the job; In my recent experience there were a few people that I felt did not really want the job and had other ambitions and dreams! I know that it’s a difficult time for Graduates getting into the world of work, but I decided against interviewing some people as I felt it would only offer them a temporary stop-gap before something more up their street came along!
  10. Ask for feedback; Finding out what people think is good because then you can always make improvements. Ask a friend, a colleague, or even an interviewee.

Sarah Holbrook

Sarah Holbrook is the Marketing Manager at Stafforce, a recruitment business committed to improving client profitability through people, processes and technology by delivering UK-wide cutting edge recruitment solutions and specialist business consultancy and support. Follow Sarah on Twitter and / or follow StafforceNews on Twitter, read the Stafforce blog and connect with Sarah via LinkedIn


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