Ten ways to get your CV noticed

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woman at deskThomas Goos/DPA/Press Association Images

The job market right now is all about standing out in a crowd. With many jobs attracting hundreds if not thousands of applications, yours needs to wow. The question is how you can get your CV noticed.

We asked the professionals, who have identified the ten keys to standing out from the crowd (in a good way).

1. Tailor your CV to the job.

David Moran, founder of TheCVExperts.com says this is the most important factor: "We advocate making the CV as bespoke as possible, and demonstrating the correlation between the role and your skills," he says. Bill Cogle, joint founder of cv-masterclass.com, agrees and says that the profile and skills sections at the start of your CV are good places to start.

2. Start with a profile

"The profile needs to act as a headline for your CV. It should sum up your mission statement and your point of difference. It should be a simple, succinct summary," says Moran.

3. Include a skills section up front

Rebecca Fuller, founder of thefullercv.com points out: "The long-list may be 30 people. If someone is reading 30 CVs, they are unlikely to devote more than 30 seconds to each CV, so you need to make sure the key information is provided up-front very quickly. You need a good summary of your skills in the first half of the first page."

4. Qualify and quantify your skills.

Fuller says: "Anyone can say they are a team leader: you need to evidence it with an example. It doesn't always have to be in the workplace, you may coach sport, or run a group, but you need to demonstrate how you have shown these qualities."

5 Consider keywords.

If you are applying online, your CV is likely to be scanned by software before being shortlisted for a human to check through. It will be looking for certain keywords that the recruiter has set, so you need to get the right keywords in early on.

Moran advises: "We aim for eight keyword nouns, which are often things that have been specifically asked for in the job advert. They include things like job titles, qualifications, software or hardware skills, company names, or product names: it will depend very much on the job and the advert."

6. Include a job history, but throw the focus on relevant jobs

Moran says: "Be selective about how you promote your job history. Elaborate on relevant and comparable roles, and be brief about those with less relevance. This will give you more space to say the important things. It's up to you what you include and what you don't include, so be selective."

7. Keep it brief.

Cogle says the norm is two pages, so it shouldn't normally be any longer than that. Moran says that senior executive jobs are the exception to the rule - where three pages are acceptable. Fuller adds: "In some industries and at some levels we would say it shouldn't be more than one page."

8. Avoid silly mistakes.

Fuller points out that even the basics can be overlooked: "You'd be surprised how often people spell the name of the company or the person they are writing to wrong. A lot write in American English, because they have never bothered changing the default on their computer software. The other key is to be consistent, so be careful to ensure that the tense is consistent throughout."

9. Don't try to be wacky

Moran explains: 'Some people include their name and contact as a header and footer and others use text boxes and tables. Some software doesn't pick these things up, so you will be automatically excluding yourself." Fuller adds: "People don't want wacky: they confuse the computer systems. They also struggle to do much with a CV on a CD or a DVD, so steer well clear of gimmicks like that. You need plain text, white on black."

Moran says this extends to the copy itself. "Some people will try to be funny in their covering letter, which is a real no-no. Others will try to be too personal in the CV itself. It's a formal business proposal and needs to look and read like that."

10. Don't fall into off-the-shelf phrasing

Moran points out: "There are certain phrases that are so common in CVs that recruiters don't even see them any more: these include things like 'hardworking', 'dynamic' and 'tenacious'. Steer clear of the cliche and be original in your wording so that the person reading it doesn't skim over vital skills and attributes."