Crafting a standout CV – 10 tips for landing your ideal job

22nd April 2024

All articles Candidate articles

The saying ‘first impressions count’ is as true in the competitive landscape of job hunting as it is with the rest of life. Your curriculum vitae (CV) is the first impression you’ll be giving potential employers. It's the path to securing interviews and ultimately landing the job you are after. Crafting a standout CV is essential to grab recruiters' attention amidst a sea of applicants and effectively showcase your skills and experience. Here are some key tips and strategies to help you create a compelling CV that will make yours stand out from the rest…

  1. Tailor your CV to the job: One size does not fit all when you are preparing a CV to apply for a job. Customise your CV for each job application by carefully reading the job description and identifying the key skills and experiences required. Highlight relevant achievements and tailor your language to match the job requirements.
  2. Start with a strong summary or objective: Begin your CV with a summary or objective statement that captures the essence of what makes you unique along with what you are seeking in your next role. This section should be concise yet impactful, giving recruiters a snapshot of who you are, what you want and what you offer.
  3. Highlight your achievements: Instead of simply listing job duties, showcase your achievements and results (quantified where possible; see more on that below). Use action verbs to describe your accomplishments and emphasise the impact you made in previous roles. 
  4. Organise your CV effectively: Structure your CV in a clear and organised way, with distinct sections for your education, work experience, skills, and any additional relevant information such as certifications or volunteer experience. Use bullet points to break up text and make it easier for the reader by utilising more white space. 
  5. Emphasise relevant skills: Identify the key skills required for the job you're applying for and ensure they are prominently featured on your CV. Include both hard skills, such as technical proficiencies, and soft skills, such as communication and leadership abilities. Provide examples or anecdotes that demonstrate how you've utilised these skills in previous roles.
  6. Use a professional format and design: Choose a clean and professional-looking format and design for your CV – that includes a legible font and consistent formatting throughout. Avoid using excessive colours or graphics that may distract from the content. Your CV should be visually appealing while still being easy to read.
  7. Quantify your impact: Numbers speak volumes on a CV. Whenever possible, quantify your achievements with specific metrics or percentages. For example, instead of stating "increased sales," specify "increased sales by 30% within six months." Quantifying your impact adds credibility to your accomplishments and gives recruiters a better idea of your contributions.
  8. Include keywords: Many companies use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to screen CVs for specific keywords before they even reach human eyes. To ensure your CV gets past the initial screening, incorporate relevant keywords from the job description into your CV. However, make sure to use them naturally and avoid keyword stuffing. There are some helpful tips about getting your job application past ATS in this article.
  9. Proofread and edit thoroughly: A single typo or grammatical error can undermine the credibility of your entire CV! Proofread your CV carefully and consider asking a friend or colleague to review it as well. Pay attention to formatting consistency, spelling, grammar, and punctuation. A polished CV demonstrates attention to detail and professionalism.
  10. Keep it concise: While you want to provide enough information to highlight your qualifications, it's important to keep your CV concise and focused. The optimal length of your CV depends on the stage of your career. Early in your career, you could aim for a one-pager. As your career progresses you may need to go to 2-3 pages, but never any longer than 3 pages. Be selective about the information you include and prioritise the most relevant and impactful details.

Creating a standout CV is a critical part of the job search process. By following these tips and strategies, you can craft a compelling CV that grabs recruiters' attention, effectively showcases your skills, and experiences, and increases your chance of landing interviews and ultimately securing your ideal job. Remember, your CV is your personal marketing tool – so take full advantage of it!

About Martin Personnel

Martin Personnel is a recruitment agency that has been ‘all about people since 1987’ – offering candidates temporary and permanent employment opportunities across a range of sectors (particularly in manufacturing and logistics) and treating them as more than just a number. Becoming an associate for Martin Personnel is like joining a family that shares common values, including respect for all and a commitment to achievement. You can read about our values here.

With offices in Auckland and Christchurch, ask Martin if you’d like to find your ideal job…our friendly recruiters are here to help.