How to get your CV noticed…

A lot of people ask me, how do I get my CV to stand out? Shall I pay someone to sort that out for me? Shall I design a new CV? Is that the problem?

You can do all that – but you need to understand one thing with your CV. Well, more to do with you.

Are you relevant for the role?

That is the only key to getting your CV noticed, or better still a higher chance of it being noticed. How do you get it noticed?

1.      You need to create a Master CV. Master CV is the start of this process. Get all the anger out in that. Well, not anger – but you know what I mean. List everything, make it pages long if you want. Loads of bullet points, focus on achievements and things you have done that you need to brag about. Get it out of your system. Then save it. And put it to one side, this CV doesn’t get sent to anyone, this is your master copy – you add stuff to this CV, even if it’s a page per role or longer. Class it as a library edition. The Wikipedia of your career. Stuffed full of anecdotes and testimonials off LinkedIn if you want.

2.      You need to start reading job adverts better. Some are jobs specs are cut and paste jobs, some are well articulated pieces that belong in a literature course. But what are they fundamentally? They are just an advert what someone ideally wants.

Some job specs are as simple as “this is what we want” and there is no negotiation – this is where I always say, when you see a role, “Are you relevant for it?”. Are you?

If you’re not, don’t apply – if you are… then you need to believe your CV needs to reflect that.


3.      Using your Wikipedia CV! –  as your days of job hunting goes by, you will try to edit you CV, and add bit and take bits away. You master CV is where you dump all those additions and revision – what you then do, is edit the CV to meet the Job advert. BUT WITH YOUR ACTUAL PULLED EXPERIENCED (no lying).

I am going to stop a second and explain why. Why you should edit your CV for every role? Well – the reader will have about 10 seconds to assess you. Not your fault – just the way things have gone. But mostly for the fact, hiring manager/recruiters are not mind readers. You need to expand, pad out or simply explain if you are relevant.

Master CV should make pulling information easier – but the job specifications will be alike a question sheet. And all you must do is answer that with you CV. Some candidate has highlighted areas of the CV – and then used the cover letter to point out on the CV the highlighted areas.

How do I set up my CV to look good?

There is loads of information on the Internet about this – it’s not that complicated. But I have written a blog on this – CV Etiquette – But remember KISS – Keep it Simple Stupid. Don’t complicate it with boxes or fancy sentences that don’t sound like words that come from you. Be straight up to the point.

As you do this, you will learn something about job adverts and how people think when writing them. Your CVs will start becoming versions that will match future job specs with no remastering.

Another tip here – is match the job title on your CV – if it’s within a reason. You can’t call yourself a manager when you have never managed. But if you call yourself a “Sales Engineer” and the role matches you, but they call it a “Business development Manager” – you can safely change your job title – but I would pop in brackets (Sales Engineer), to cover your arse.

4.      This is the most crucial part of this. Send your CV direct to the employer, or recruiter – do some research and see if you can get their email address – or even contact them on LinkedIn. Send them the relevant CV and wait…… for 24hours. Then call them after that.

Don’t be of the opinion it is personal if they haven’t read the CV or are giving you live feedback as they read your CV with you on the phone – the point of this exercise is to not catch them out or even get noticed, but is to raise your profile. Suddenly you have gone from a CV in an inbox to an actual living breathing person on the phone, just wondering if they have received the CV. Humanising the process.

But also – your introducing yourself as well, and what better way of cutting through the other applications. Especially if the role is a customer facing role, like Sales. Selling yourself should be easy then. But if it’s an engineer or a back-office role, selling yourself might not come easy. But you need to do this, get in the forefront of the mind of the hiring manager/recruiter.

If they quickly get you off the phone, and pretend you don’t exist – move on, I fear you will be wasting your time.

What will happen more times than not, you will have a good conversation about you, and your CV. And you may get an interview.

Why do you need to do this?

Job hunting and cutting through the world of job hunting is getting harder and harder. From a recruiter perspective, there is a few things I have noticed about job applications – which are, and aren’t your fault.

1.      Job application quality has dropped, this is because some job websites has made applying for a job even easier than ever. They have too, it’s a competitive market place, and they need to justify their existence. So, the one that makes the application process easier, will win. But the paradox here is, more people applying thus giving you less feedback from each application.

2.      Your task is to stand out from that. And if you don’t, you won’t have any chance of getting an interview.

3.      But the only thing I will blame you as a candidate is – if you don’t take control of your job hunting and roll with the punches, pick yourself up and keep adapting and changing – you won’t find the right role for you.

Lastly – The job hunt is a changing process, a lot of companies are falling back on Candidate tracking systems – and the personal, humanised touch is dying, slowly. Us recruiters are pushing that human touch more. It’s probably why our existence in the future of recruitment will be more, not less.

Drop me a message, reach out to connect if you want to talk more about this. But let me know your CV tips too.