5 useful tips to make your CV stand out

So, you have created your CV, but it’s not standing out amongst other CV’s . According to the Mashable website this could be because your “Experience” section is too generic, that you are focusing too much on experience and a few other factors. Based on this article, I’ve decided to  give you 5 useful tips to make your CV stand out, so here goes…

1. Brand the “Experience” section on your CV: Creating one “experience” section on your CV is not a bad idea if you don’t have much experience, but if you have worked at a lot of companies and in a lot of fields, branding the experience you have might not be a bad idea.

Customize this section of your CV to “Sales Experience” or “Graphic Design Experience”, etc. Base this on the fields most appropriate for the skill set you have and the position you’re looking for. This has a great branding effect on your CV and should make it seem less generic and boring. This is ideal if you want to show off your experience in one particular area. Have all of your relevant experience in one section at the top (where the recruiter will first look) and then add an “Additional Experience” section for everything else.


2. Focus on your accomplishments, not your responsibilities: Instead of listing your responsibilities in a conventional style, shake things up a bit by listing your accomplishments instead. Try not to fall into a trap of describing what you’ve done on a day to day basis instead of listing projects you’ve completed or the results this had for the company you’ve worked for.

For example: A bullet style mention under your “Accomplishments” section on your CV stating “Coordinated 8 artist press releases that contributed to an increase in annual sales by 14%” sounds way more exciting than a very dull “Coordinated artist press releases” mention in your “Responsibilities” section. Instead of mentioning “Coordinated re-organization of the payment system”, say something like “Coordinated re-organization of outdated payment system which led to 15% more company profit”. Doing this should leave your potential employer impressed with your skills and accomplishments, not bored with “just another CV” look on their face.

3. Don’t use over-used buzzwords: Try not to use over-used buzz words like “go-getter”, “think outside of the box”, “go-to person”, “result driven”, “team player”, “hard worker”, “strategic thinker” or “detail-oriented” on your CV. Some recruiters will read over those words. Rather use words like “achieved” , “improved”, “trained”, “managed”, “created”, “influenced”, “increased/decreased”, “negotiated”, etc on your CV. Keep things interesting, keep the reader of your CV engaged, don’t bore them. Read our post featuring 10 power words you should use on your CV  for more ideas.

4. Make it sound like you have a life when you’re not working: So, you are a professional with five years of experience, but how are you setting yourself apart from all the others? How do you show your passion for your field or that you have other skills that you can bring to the position? To accomplish this, show off attributes like these, include a “Community Involvement” or “Leadership” section on your CV or expand your “Skills” section to “Skills & Interests”. If you have done event planning for a company or were the photographer for a company function, state that on your CV. Show that you do more than just show up at work and do what you are told.  It’s a great way to show off who you are, but try not take this to the extreme – anything you include should be relevant to the job that you’re applying for.

5. Include a cover letter: Everyone hates writing cover letters when it comes to job hunting, but it’s an essential part of the process. Some of you might be thinking “Well my experience should speak for itself”, but times have changed: most recruiters require a cover letter nowadays.

A cover letter is a great opportunity to really introduce yourself as person, not just another applicant with skills. When you’re writing it, imagine that you’re writing to someone who already believes you’re qualified. Imagine that you have received an e-mail from your boss-to-be and he’s telling you that he’s excited to have you as part of his team and that him and his company would like to learn more about you.  Take the confidence you receive from that thought and channel it into your cover letter.

It’s important to be open to advice and feedback when you’re creating or updating your CV, but be careful not to take out aspects that makes you special. Applying these tips might just be the reason that you get your foot in the door of your next job.

Do you agree or disagree with this assessment? Leave a comment and let us know. Feedback is appreciated and welcome here.  If you’ve enjoyed reading these useful tips, feel free to share this article with your friends on Facebook and Twitter. Remember: Sharing is caring. You might just be the reason that someone you know gets hired.

Need more job hunting advice? Get 34 crucial tips for your next job interview, find out which 2 safeguards you should follow for online job hunting, get insight into finding a job at every stage of your life or find out how to impress employers in 5 easy steps.

Just a reminder that you can upload your CVbrowse for jobs and apply for them on Job Mail. If you have any queries about the registration process or experiencing technical issues with our website, feel free to e-mail our Webmaster via jobmaster@jobmail.co.za.

Watch this space for more updates for job seekers on the Job Mail Blog.

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19 Responses

  1. Peter says:

    Very Very useful and helpful,thank you a lot for all the tips and help.Keep up the good work

  2. Thando says:

    Wise tips, thank you so much for your help. Keep up the good work

  3. thamsanqa says:

    Am looking for a job

    • Henno Kruger says:

      Thank you for your feedback. If you have not registered your CV on Job Mail yet, then follow this link: http://goo.gl/ecfJ1h (on your mobile phone). Then look for Jobs that you need at http://goo.gl/9T1jI1 (on your mobile phone) or http://goo.gl/DJY8u3 (on your PC) and apply for them. Search for “Gardener”, “Cashier” “Driver”, “Internship”, “Learnership” (or any other keyword) to find relevant jobs on Job Mail. Hope you find the job that you need soon. E-mail us via signmeup@jobmail.co.za to sign up for our weekly newsletter.

  4. Nondumiso says:

    Thanks for the tips ,I am still looking for the job in teaching Foundation Phase

  5. Sbonga says:

    Great tips guys, you really know your stuff

  6. takalani khauli says:

    Thank you so much Henno,I’m going to change my CV today

  7. Buti says:

    I have with interest your tips thanks so much will be implementing those tips to find my desired career in sales and marketing or client service. Thanks again

  8. Bornwell Ncube says:

    Very very useful,am also in the hunt for a long-distance driving job,hope it comes handy.Thank you

  9. Andre says:

    Thank u so much your tips are very useful and I am going to change the style of my CV. I appreciate your guidance thanx again,,,,,,,,,,

  10. George says:

    Truely useful tips guys @ jobmail by that i mean thank you a lot just keep on doing this by guiding people to get jobs they want, As for me i am also the one looking for the job using jobmail but nothing being done since i registering my Profile to jobmail, so i don’t know the real reason why? Thank you once again.

    • Henno Kruger says:

      Hi George – You should be applying for positions on our site, you need to be pro-active to find a job. Hope you find employment soon!

  11. khosi says:

    Great ideas indeed! So looking forward to my outstanding cv… 🙂 keep up with the good work. thank you very much.

  12. Slindile Mdletshe says:

    No wonder why last year i was never called for an interview!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i will update my CV this is very wise and useful Thank You so much i will sure get a call soon im only counting the days!!!!! soon il be working again…..

  13. bongane says:

    Thnk you for your tips becouse I know that my opporturnity can work this year my look for code 10 job and I have pdp has well,I pass my matric

  14. masego says:

    Very useful tip..thnk you again!!

  15. Jeff von Weilligh says:

    It is of great concern to me as an ex General Manager and Managing Director, how much faith is placed on CV’s alone and little or no regard is given to experience in today’s work market. Having witnessed at first hand the obvious disregard for the needs of the Customer who should be the very first priority and exceptional service the by word, it amazes me that age is a criteria for employment. There is a vast resource of experience in the older and wiser person that is untapped in the workplace. In my opinion, businesses in general can benefit greatly from this experience and, indeed, the very definite abilities of the older and experienced individuals to train and guide the younger in the correct methods. There is vast benefit to be had from employing a few older and wiser heads in today’s market and not to disregard the obvious value of years of experience. Age is but a number and in no way affects the abilities.

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