10 tips to make your CV stand out from the rest

10 tips to make your CV stand out from the rest

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Your CV is a mirror image of who you are and what type of employee you want to become, therefore it must make such a great impression for it to land on top of the pile on the employer’s desk. Recruiters receive dozens of CV’s, so here are 10 tips you can apply to ensure that yours will be considered.  

1. Be clear and structured

Recruiters do not read a CV in full detail. They first start by scanning through the titles. Make sure that your CV has a clear title and follows each other diagonally. Only those CV’s that catch the recruiter’s eye with the first reading, will be examined more closely. Use an attractive, professional and structured layout.

2. Avoid embellishments

Your CV is a professional document. Do not use colourful frames and curly fonts. Keep it simple, clean and to the point.

3. Be concise

Your CV isn’t a storybook, so do not write every activity of life experience in detail. Use bullet points to list your achievements, professional experience and education. Remember to add the dates of completion of every task in a diagonal manner. Your CV must not exceed 2 to 3 A4 pages. 

4. Make sure you can be easily contacted

When a recruiter wants to contact you, make sure that your contact details are easy to find. Put it on top of the page (in the header) or on the front page. 

5. Remove all unnecessary information

Avoid putting ‘curriculum vitae’ at the top of the document. It is also not necessary to put ‘name’ in front of your name, or ‘address’ in front of your address. If your CV is well structured it will not be necessary to add these extra words. 

6. Put the emphasis on your experience

Recruiters are mostly interested in your experience in the relevant field. It is a good idea to mention your experiences first before you elaborate on your achievements and education. Make sure that you emphasise the skills and experience as required in the job description by mentioning it at the top of your list. No professional experience yet? Then emphasise any placements and student jobs. If you really don’t have any relevant experience, begin with your education.

7. Only mention relevant training

It is, of course, important to mention your basic education and your specialisations relevant to the job, but make it brief. For example, if you have a degree, the recruiter won’t be interested in your primary and secondary school studies. If you have done any training that will be relevant to the potential job, then mention is briefly. 

8. Work in chronological order

Whether you are writing about your experience or your education, the most recent information is the most important. Always put it first.

9. Be precise

Mention your language and computer skills. It is essential to also mention your level of knowledge. For example: excellent, good, average, basic. When you mention your languages, make a distinction between your reading, spoken and written abilities.

10. Personalise your CV

Your CV isn’t a standard document. It is in your best interest to adapt it according to the job you are applying for. Some experience or education/training might be more relevant for one job than for another.

Your CV is the first impression of yourself – make it count!


PNET. 2019. 10 tips to make your CV stand out from the rest. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.pnet.co.za/Career-Advice/CV/10-tips-to-make-your-CV-stand-out-from-the-rest.cfm  [Accessed 18 February 2019].