7 Surprising Ways to Make Your CV Stand Out

Your CV?  It’s a critically important document. Your passport to a whole new career journey. Ask any recruiter and they’ll tell you most CVs they receive are run-of-the-mill, whilst some make a real and lasting impact. So what does your CV need to make it stand out from the crowd? Here’s what the workforce management and recruitment people at CXC Global say matters….

Want to make your CV really stand out in a crowded global market?

CXC Global has been in the workforce management and recruitment field for 30 years now, so we do know a little bit about the topic. Especially how CVs are viewed ‘on the other side’. So here’s what we think could make a big difference to your chances in the world of work; and whilst some are obvious, some may surprise you…


1. Create a winning mindset about your CV before you sit down to write it

You hear it in the sports arena all the time. ‘Back yourself!” “Believe in yourself!”. Creating that mindset before you even sit down to write your CV can help you craft a winner. Then you’ll find yourself using ‘impact statements’ as headlines, instead of mere descriptors. With a winning mindset you’ll write: “As Manager, Debt Recovery Department I increased revenue by 34%. Instead of simply “Manager, Debt Recovery Department…”

As anyone who has worked in communications will tell you, the headline is 80% of any messaging.

Writing with energy will also help you craft a winning ‘tone’ for your CV. This way, your energy, enthusiasm and go-get-‘em personality will almost leap off the page.

2. When others Zig, you do a CV Zag!

Don’t be a sheep. Do things a little differently, in keeping with the new, winning you. Include a stand-out section entitled “Why I would be the hire of the century for your business.” Then sell yourself in a precise, targetted yet professional manner. Alternatively, you could posit “What Makes Me So Special?” You get the drift. Think outside the box to make yourself more visible and use attention-grabbing headlines.

However, whilst you’re deliberately framing yourself a little differently, you must also be mindful of the baseline rules for CV structure. For example,

3. Design a clean, clear layout that’s easily to follow and digest

There is no absolutely correct CV layout, but there are common-sense rules to follow. Start by ensuring that your CV is not too wordy and remember to keep your document clean, polished, readable and professional. Avoid fiddly graphics, an over-use of colour or unnecessary images. You may think these will help your CV stand out, but they could confuse any Artificial Intelligence (AI) or Applicant tracking systems (ATS) technology being used by the hirers.

4. Use keywords strategically

Applicant tracking systems are being deployed by most large organisations today to streamline hiring by scanning submitted CVs and eliminating no-go’s. This is why you need to craft a CV that not only stands out to HR managers but also follows the digital rules.

One of the most important things an ATS looks for in CVs are keywords. If yours contains the terms and phrases it’s been programmed to seek out, you are more likely to get through to the next ‘human’ phase. How do you know what keywords to use?  Sit down and carefully read through the job listing.

5. Tailor your CV to every application

Make sure you target the CV to the job you are applying for. Dissect the job listing and identify the key requirements, especially those you fulfil, then ensure your CV highlights or even showcases these abilities.

6. Submit a cover letter

Always submit a cover letter with your CV. That’s our advice. Introduce yourself. Don’t just make it a formal four-line reference to your CV. Sell yourself. Make a connection. A cover letter is a great way to stand out as a candidate. Leverage it to give yourself an edge over someone who neglects to include one. In addition, make sure the design and ‘feel’ of your cover letter matches your resume. First impressions count.

7. Avoid buzzwords

Make sure the language in your CV is readable, relatable and impactful. If your resume is full of industry jargon, corporate blah, cliches and buzzwords, you could be selling yourself short and missing the chance to show your true worth. Also, cast a critical eye over all that you’ve written in your resume and think about how you could back these up with examples or talk about them with an interviewer. Rehearse with a friend or family member and develop some signature spiels.

Creating a winning CV can be a big project, but with a little thought and energy you can make your CV really stand out. Good luck with the job hunting!

CXC Global are recruitment and workforce management specialists, with 30 years experience and with services extending to over 50 countries. To learn more about how we can help you find your ideal job – or your ideal employee if you’re looking for talent – don’t hesitate to contact us today!