CV Boost - Three Tips to Stand Out!
Writing CV’s are the bane of my life. And, as a recent university graduate, I am currently writing lots of them.
When the prospect of having to plan what I was going to do with the rest of my life, post-university, first presented itself, I was optimistic. I would say I’m generally quite an optimistic person. However, one excruciating job application later, I declared myself done with the whole grad job application process. That’s possibly partly to blame with how I’ve ended up now doing a Masters degree, but that’s a different story…
My father had no sympathy for me whatsoever. As a businessman, he frequently has a stack of CVs under his nose, (literally, the pile is so big it reaches all the way to his nose) so I thought he’d be an appropriate person to go to for advice. I was wrong. “It was simple in my day, type it up, slap your GCSE’s on there, Times New Roman black font and you’re done.” Oh how times change! Today, with a paid job harder and harder to secure for university graduates, a list of GCSE scores typed up in Times New Roman is no longer good enough. Especially if you want to work in a creative industry like I do. Even for non-creative jobs, the rise of ‘role specific’ CVs is forcing job seekers to develop a new CV for each application, requiring time intensive research on each and every job found and sleepless nights perfecting the seventh draft of your CV. And I haven’t even mentioned having to write a cover letter yet! With all that being said, I will thank my dad for something – the one piece of advice he gave me was this: make sure you stand out. As simple as that sounds, it’s incredibly hard to do on paper. So, I’ve got three top tips for you that are sure to help set your CV apart from the rest of the pile. Just keep it between us, okay? It’s competitive enough as it is out there!
1. Add some colour:
If you had fifty CVs spread out on a table, but one of those CVs had some colour on the front page – even if it was just the person’s name written in a coloured font – I guarantee your eyes would go straight to that CV. How do I know this for a fact? Because when speaking to a friend about her new job as a film production assistant, she told me the only reason she got the job was because out of all the applicants, hers was the only CV to feature colour. Her boss was stood next to her as she was telling me this and he confirmed the story. Despite being one of the youngest and most inexperienced applicants, she was selected instead of fifty other people because her boss’ eyes couldn’t help but return to her CV. And while I’ll admit adding colour might not have been the be all and end all of her securing the job, it certainly helped. That’s top tip number one for you, add some colour and hopefully it’ll get you at least an interview, then it’s all down to you!
2. Create a logo:
Society has become a consumer society, a product of a materialistic world. You don’t even need to step outside your front door to be confronted with brands. I can spot ten different brand logos just sat typing this article in my bed! So, why not brand yourself? If the aim is to sell yourself to an employer, you want them to remember you and be able to instantly recognise you. A logo is the perfect way to achieve this. Unique to you, it can be positioned in the header of your CV – I’d recommend one of the top corners – and brand not just the paper, but you as well. If you’re struggling on ideas for a good design, Pinterest is full of inspiration. Even if your dream job is being an accountant, now is your chance to be a little creative and have some fun designing your own logo. In the extreme boredom verging on depression that is applying for a job, everyone needs an opportunity to be a little creative. And finally,
3. Go over the top:
In a job I previously applied for, a creative industries job requiring a strong background in writing, I was asked to submit some examples of my work. While the application simply requested the pieces to be uploaded as PDF documents, I wasn’t about to simply attach a couple of copies of white paper full of words. You have to make sure you stand out, remember? And sometimes that means breaking the rules. Instead of submitting multiple boring PDF copies, I created a portfolio of my work, and not just my writing work but all of the other skills I possessed across various different categories too (though obviously it was all relevant to the job). This allowed me to show off my talents, the ones documented in the portfolio as well as my talents for design and computer knowledge exhibited by the actual portfolio itself, instead of just letting someone read about them from the ‘Skills Set’ section of my CV. I uploaded the portfolio as a PDF file, so technically I didn’t break the rules, just bent them.
In this dog-eat-dog world where everything is just business – don’t believe me, just watch this season of The Apprentice and see what great friends all this year’s candidates are – every little helps, and hopefully at least one of my top tips will help you!
Good luck, you can thank me with a job offer. At this point, I’ll take anything!
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