How to make your CV stand out

Many people made a New Year’s resolution to invest in their careers in 2018. Probably so did you. A top-notch resume comes in handy in order to keep this resolution.We made a list of tips that will help you make your resume stand out. These can be useful whether you need to polish a CV that’s been for a long time somewhere on your PC or whether you need to create your very first professional autobiography.

Put your skill list at the top

Let hiring managers know that you have the skills they are looking for by enumerating them upfront. This section will also act as keywords that make your resume stand out. Stick to the technologies you’ve really used and prioritized the ones that are most useful for the job you are applying for. Also, mention the years and level of experience you have with each technology.

Detail your work experience

Forget long stories, use web-style writing. Consider bullet points to make your resume easy to scan. In fact, you’ll only need four bullet points for each job you had:

  • One sentence about the project(s)
  • Your role in the project(s)
  • Skills/ programming languages and technologies you used
  • An interesting challenge you overcame
Pro tip for students: Don’t fall into the trap of leaving this section blank, even if you were never employed. Include your personal and school projects in your experience. It’s a major advantage if you’ve worked on your own or showed initiative in a project. It’s even better if you talk about these achievements during the interview!

Tell about your soft skills

They are also known as transferable skills because they can benefit you in any role you have. By enumerating these skills, you establish that you’re bringing more to the table than just your immediate technical capacity. Soft skills also prove that you’ll fit just fine with the company.

Share links to your work (and social media profiles)

Do you post on GitHub or contribute to a blog? Include these links on the resume! Also, share your LinkedIn profile URL as it includes details about your experience, as well as recommendations from clients, employers, and colleagues. Provide links to your social media profiles so HR professionals don't have to search for them. You never know what pops up in a Google search.

Education is not that important

If you have a certification in technology from a relevant institute, this is the place to mention it. Also, do include your formal education but don’t expect much from it. Unless you have an outstanding degree (an MSc from MIT or post-grad at Oxford) it won’t thrill anybody. If you’re not looking for an entry-level position, leave it last.

Nerdy details (a.k.a. interests)

What you do in your spare time is what you are passionate about. So ditch the old cliches of listing traveling and reading as hobbies (unless these really are your hobbies). Don’t be shy to mention you love anything related to computers or programming. Learning new or obscure programming languages, tutoring your cousin, making an app that finds parking space for you or developing a new version of angry birds - all these shows where your heart is.

Make it readable

Remember: no one likes to read resumes, not even yours! So make sure the HR professional see at first glance that you are a good match for the position they are looking for. Keep in mind that he or she has just a few minutes to read your CV. Two pages are more than enough to cover what’s important (or maybe just one if you have less than 10 years of experience). Make the resume printer-friendly: black and white, font sizes appropriate for reading in print. The safest thing is to test print. Save the file in PDF format, and please include your name and the date in the file name.

Bonus: Don’t forget about the cover letter

You don’t plan to send an empty email with your CV attached, right? :) The cover letter is a great tool that achieves three things. First, it helps you emphasize the strengths that qualify you for the position (experience in a similar role, certificates, etc.) Second, it shows the employer that you’ve done your homework studying the company. Third, it’s a chance to flash your (written) communication skills.It’s a New Year, it’s time to freshen up your resume! Scroll down for an infographic showing the ingredients of an outstanding CV.

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