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How to make your CV stand out


It all starts from your application and your CV should be your mirror and your story. It is very important that your CV is clear and makes a good impression, so we put some very important notes to keep in mind before sending your CV for a job.


Keep it 1 - 2 pages


First of all, you should keep in mind that your CV should be tailored to the specific job you are applying to. You should carefully read the job description before applying and find out ways to outline the experience they require in your CV. If the job descriptions specify the length of the CV, you should definitely stick to it. Otherwise, I recommend not making it longer than 2 pages.


If you look out on the internet how much time on average do recruiters spend on CVs, how much time does it take for them to decide whether to shortlist your CV or not you would be shocked!


It should definitely be up to your preference. If you think there are some projects or experiences you really want the recruiter to see in your CV, you should add it. But keep in mind to make it as concise as possible. Companies and recruiters have to deal with so many CVs and it's very hard to read long ones. You can always leave your valuable experience, but just keep the information that describes exactly the most important points about it.


You should make the recruiters interested in your work so that they would want to find out more about you. Leaving two-three paragraphs of your work on your CV might be hard to read some times, and you can always talk about it in your interview. Your job now is to show - why should we give you a chance?


Have bullet points


The best way to make it concise and easily readable is to have bullet points that describe some most important aspects of your experience, project, or achievement. In general, it's good to have around 2-3 bullet points under any achievement.


It is important to show what you did (Built a mobile application, Received X award, Got a Medal, Completed a Challenge...), how you did it (Using Android Studio and Java, in the light of achieving the best grades at a certain subject, by proving excellent problem-solving skills and communication, etc).


Also, include real numbers, data, metrics and information that showcase your hard work (Was placed in the top 5 from 50 teams participants, 100 people installed my application on AppStore, Optimized the algorithm by 30%). Include skills that you got from your project, work, experience (Developed leadership skills by leading the team, Improved my problem-solving skills by doing a programming question every day, Showcased good team working and collaboration skills by completing the project successfully online).


Choose good titles


Considering how little time do recruiters spend on each CV you should realize what kind of information pops up. You can use the seconds that you have to impress by having very good and suggestive titles. What do you think makes your project stand out? What do you think is the best way to describe your project in a few words?



Tailor it to the job you want to apply to


Make sure you properly read what is the experience the specific job wants in their candidates, and find the best ways to use keywords and to highlight the experience you have that can make you a strong candidate for the specific job. Put relevant information.

Sending the same CV to every job you apply for is not always a good idea, because different jobs may require different experience and you should always consider showcasing the most relevant information.



Structure it


The nice thing about CVs is that you have the freedom to make it as you want. You can have your design, the structure, order that you want and you can include only the things you consider necessary.

Very important of course, should be your contact information, which should stand at the top of your CV.

There are some important sections it's good to include, like Education.


Make sure to put the University and high school you attended in descending order (the current form of education should come first). Of course, you can include anything you think is important to you below the education you are receiving, but some good things to highlight are: What are you majoring in? What modules are you taking? When will your graduation year be? What year of university are you in? What are some grades that you achieved?


Another section you can introduce is Experience. Of course, you can have subsections, for example, Internships if you have done a lot of them. But you can feel free to name this section Projects, Work Experience, Achievements, or anything you feel is more suitable.


You can include a few projects that you feel are worth mentioning in your CV and that can showcase you are a strong candidate for the job. It can be anything from a project you worked with your teammates at school or university to mobile app you did in your free time, or an internship you took during the summer. Make sure to mention what tools, technical languages you used, what was the result in the end, why are you proud of this, what skills you got out of this project, work, and keep the information in concise bullet points.



If you did some Volunteering, it is again worth mentioning. You can put it in your Experience or even have a special section for it.


Now, Skills. Here you can list anything you feel comfortable with. List the programming languages you have experience with and you can mention how proficient you feel in them. Don't risk putting a language you worked with 7 years ago if you don't know how it works anymore. Mention any tools you've used and languages or other skills you think make you - you. It is always good to mention all the skills you gained, but a better way to do that is to show the evidence of how you got the skills, through your work.


Have it in PDF format


I strongly recommend doing your CV on Google Docs (or anything you find comfortable, just make sure Autosave is on so that you don't lose all the work you did). When you finished, Download your document, or convert it, to the PDF format and double-check that the document is the same as you want it to be. In this way, you will make sure that the recruiter will receive the same document you have, in the same format.


Name it properly


It is always good to give a suggestive name to your CV, because sending a CV like 'doc1.pdf', 'my_resume.pdf', 'John Smith(3).pdf' might not make the best impression. Naming it 'FirstName_LastName_Resume.pdf' is a good and safe way to send your CV.


Make it clear and readable


Of course, darker and readable font-colors are advisable. The font size should be readable, therefore no lower than 11 point is advised. Also, having any design you wish is fine, just make sure it makes a good impression and the recruiter is able to understand everything quickly.


Stay true


Include only true information. You don't want to risk being asked about something and don't know it, or don't know how to explain it.


Ask your friends to check it


This is to make sure you don't have typos in your CV, but in general just to get the advice on what can be improved, better ways to say something, or to be reminded of some things you didn't include.


You can always use uni's help on it and have the software check it for you. Check https://intranet.birmingham.ac.uk/as/employability/careers/vmock.aspx. You can register using your email address and you can get feedback in 30 seconds and get your CV graded from 0 to 100.



Good luck on making your CV stand out. We hope this helps!








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