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Contracting with Hays

Make your CV stand out

We know what employers look for when they scan CVs and have assembled a few points to help yours find its way to the 'interview' pile. The purpose of your CV is not to get you a job, but to be enticing enough for an employer to take you through to next step in the selection process.

Here are a few tips to make your CV stand out:

A personal statement directly beneath your contact details gives employers a snapshot of your key skills and work ambitions and should catch their attention if it marries up with what they are looking for.
When writing your skills section, try to use adjectives that are similar to those used in the job advertisement. If they require someone with ‘effective leadership and administrative abilities that possesses excellent interpersonal skills’, state that you have these. Don't copy the text verbatim, however, as this will be apparent, and obviously be truthful at all times on your CV.

Remember that employers are interested in the outcome or impact of your actions, not just a list of the tasks themselves.

When listing achievements, keep in mind that what really convinces employers is data. If you can illustrate your achievements with facts and figures, then make sure to do. Consider the differing impacts of the following two statements:

  • Consistently exceeded sales targets in last year

  • Exceeded sales targets in last four quarters by x%, x%, x and x%, resulting in overall annual increase in turnover of €x

Even if you struggle to recall or quantify your work achievements, it's worth spending some time thinking about it as it's important. Did you have a positive effect on productivity, efficiency, the speed of a process or response, customer complaints, waste, accidents, reporting, absences or any other aspect of an organisation’s functioning? Then include it.

Above all, remember that you are trying to sell yourself. Using phrases like ‘was involved in’ and ‘assisted’ implies that you were more of a bystander than an instigator. Use strong action verbs and take credit where credit is due. It should always be ‘I’ not ‘we’.

Try to get help from someone creative and enthusiastic to assist you in interpreting and writing very positive phrases and descriptions about you for your CV.

Remember that you must also tailor your CV as employers will expect and appreciate this. Take the time to get it just right and your CV is bound to stand out from the crowd.

Salary Guide 2018

Journal 15

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