Article – How to Ensure your CV Beats the Competition

With each job advertisement attracting massive interest and sometimes huge numbers of responses, it has never been more important to make your CV stand out from the crowd. Here are some tips to give you that winning touch.

In these times of constant economic and political turmoil, you have to be more self-reliant that ever before. Career flexibility is key, as well as being able to demonstrate the impact you have personally made. This will require strong self-marketing materials (CV, Cover Letter and LinkedIn). In addition, you will need to make strong first impression.

Get Past the Gatekeepers

In most cases this will be HR, Recruiters, ATS Software and anyone else the company uses to recruit staff. Each individual approach has its benefits and disadvantages for the company. In all examples, the person / software looking at your CV they may not have the expertise to assess your skills, or they will quickly reject any CV that is poorly presented. Your CV layout should be clear and easy to understand for all levels. So, take another look at the spelling, punctuation and formatting. You may need to bear in mind both the human and computer screener.


Faced with lots of potential employees, the shortlisting team / software want to know at a glance what you can do and why they should employ you. You need to ensure that you reflect the key requirements in the job specification in your Cover Letter and CV. In a situation when there are few jobs and many applicants, you may find yourself applying for a position that does not exactly mirror your core strengths. Therefore, adaptation and creativity are crucial. Carefully think through your recent roles and pick out the responsibilities that best meet the job requirements and adjust your CV accordingly.

In the current economic climate, employers are much choosier and will only shortlist people who can ‘tick all the boxes’. Thoroughly break down the job specification and try to show how you can fulfill each of their requirements. You may be surprised at just how experienced you are for a role you would not previously have considered.

Target appropriately

If you continually fail to be selected for jobs that seemed a perfect fit, you may well be forced to consider ones for which you are overqualified – perhaps a position you held earlier in your career. Your priority could be to get back into the workplace as fast as possible. Your focus may have shifted from an upward career trajectory but you still want to find a fulfilling and interesting role. So, emphasise your relevant skills and experience and don’t highlight your high-flying achievements, while still trying to get across your enthusiasm for the role and its possibilities.


You may be lucky enough to have half a dozen or more former employers happy to speak up for you, but stick with two or three as employers rarely contact more. Before deciding who to include, think hard about their relevance. You might have held management roles in an engineering company, a retail group, the NHS and a charity. If you are applying for a position in the care field, just include the last two and contact the referees explaining what you`d like them to emphasise about your work.

However, before scouring the job advertisements and working on your CV, it`s a great advantage to look at the broader picture. You can save a lot of wasted effort by keeping abreast of any breaking UK news about companies and the sectors in which they operate. You can then gauge which industries are hiring and which are shedding workers and focus your job search accordingly. This can be particularly important during times of political and economic uncertainty.