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How To Sell Yourself on a CV

​Creating a CV is an art in itself and selling yourself from the start is important if you want any chance of securing an interview for your desired job role.

It is all very well sending a hiring manager a list of your skills and experience, but to really stand a chance of progressing to the interview stage, you must catch the recruiters attention straight away and give them every reason to offer you an interview.

It is reported on Undercover Recruiter that on average, a recruiter only spends 5-7 seconds looking at a CV before making a decision on the suitability of a candidate, so to help you out, we have listed some top ways to sell yourself on your CV.

1. First impressions count

To make a good first impression with your CV, you should focus on both the layout and the content. Your CV will give an employer a good insight into what you are like as a person, so making sure it is presented clearly, concisely and neatly is important.

At face value, the employer will be looking for consistency across your CV. This includes making sure that all fonts, sizes and colours are the same throughout. If too many different fonts and colours are used, it could look untidy and may result in the employer immediately dismissing your CV before they have even had a chance to read the content.

A neat, consistent CV that is also free from spelling and grammatical errors, will give a good first impression to a recruiter and could give you the advantage over other applicants.

The content of your CV is also important and must be used to sell what you have to offer to the employer. As well as highlighting your skills and experience, it is essential that you elaborate on how these will benefit the specific business.

For example, if you are applying for a role as a support worker, strong listening and communication skills will be desired. After highlighting these skills on your CV, elaborate on why they will be advantageous to the specific recruiter and include an example of when you were able to display these skills in a previous role.

Emphasising the results of your past actions is just as important as emphasising your past responsibilities.

2. Provide relevant and up to date information

If a recruiter has received multiple applications for one job role, they are unlikely to have the time or the patience to read through pages of irrelevant experience that doesn’t match their job credentials. Therefore, it is important that your CV is clear, concise and up to date.

Bite-sized bullet points that display your skills and experience along with how they benefit the employer are advised. Any irrelevant information may deter the hiring manager from continuing to read your full CV.

It is also vital to make sure that all of the information on your CV is correct and up to date. You will struggle to sell yourself if you are questioned in an interview about the contents of your CV and you then realise there is an inaccuracy that you can’t explain.

You should also double check that all of your contact information is correct before you submit your CV. Should the recruiter wish to invite you to an interview, they will need an accurate mobile number and email address on file. Making an error on something as simple as your own personal details won’t make the best first impression.

We would also advise that you steer clear of company specific jargon; using terminology that anyone can understand is advisable.

Information that you don’t need to disclose on your CV is your marital status, a photograph, your nationality and links to your personal social media channels - this information is not required as it could unnecessarily influence a recruiters opinion of you.

3. Tailor your CV to the specific employer

If you really want to make a good impression, tailoring your CV to each position and employer is vital.

Whilst it is more work to amend and update your CV for every role you apply for, your chances of being invited to the next stage of the process are much higher.

When tailoring your CV, you are essentially pointing out to the employer exactly why you fit their role perfectly. Recruiters won’t have the time to read between the lines and figure out why you are the ideal candidate, so spelling it out to them is advised.

You can tailor your CV a few different ways; one of the best ways is to directly address the head of HR or hiring manager from the company. If you don’t know their name, you can always ring up and ask for this!

Mentioning names is also a good way to show that you have done your research and how keen you are to apply for the role, which in turn will help you sell yourself to the employer.

To successfully tailor your CV, you should also directly correlate parts of it to the job advert.

For example, if the role has the requirement of ‘coaching and developing junior team members’, you could write ‘I have experience of coaching and developing junior team members and in the past I have… which resulted in...’

Always remember to include the results of your actions so the hiring manager can quantify your value to a business.

4. Include testimonials

You can big yourself up as much as you want on your CV but sometimes recruiters also want to hear from other people who can testify to your character and qualifications.

For a recruiter, hearing from someone who knows you personally, or has worked with you in the past, is a great way to solidify what you are saying on your CV.

Testimonials can be given as a formal statement and are a bit like an online review. If you are wanting to purchase a new TV, you may decide to read some reviews about the product first to ensure that you will be investing your money wisely.

Well, this is exactly how testimonials on your CV work, they give the recruiter an additional insight into who you are and what you can offer them, from the perspective of someone else. This way, the recruiter has additional information to help them make an informed decision on whether to progress you to the interview stage.

The most effective testimonials tend to be verified and LinkedIn recommendations are a great example of this. You can also take quotes from a letter of recommendation and then disclose on your CV that the full letter would be available upon request. Quotes can be shortened (but not altered) if needed to make them more digestible to the reader.

5. Think creatively

One of the best ways to sell yourself on a CV is to express yourself creatively. More often than not, CVs that stand out the most to a recruiter are those that offer more than just an A4 page of writing.

Nowadays, recruiters will receive an average of 250 CVs for one position so being creative is the best way to make sure they don’t overlook yours.

There are a number of ways to be creative with your CV, from how you present it to how you deliver it.

For example, you could use infographics as a concise and creative way to present the information on your CV. Graphs and bullet points can be used to make a chunk of writing more digestible and clearer for the reader.

Visually representing your skills and experience will make your CV stand out from other applicants who may have just presented an A4 page of writing.

Video CVs have been fairly common in certain industries, such as creative circles, for a while now but they are becoming increasingly popular in other industries.

By sitting down and presenting your CV in the form of a video, you are able to appeal to an employer on more of a personal level by giving yourself a voice and presence. For one, hiring managers are much more likely to take notice of it and this could leave a long lasting impression on the employer and hopefully mean that you are invited for an interview.

These days, hiring managers are searching for someone who can not only do the job well but for someone who can fit well into their existing team. Video CVs are a great way to put your personality across and enable the hiring manager to see if you would be a good fit for their company culture.

Who is Spencer Clarke Group?

Formed in 2017, we're a multi-sector recruitment agency, specialising in a range of key disciplines within both the public and private sectors, offering permanent, temporary, contract and fixed term opportunities.

We currently specialise in 8 sectors:

  • Accountancy & Finance

  • Construction & Trades

  • Corporate Functions

  • Education & SEND

  • Health & Social Care

  • Housing

  • Interim & Executive

  • Technical & Engineering

Candidates

If you’re searching for a new role, why not check out all our latest vacancies at spencerclarkegroup.co.uk/jobsnow or upload your CV by visiting here.

Employers

If you’re struggling to fill a role, why don’t you give us a call on 01772 954200 to see how we can help?

One of our Recruitment Consultants will be happy to listen to the challenges which you are facing and advise on the best possible solution for you.

Alternatively, you can discover more here or submit your vacancy by visiting here.