Quick tricks to give your application the best chance of success

Applying for jobs can often feel like Mission: Impossible. Luckily, you don't have to be Ethan Hunt to get it right. If you want to create a winning CV that turns recruiters' heads, there are some handy tricks that you can use. In this guide, we'll take a look at the best practices when it comes to writing your next application. Here's what you should know.

1. Always tailor your application 

Sending out the same CV to multiple employers? Yeah, you're missing a trick. Sure, this approach may save you time, but it won't help your chances. Recruiters have to sift through hundreds of applications before shortlisting them for interviews. You want to make sure that yours stands out from the crowd and is as relevant to the job as possible. 

Before you hit that all-important “send” button, you need to edit your CV and ensure that it aligns with the position and the company. Consider the company values when you're doing this. How can you ensure that you're the most well-suited candidate for the role?

2. Show a little passion 

Passion alone won't land you the role. However, when an employer is reviewing applications, they will be searching for candidates who share their vision. To write a winning CV, you need to show some enthusiasm for the business and the sector. You can do this in the summary section. This freeform part of your CV gives you the opportunity to declare your undying love for the industry in which you work. Don't waste that.

3. Keep it short and sweet 

Spoiler: this isn't the time to write a complete history of yourself. You might have had the most fascinating career in the world. That's great. However, creating a winning CV means condensing all of that information into just one or two pages. Recruiters spend just seven seconds looking at each new application. If you confront them with pages and pages of detailed information, it's a major turn off. To write a winning CV, you should be concise.

4. Avoid cramming in TMI 

White space is your friend. Maybe, even, your best friend. 

If you want to create a winning CV layout, make sure that it doesn't look crowded. You have a couple of pages to play with - max. Don't go trying to cram too much information in. You want everything to be clean and clear for the recruiter. Leave some space around each section of your CV. That way, the document will be easy to read and digest. 

5. Don't do anything too wild 

Are you a creative type with a flair for showmanship? That's cool. However, unless you happen to work in the arts, going wild with your application is a bad move. Crafting a job winning CV is all about professionalism. You shouldn't include a profile picture, any other graphics, or even a nifty cartoon of you doing the job. Yes, this approach may catch the recruiter's attention, but not for the right reasons. Keep things as simple as possible. 

6. Include keywords and phrases

It's the modern world and if you want to write a winning CV, you need it to be keyword optimised. Many recruiters now use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to filter incoming applications. To land on a hiring manager's desk, your application needs to be keyword optimised. Take a look at the original job advert and pick out a selection of words. Weave them through your CV.

7. Showcase your interests and skills 

Chances are, you've spent all of your time and energy focusing on your employment and experience sections. That's a good start. These are the areas that tell the hiring manager whether you're a fit for the role. However, a winning CV needs to do more. If you want to take your application to the next level, you need to show off your interests and skills. 

Ask yourself: Do you have any special interests that align with the job role? If so, you can include them in a hobbies and interests section. For example, if you are going for a leadership position, your role as President of a local sports group may be relevant. Equally, you need to make sure that you pay attention to the skills that you include in your CV. Each one that you highlight needs to apply directly to both the position and company.  

8. Proofread, proofread, proofread

So far, we've been talking about how to write a winning CV. However, once you're done writing, there's another thing that you need to remember. Proofreading is everything. You're not in primary school anymore. Spelling and grammar mistakes will not be tolerated. If you send out a CV that's littered with mistakes, you will get nowhere fast.

Now, you can proofread your CV yourself. That's step one. However, you don't want to leave things there. If you want to make sure that your job-winning CV is error-free, you'll need a second opinion. You can ask a friend or someone you trust to give it the old once over. You may also want to use spell check, Grammarly, or Hemmingway to triple-check it.

The takeaway 

Creating a winning CV takes a certain finesse. You need to make sure that the application is fit for purpose - i.e. the position - while adding in a touch extra for good measure. Follow our best practices above to make sure that your CV ticks all the right boxes. 

Ready to take the next step on the career ladder? Why not submit your CV for a free CV review to make sure that you're not committing any faux pas? We'll help you to make sure that your document is up to scratch before you send it!

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