Five Steps to a Stand-out CV

You have worked hard to gain qualifications, skills and / or experience, but you just don’t know how to lay it out and demonstrate that to your prospective employer? Don’t worry, you are not alone! This is very common, especially in the construction and infrastructure industries. This blog has been designed to give you five areas of focus when you’re writing and reviewing your CV so you can make sure it stands out to recruiters and lands you that job you have always wanted!

Opening Statement / Personal Profile
On average a recruiter will only look at your CV for between 5 – 7 seconds, so the first impression always counts. Your opening statement should encompass what you can offer an organisation alongside what sort of role you are searching for. It should be short and concise, not exceeding around 4 lines of an A4 page. It is a brief overview of year’s experience, relevant qualifications, desired roles.

Ensure that your CV demonstrates your most recent experience first as typically this is the most relevant experience to the role you are applying for. This helps a recruiter to review your experience with ease. Remember, your CV should be easy to read and should be answering any questions along the way (e.g. gaps in your working history should always be accounted for).

Key Skills
Consider listing a handful of Key Skills which are relevant to your desired job role and which you think you perform to a high standard. For example, if you were applying for a role as a Demolition Labourer, one of your key skills may be ‘Proficient in use of a Jackhammer’. This helps your application stand out to a recruiter, and will allow them to identify that you will be a good fit for a role. Also, more commonly recruiters are doing key-word searches to screen CV’s, making sure you include the ‘buzz-words’ for your industry will help to get you noticed.

Key Achievements
Underneath each role you have held consider listing your key achievements, these are less about the tasks you completed and more about how you impacted the role. For example, as a general labourer, a task you may complete is ‘Health and Safety Inspections’. Your key achievement in this area may be ‘Zero accidents during a 10 year career, as a result of 100% completion of safety inspections’. This point helps to expand on why you are of value to the organisation, and how you add your own personality onto tasks that are required of you. However, the key here is to make sure you don’t overcomplicate the point you are trying to make.

Any qualifications or tickets you have should always be displayed on your CV to demonstrate there relevance to the role you are applying for. For example, if you have a Masters Degree, it may be less relevant to talk about your school leavers exams. However, if you are just starting your career and you have less experience in the field that you are applying in, but you have relevant qualifications, you need to make these stand out. Do so by demonstrating which areas of the role you are applying for, you learnt during your studies, and whether this was a practical or theoretical application of knowledge. By doing so, you help to show how you can transfer your classroom knowledge into workplace skills.

Finally, don’t forget that the key to a stand-out CV is always your cover letter. Your covering letter is your story, it details more about where you are in your life at the point of applying, and why you are looking for a new role. For example, if you are relocating, returning from maternity leave or recently got made redundant, your cover letter is a good place to explain this in more detail. Alongside this it is your opportunity to show some more of your personality, and to really win round a recruiter, without the formalities of a structured CV. However, be wary on making them too long, a good cover letter should not exceed 1 A4 page, and should still include the formalities of address, contact details and a signature to sign it off.

Think you have mastered the art of a stand out CV? Send it through to for one of our recruiters to take a look!

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