Most attractive job opportunities grab plenty of attention and employers will often find themselves sifting through hundreds of resumes. That one document is your first and, in most cases, only chance to make a good impression. The impression can be made depending on the information you provide, the skills that you choose to highlight and most importantly, the format and font that you decide to use. Bottom line, your CV needs to attract the attention of the recruiter, which will, in turn, send it over to the HR Manager, who also needs to find it eye catching. Even if you are applying for a “boring” job, or a job outside a creative field, it’s important that your resume stands out.

When you are applying for a job, there are a few things that you start to do as you tweak your CV and cover letter for each potential employer. You begin by getting very detail-oriented, making sure all details are correct, and rewording anything that could be interpreted as a red flag. After looking at your resume for what seems like days, you start to get tired of looking at the same two pages of words over and over again.

You may not be aware of that very same thing happening over on the HR Manager’s side. Hiring managers are reviewing potentially hundreds of ., and can get downright bored. Their eyes start to glaze over, and all the faceless and immaculately formatted documents start blending into each other, and they all look exactly the same. Everyone can be creative with their CV, even if they’re not designers or applying for a job in a creative field. You can use your CV to brand yourself and use it as a place to reflect your core essence.

Your resume needs to immediately stand out in today’s job market. Nowadays, our attention span is at an all-time short, and an HR Manager will spend just six seconds glancing at a CV before they decide if the application is worth further consideration or not. Now that you know this, you can use the short attention spans and boredom to your advantage by daring to be different. Even if your qualifications are not perfect, there’s a high chance you can get a call from the company if you grab the HR Manager’s attention by baiting their curiosity and perhaps even making them smile.

Some tips that you can follow to create a CV that stands out from the crowd are the following:

Make the page “pop.”

You can distinguish your CV by punching up the design, but be aware that a graphic designer will always have more creative leeway than an attorney. Some experts recommend the use of colour to make your CV unique. The use of colour is a great way to stand out amongst the sea of black CVs, and it can also help you reflect your personal brand. When choosing a colour, pick it because it’s the one that most represents you. If you want to enter a more conservative field, then you can only use colour in your section headers. The colour blue can represent authority, wisdom, loyalty, intelligence, and reliability, while green presents optimism, growth and youth, whereas purple means ambition, inspiration and wealth. Remember: don’t go overboard with it! Of course, not everyone has time, knowledge or design skills to do all this effectively, in which case you should consider leaving this to the agencies that specialize in this (ResumeYard comes to mind). Either way, consider this an investment – effective, distinguishable CV is a vehicle that will get you to the land of employment. Make sure its bigger, better and faster than the competition.

Create an Engaging Format

A standard CV is quite boring. You shouldn’t believe that you are restricted to a standard format, as mixing things up regarding style, and even font can help your CV stand out from the crowd.

“A good font is worth its weight (pun intended) in gold, and can be used and reused in a large range of diverse projects, CV’s particularly. Sometimes, though, you need something special. A unique, flashy font that grabs the attention of the viewer and leaves a lasting impression.” – Arthur Heaps, Print2Day,

When it comes to fonts, you can replace the antiquated and overused Times New Roman with a more modern font, like Georgia, Cambria or Calibri. However, make sure that your CV does not look disorganized or messy and that it becomes more style over substance, so much so that it distracts from the actual content.

Stay Away From Objective Statements

Traditionally, most CVs came with an objective statement. However, experts, such as  Kim Isaacs, Monster Resume Expert, recommend that you do not use them on your CVs today, as those statements are more focused on the candidate than the employer. Therefore, replace the objective with a value proposition, showing (not telling!) the company what you could do for them. You can do this by highlighting the skills you’ve learned and mastered in previous positions. A creative way to do this is to include quotes from past job reviews or LinkedIn recommendations.

Weave in Your Personal Brand

What will make you memorable to an HR Manager is your personal brand, which is essentially your reputation, and what you are known for. When you create a personal brand, you create a professional image that is recognizable to potential employers. To present your personal brand in your CV, you can include some graphics, such as a personalized logo. If you do go this route, make sure that your logo and font are consistent.

Use Unique Language

The bane of every HR Manager’s existence has become corporate speak. Today’s CVs are littered with the phrases “excellent communication skills,” “problem solver” and “team player.” These played-out phrases no longer have meaning, so do your best to avoid them.

An employer is interested in how your past achievements can help them solve current issues, which more often than not include increasing revenue, saving money and becoming more competitive. Use the time-tested rule of “show, don’t tell” and present examples of creative or innovative solutions to problems you’ve accomplished. Make your writing personal to get noticed and stand out from the crowd.

Avoid The Phrase “Responsible For”

You should never include the words “responsible for…” in your resume. They create a passive sentence, and employers are not interested. Replace those words by describing the scope of your work and use action verbs, such as directed, orchestrated, led or operated.

Thank you! Your subscription has been confirmed. You'll hear from us soon.