search-icon closer-icon
  • sell yourself written on keyboard key


Tips for How to Make Your CV Stand Out

Author: Sunny Randhawa

Stand Out Resume

With nearly two decades in the HR industry, HR Source’s co-founder and managing partner, Umran Mehmood has seen some exceptional resumes, and some not-so-good. You may be the perfect candidate for a role, but if your resume doesn’t pass muster, you are likely to fall at the first hurdle. Sending your resume on a cake or with a tray of donuts may be a little excessive, but it is guaranteed to get you noticed! We talk about what to do, and what not to do, to make your resume stand out.

Create a strong introduction

In the competitive world of recruitment, you have just a few minutes to make yourself stand out. Get it right, and you should get an interview; get it wrong and your resume will be consigned to the “no” pile. Think of your resume as a bestselling book; your introduction is your blurb, the critical 200 words that will entice the reader to read the contents in full.

Most recruitment agencies in the UAE receive numerous resumes from applicants of varying ability, so they are unlikely to read every word of every resume. You need to grab their attention and make sure they read yours. A strong introduction is the way to do this: include a few sentences about the role you are applying for, and why you think you fit it, followed by a very brief summary of your experience and qualifications.  Don’t list every achievement and post (that will come later, in your employment history and skills), simply handpick a few characteristics and achievements that fit best with the post you are applying for.

Get the format right

Bearing in mind the volume of applicants for many posts, making your resume easy to read and cohesive will help you to show off your skills, without losing the readers’ attention. It is likely that all resumes will be skimmed in the first pass, during which some will be eliminated and some kept for closer inspection. A logical format detailing qualifications, previous roles, skills and qualities will make your resume look more appealing and instantly show your suitability for the job. Bullet points are great for busy skimmers, and should be used, where possible, instead of pages of prose.

Be cautious with jargon

The language you use defines your membership of a particular group, be it a profession or a hobby. By using terms specific to that group, you are showing others that you have a knowledge of the group’s rules and intricacies. Without being aware of it, you also judge others according to the language they use, to see which club they fit into.  When it comes to your resume, demonstrating your skills and knowledge via language is a great start, but it is important that you get the levels right. A resume littered with industry-specific jargon and clichés can have the opposite effect, devaluing your resume as you try desperately to demonstrate that you are a member of the “club”. Add just the right amount of industry-specific jargon to subtly emphasise your suitability for a role.

Avoid clichés and provide examples

A huge number of resumes for one post will follow the same format; most candidates will, for example, boast being innovative, hardworking and a team player. If you are using the same adjectives as everyone else, how can you possibly stand out among stiff competition? Simple. Be creative and provide examples. If you say you are a team player, give a short example of a time that you jumped in to help others to save a project; if you claim to be innovative, briefly outline a creative solution you provided for a tricky situation. If you don’t have an example to back up your claims of brilliance, don’t say it.

Make it tailored

In the age of digital recruitment, it is not uncommon for jobseekers to send their resume to multiple employers in the hope that one will be successful. Experienced recruitment consultants can spot a generic resume a mile off, from which they will infer that you are applying for jobs, all jobs, any jobs; not a great way to introduce yourself. Make your resume adaptable and sneak in little pieces of information that show you are right for a specific role or company. Do the research; mention a company’s name and cite achievements and aspirations of the company. Find out about their ethos and values and make sure that your resume demonstrates your ability to contribute to the organisation.  A ten-minute online search will help you to stand out and show that you want not just any job, but this one.

If you are recruiting or looking for a job in the United Arab Emirates, follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter.