Pen and CV

November 26, 2014, by Oyku Ataman

How to Make Your CV Stand Out

By Oyku Ataman, student blogger

Hello everybody!

I’d like to make a quick introduction before moving on to the actual content of the post: My name is Oyku (pronounced eh-yew-ku) but I’m mostly called Q by my friends. I study Chinese and International Relations; I’m in my third year of university, and soon to graduate. This means that there is a great deal of career-related happenings in my life and I’m looking forward to sharing my experiences with you.

Today’s post is all about CVs which, I’m sure we can all agree, are difficult to write. When writing my CV for the first time, I found the biggest challenge was to understand what looks professional and what the norms are when thinking about things such as format, or where to put your interests. When I went to a one-on-one session to look over my CV, the feedback was as follows:

  • Make spaces compact
  • Prioritise achievements
  • Use more bullet points/less prose
  • Place interests right at the end

Of course, these recommendations were specific for my CV, they may be different for yours. For example, the prioritisation was regarding freelance translation work that I have done. I didn’t know that this should be at the top, because in my view it was not as strong as some volunteering with students. What I found was — and in hindsight it seems obvious; putting this at the top of my work experience was highly beneficial to one of the areas of work I am interested in (linguistics, I know, it’s really obvious). This session left me wanting to know more about the general tricks to writing a good CV.

After attending a few events about CVs, I can tell you that the strongest impression left on me was that they are read by actual people. This seems obvious, but it was restated many times and after mulling it over, I have to say I fully agree, not only do you need to bare that in mind when writing your CV –  the success of your application depends on whether or not you have piqued the interest of whoever’s desk your CV lands on.

This seems like a tall order but another idea that left a strong impression was that it’s not possible to know how you can specifically impress complete strangers, something well received by one person may not be so by somebody else – what you have to remember (and me; this is mostly an inspirational talk for myself before I start editing) is that your CV needs to be something that you feel happy about representing you, something that you feel proud of.

UPDATE: I’m happy to say that I’ve finally finished editing my CV, but I’m still not entirely sure about it. Unfortunately, the places I’ve sent my CV so far, haven’t given me any feedback, so I’ll be taking it back to Careers to get it reviewed.

Need help with your CV? Book in for a CV review now; we’re open all summer if you want to nip in during the holiday period too.

Posted in Applying For JobsGraduate VacanciesWork experience