Create a high impact CV in 4 simple steps
If you want to land the very best job you can get, then you need to write a high impact CV.
You need a CV that will make a big impression from the second it is opened.
You need the type of CV that will make hiring managers say, “let’s get this person in for an interview ASAP”
So how do you create a high impact CV?
Creating a high impact CV is about using the correct blend of structure, format and content; to quickly show readers that you are the perfect fit for their job.
If your CV instantly tells recruiters that you have the skills and experience that they are looking for, then they will be queuing up to interview you.
If you are willing invest a bit of time and effort, the simple steps that I have outlined below will help you to create a CV that will grab the attention of recruiters and hiring managers.
Start with a flawlessly professional appearance
In today’s job market, it’s no longer enough to have a CV that just looks “OK” – you need to stand out and look better than the competition.
Recruiters’ inboxes are full of bland uninspiring CV’s like the ones pictured here:
You can imagine how these CVs do not create a big impact when they are opened.
There’s nothing horrifically wrong with them, but they are just a bit boring and don’t really give the impression of a professional candidate.
Your CV is your marketing material for your services, so the first impression it makes is hugely important.
After all, if you received a leaflet from a local business that didn't look professional, you would probably throw it straight in the bin.
So, take the time to ensure that your CV looks slick and professional in order to start making an instant impact.
And you don’t have to be a graphic designer to make your CV look good...
Here is an example CV structure that I have created using simple Microsoft Word functions.
The basics of a professional stand-out format are:
A clean and simple consistent font
Your CV needs to look smart and be easily readable by a wide audience – so pick a nice simple font and stick with it throughout the document. Do not use an over-elaborate font and do not switch between multiple fonts – both these things will make the CV look messy and difficult to read.
Clear headings & dividers
To ensure that your CV is easily navigated by readers, use nice bold heading for the titles of each section. To add an extra touch of professionalism, you can also add dividers by using the border function in Microsoft Word.
A professional title heading
Head your CV up with a professional title to instantly show readers who you are and set a professional tone from the start. In the CV above, I have simply used "IT Support Analyst"
And perhaps add a splash of colour
With the majority of CVs on the job market being written solely in black and white, sometimes a bit of colour can help you to stand out from the crowd. Be careful not to go crazy though – adding some colour to your CV headings should be enough, but keep the main content in black or dark grey for ease of reading.
Create an easy-to-read CV structure
If you want to impress employers with your CV, then you need to ensure that they can find the information that they need quickly – and you do this by creating an easy-to-read structure.
This diagram gives a high level overview of how you should structure your CV if you want to keep recruiters and hiring managers happy.
Firstly, break the information up.
This is crucial.
Nobody likes to wade through huge unbroken chunks of text when they are trying to find information quickly – especially a recruiter who is reviewing tons of CVs every day.
Keep your sentences short and snappy, use bullet points throughout your role descriptions and try to keep sections nicely spaced apart.
Following the diagram above, structure your CV in the following order to keep the information on your CV easily digestible.
1. Start with an introductory CV profile that summarises your experience and outlines the value you can bring to an employer.
2. Include a bullet pointed Core Skills section under your profile that lists your in-demand skills in a way that jumps out of the page at the reader.
3. List your Work History in reverse chronological order and structured like below:
4. Finish up with your education and qualifications.
Check out our example CVs here to see this structure working in practice.
Optimise your CV’s top quarter
The top quarter of your CV is the part that that is first visible when it is opened.
Take a look below to see.
The top quarter of your CV is hugely important because it is the very first thing a recruiter will see when they open your CV.
In some cases, a recruiter may close your CV without scrolling down any further, if they don’t see the skills they need in the top quarter.
This may seem a little harsh, but in times of tough competition from other candidates, it is a reality you need to prepare for.
To avoid your CV being shut down before it’s even been read in full, you need to pack it full of the content that your target employers want to see.
So how do you do this?
Firstly, scan through plenty of relevant job adverts and make a list of the most important requirements that keep appearing.
Creating this list will tell you exactly what skills and experience that your target employers are looking for.
Now simply ensure that when you possess those skills and experience, you highlight them clearly throughout your CV’s top quarter; by adding them to your profile, core skills section sand the top of your first role.
Now when a recruiter opens your CV, they will instantly see that you are a good fit for their vacancy.
This will create the perfect first impression and therefore, make many more recruiters eager to call you straight away.
Quick tip: You can even tailor your CV’s top quarter every time you apply for a different role, so that your CV matches each advert as closely as possible.
Add proof of your value
When a business employs a member of staff, they are making an investment in that person. And as with any investment that a business makes; they will expect to see a return.
Not always a financial return, but they will expect to see some value delivered to their organisation.
For example, sales staff would be expected to make sales and generate revenue – IT support staff would be expected to ensure the smooth running of systems and implement improvements that save the company time or money.
All employees should deliver some form of value in return for their salary.
If you’re looking to create a high impact CV, then you need to demonstrate the value you can bring to an employer.
You need to explain exactly what an employer can expect from you, once they bring you on board – and if possible, you need to back it up with facts and figures.
One way of doing this, is by adding a key achievement section to your role descriptions like below:
Think of some of impressive achievements that have a made an impact on your previous employers and detail them as accurately as possible.
Use numbers where you can to give readers an idea of the size and scale of your accomplishments.
Creating a high impact CV – Conclusion
By following the steps above, you can create your own high impact CV for effective use in the job market.
By crafting a professional and easy-to-read structure that highlights your most in-demand attributes, you will definitely make a big first impression on recruiters and employers.
This will greatly increase your chances of receiving call backs from your applications and boost the number of interview requests you get.
Don’t forget to use a short sharp cover letter with every application to ensure that your CV gets opened too.
Download our free CV template to get a head start on writing your own high impact CV.
We've summarised the above steps into this handy quick-guide below:
(How to create a big first impression with your CV)