CV - showcase all your highlights

There are a number of key personal highlights that are frequently left off trainees’ CVs. Alex Miller highlights the most common ones – and why they are so important

When recruiters are dealing with hundreds of applicants, the reality is that they are unlikely to have the time to study yours in any great detail.

Recruiters are briefed to find candidates for a particular role – as a result, don’t forget to include the aspects and skills that differentiate you from other trainees in a clear and easy-to-find format.

Don’t make a recruiter have to work harder than is necessary to piece together information – dates are often forgotten, but are essential. Give the months and years of employment – not just the years.

Check before you submit your CV that it can pass a ‘five-second’ test. Have you included relevant keywords and factual evidence to support your application?

Phil Sheridan, managing director at Robert Half UK, says: ‘You should always strive to position the most relevant details – your key qualifications, experience and skills – high up on the CV.’

It may sounds obvious, but spelling and grammar errors can also get your CV discounted. Don’t forget to spellcheck your CV before sending it off and preferably ask a colleague or friend to have a look at it for you.

Social media

One of the first things employers look at when they research candidates is whether the individual has a professional website or blog.

If you have created a professional website to showcase your expertise and accomplishments, you should definitely include a link to your website on your CV.

Additionally, if you are an industry blogger, you might want to create a new section on your CV to talk about your blogging experience.

Likewise, a social media presence is another important element you must not forget to include. By including links to your LinkedIn and Twitter accounts, you have an opportunity to illustrate to employers your online influence and how you interact in the industry.

When choosing social media accounts to include, be careful what you consider suitable and only include links to accounts where you share professional content and interact with professionals online.

Freelance and volunteer work

If you have freelanced or volunteered in the past, use that experience to stand out during your job search.

Showcase your experience, including bullet points highlighting your accomplishments and clients you have worked with.

Likewise, if you have experience of temp work, focus on its value. Don't be apologetic for spending a period outside of permanent employment or try to hide temporary roles from your CV. For many accountants, temporary working is a genuine lifestyle choice – a career preference.

Have you published an ebook? Do you manage an online business? If you have had significant accomplishments in your personal life, you should include them on your CV, so long as they don’t conflict with the position for which you’re applying.

Do you volunteer at a local charity? Do you spend time coaching a football team? Or perhaps you had an unpaid internship? Volunteer experiences such as these can help you make a good impression on employers. Volunteer work can also show employers you have leadership and project management skills.

Your CV should also show any recent vocational training you have undertaken and include any genuine foreign language skills or unusual interests. Even if they are not particularly relevant to the job, these hint at your ability to learn and develop new skills.

These interests may also form the basis for an interesting conversation topic at interview, which allows you to show off your personality.

"Don't be apologetic for spending a period outside of permanent employment or try to hide temporary roles from your CV. For many accountants, temporary working is a genuine lifestyle choice – a career preference"