Some folk will tell you that what makes a great resume is qualifications, experience and knowing how to kiss butt in a corporate sense.

However, I’m here to tell you the exact opposite and that if you listen to the aforementioned saps, you’re doomed to spend your life reading rejection letters.

As far as job prospects go in 2013 and probably from here on out, it’s all about branding – as in building yourself, your traits and your personality as a brand the business in question would like to be associated with. And what’s more, this doesn’t mean following any trends or standards whatsoever, but rather making your CV unique to you and you alone.

I recently had a run-in with a ‘professional’ CV writing service as I had become overly curious as to what makes them tick and the framework they operate by. I was shocked to find that even to this day it was still something of a “We know what recruiters want to hear” mentality, which quite frankly is a generalization nobody can realistically make. What recruiters want to see and learn about is you – the real you – which in turn means that you and only you can make the very best CV for you…period.

So the bad news is that there’s still no blueprint for penning a perfect CV every time, but sufficient lessons have been learned to highlight a few important dos and don’ts. And with this in mind, here are my own personal picks of the bunch which when combined can take any CV over the edge:

Forget Carbon Copies

First of all, there’s no way of creating a one-size-fits-all CV for all positions that doesn’t sound like it was written by an automaton…trust me. Not that you have to start from scratch every time you apply for a job – Lord knows you won’t have the time – but it’s nonetheless vital to tweak and fine tune every CV you email out in accordance with the position and the company. Recruiters can smell generic carbon copies a mile away and there’s really nothing less unique than following suit.

Generic No-Nos

Speaking of generic, if there’s a single line of your CV that sounds in any way familiar, bin in right now and think of another way of phrasing it. For example, snippets like “goal-oriented” and “highly-driven and focused team player” may be apt, but when recruiters get to the hundredth CV in one day that says the same, yours won’t be looking quite as rosy as you hoped. Get creative with wording, even if technically it doesn’t alter what you’re saying.

Use Examples

When you’re making the most impressive claims about what you’ve done or can do, try backing them up with actual examples. Or in other words don’t just tell them you’re a born leader, give them an insight into when and where you’ve been able to prove this.

Achievements over Qualifications

Probably the most important tip of all, you can make your CV instantly stand out as a unique and personal document by favoring achievements over qualifications. Just as has been the case for decades, the first and last thing most folk concentrate on when penning their resume is their impressive string of qualifications and their gleaming work history. But what does this amount to? Nothing but words on paper – it’s what you achieved by carrying out these roles that really matters to recruiters. It’s a rare art and will always get you ahead of the game.

Phone a Friend

And finally, you can describe yourself ‘til the cows come home, but how does the outside world perceive you? Maybe they think you’ve got some seriously attractive qualities you never thought of? As such, never finalize a CV without first speaking to a couple of friends and family members for their own input – it can often prove to be the pure gold you’re looking for and always 100% unique.

Photo Credit: via Compfight cc

By Lisa Morton

Lisa Morton had her share of Glasgow staff nurse jobs, and has recently turned to blogging and sharing her job-related insights.