6 Secrets to a Standout CV

Market Talent logo square AUTHOR

Ryan Kaye

- January 11th, 2022
Candidate Hub

Creating standout CV templates and writing CVs are usually two entirely different things. Whether you’re just out of university, seeking your next finance role, or a new role in the fintech sector, creating CV templates that stand out is key to being asked in for an interview. Happily, we have six tricks up our sleeves on how to nail yours.

We’ve already covered how to prepare for your remote interview, but here are six of our top tips on how to make a CV stand out:

1. Keywords are key

CV keywords

Rather than including keywords in every sentence, just bear them in mind when you write a CV. Many employers use keywords to source candidates and usually base them around the position they’re recruiting for together with the responsibilities and desires concerned with it.

If a hiring manager decides to use an applicant tracking system (ATS), then integrating keywords is even more critical. To make sure you’re cutting the mustard, be sure to double-check the company website and job description to see what phrases and words they’re using. This will give you an idea of what the employer may be seeking.

For example, you can take advantage of synonyms to cover a raft of varying job titles, then scatter them throughout your CV. For instance, ‘HR and Recruitment Administrator’, ‘Finance and Accounting Clerk’, and so on. Be as finance-specific as you can with your language and don’t be afraid to expand on any qualifications you have.

You could use terms like payroll, Excel, finance systems, and attention to detail. By doing this, not only are you demonstrating you’ve appreciated what the position requires, but you’ve also made it less tricky for hiring managers to see how you fit in with the job spec.  

2. Your USP sets you apart

The finance sector’s competitive. In other words, when you apply for a job, you’re competing against multiple candidates with similar abilities and expertise. 

Find your USP – one that distinguishes you from other applicants. Perhaps you’ve done voluntary work, have a blog, or have been involved in extra-curricular activities. 

Use specific acronyms and terms to make your USPs recognisable. If you include a catalogue of technical USPs, include ‘Excel’ or finance-specific terminologies like UK GAAP or SOX. 

And finally, mention your soft skills – so allude to your ‘exceptional communication’ and ‘strong analytical skills’. Match these to the requirements highlighted in the job description. 

Remember to include links to blogs, portfolios, or anything else that shows your skillset and makes you stand out from the crowd.

3. Pay attention to your personal statement

CV writing

The first thing your employer looks at when they launch your CV is your personal statement, so getting it spot-on the first time is crucial if you want them to read all of it.

First things first, state who you are, what services you provide, and your ambitions – consulting the original job description for help pinpointing the particulars of the skills the employer is seeking.

Standout CV templates are the unique ones. So, make sure yours sets you apart from everyone else’s. Sure, you can waffle about how much you can bring to a company using ambiguous adjectives – however, you want yours to go above and beyond. That means spotlighting your most attention-grabbing, inspiring, and appropriate expertise and capabilities. As with most aspects of banking and finance, figures are essential.

The secret? Support your statements with examples, but refrain from overdoing it. Summarise the specific skills and expertise that make you great for the job. However, keep it snappy and succinct.

For CV success, we suggest writing roughly four or five lines (or 150 words).

4. Make your descriptions active 

Unique CV templates

It isn’t difficult to claim you have ‘advanced numerical and analytical skills’, but backing it up? That’s tougher. 

You can ensure you’re offering palpable examples for every ability you mention by using the ‘star method,’ which stands for Situation, Task, Approach, and Result.

As soon as you’ve categorised the above four terms, express this into a concise key point that encapsulates how you accomplished the result and how your actions tackled the original mission and job.

By doing this, you’ll convey the key points plainly and succinctly within the job details part of your CV.

What’s more, you’ll demonstrate that you can exceed your previous duties, so you can cover achievements and results – which, as we see it, shows what you can do more successfully.  

For instance, merely stating you ‘did bookkeeping work’ doesn’t give a lot away to an employer. However, saying something like, ‘Met with a client who was behind on their VAT returns. While carrying on to accomplish all other responsibilities, I worked to successfully file five years’ worth of returns less than two months on from an initial meeting’ is a far better way of giving more context to your skills.

5. Adapt your CV to the job

unique CV

Rather than being a ‘one size fits all’ document, your CV is a ‘one-off’. 

So, avoid sending the same one each time you apply for a job – it won’t impress a would-be employer. 

Instead, tailor your CV in line with the position you’re going for. Use the company info, job spec, and other such details from your research to help you.

Don’t forget: your CV is a chance to boast about yourself through accentuating your experience and talents. If the skills you include aren’t appropriate for the job, the employer won’t see how you match up.

Of course, it’ll take a little longer, but it’s much better to fire off four unique CV templates that stand out than sending thousands that don’t precisely exhibit your worthiness.

6. The staples of a great CV 

Remember the basics, otherwise, your CV won’t stick out.

As well as being mindful of the above points, we suggest writing a CV that’s short, sharp, and on the button (don’t write anything over two pages). And always read over your CV thoroughly before sending it out, so there aren’t any grammar slip-ups or errors.

And last but not least, your CV layout should be easy to understand, stating your personal statement, work experience, education, accomplishments, and extra-curricular activities in a rational order.  

Want more CV info?

An employer spends only seven seconds shortlisting or discarding a job applicant’s CV. So, it’s vital to write a crisp, clear-cut CV if you want to land that all-important interview. As part of the recruitment process, we give all our candidates CV advice, too. Give us a call on 020 7971 7700 or drop us a line at