Try this easy highlighter trick to write a CV that will get you the job you want

Struggling to resume your career after a break? Frustrated by the lack of interest in your CV? Use this simple highlighter trick to write a CV that will get you the job you want. 

Do you know what stops many women returning to work after a career break getting a job? It’s not their lack of current experience. It’s not their career gap. It’s not even the fact they’re a mother. It’s their CV.

And there’s a very simple way to rectify this problem. It’s Lucy Smith from Digital Marketing for Graduates’ Highlighter System. Here’s how it works.

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What is the Highlighter System?

The Highlighter System consists of five easy steps. When you’ve seen a job you want to apply for you:

  1. Highlight the relevant information on your current CV.
  2. Highlight the skills and attributes in the job ad or recruitment brief.
  3. Match up the skills.
  4. Create a ‘Relevant Skills and Experience’ section in your CV.
  5. Write a killer profile that recruiters will love.

Why does the Highlighter System work?

The Highlighter System works because it gives recruiters exactly what they want – making their lives much easier.

It enables them to scan your CV (remember, they can spend as few as six seconds scanning CVs before making a decision whether or not to discard them) and quickly spot the bits that are relevant to them.

It also perfectly matches up the skills and experience you have with what they’re looking for. So if you’re a good fit, they can tell straight away.

How to use the Highlighter System

Here’s how to use Lucy’s Highlighter System step-by-step.

Step 1) Highlight relevant info on your CV

Take two different coloured highlighters. Use one to highlight relevant skills and experience, and the other to highlight irrelevant information (don’t be afraid to be brutal). When you’re done, make a list of all the relevant skills and experience you have highlighted.

Step 2) Highlight skills in the job ad

Take the job ad or recruitment brief you want to apply for, and highlight any skills or experience they list in it. Then make a separate list of the skills and experience you have highlighted.

Step 3) Match up the skills

Look at the two lists (one from your CV, one from the job ad) together and match up any skills or experience that appear in both (even if they’re worded slightly differently). If there are plenty of matches, great! This could be a good role for you. If there are few or none, you may question whether the job is a fit for you, or you need to boost your skills before applying for this kind of role.

Step 4) Create a ‘Relevant Skills and Experience’ section

Take your top five matches and craft them into a new ‘Relevant Skills and Experience’ section for your CV. Lucy advises you to:

“Start by deciding which keyword you will use as your leading descriptor. Ideally you will use the exact same keyword that you have matched from the job advertisement. 

Next you craft your fact with evidence to back up your claim. The rule of thumb here is you write no more than 2 sentences explaining the result of the activity. Consider whether you can add any of these to your fact to make it more believable and give it substance?”

Here’s an example of what one of your bullet points may look like:

Manage social media channels: I managed the Facebook and Instagram feed for a local toy shop for six months. In that time I increased their followers from 150 to 300 – a 100% rise.

Step 5) Write a killer profile

Finally, you need to create a compelling story that sells you in as the perfect candidate. To do this, take your three strongest skills (that matched ones in the job ad) and write an introduction (also known as a personal summary or statement) to your CV.

Let’s say, as an example, your top three skills, experience or qualities are:

  • Social media training.
  • Six months’ practical experience.
  • Marketing background.

Then your profile may look like this:

I am a passionate marketeer with 14 years’ experience working client-side. I recently completed a year-long social media management programme, graduating with distinction. I have worked with a number of social media clients in the last six months, including a local toy shop. 

When you’re happy with your profile, add it to the top of your CV, under your contact details. Below that, add your ‘Relevant Skills and Experience’ section. And under that, add your previous roles and qualifications.

Once you’re done, you’re ready to apply for your job, confident that your CV stands a good chance to getting you noticed for the right reasons. (Just make sure you have a brilliant application letter or email to accompany it!)

Lucy Smith is the founder of Digital Marketing For Graduates, which provides affordable and fast online training to help graduates get the digital marketing job of their dreams.