How To Make Your CV Stand Out During COVID-19

In Human Resources

Do you want the job of your dreams? Are you wondering why you're top in class and you're still not able to get a call back or get recruiters to respond to your email? Well, I got news for you.
Ben Lee Rootstrap,
CRO & Co-Founder

I dropped out of college. I did two years of Loyola Marymount and I wound up landing a six figure job for a top software development company in a global recession after 2008. Is possible, and that's what we're going to be talking about today.

I know it's never been more competitive. Right now there's 26 million people out of work and the numbers are going to keep growing, but guess what? It's a great time to be a creative. A person who's a generation Z and millennial, who's willing to work, hard worker mode, has the tools, has the communication skills and wants to level up their game.

The truth is we live in a competitive world right now, where school and gradesaren't going to put you to the top of the list. They're just not a priority anymore. There's way too many people applying for the same positions. But you guys share real experiences and it really comes down to one thing.

The CV

Today I'm going to be teaching you how to create a badass CV or resume to make any CEO, HR, or recruiting manager respond to your inquiry. First off, make sure your CV is well organized and looks very, very fresh. So what does that mean exactly? Well, let's take a look at example.

I like putting a clear avatar in there using some colors, but not making it too gimmicky. Showing your recruiter or your hiring manager that you've got good use of typography skills that you know how to do design if needed. And most importantly, you have no spelling, grammar mistakes. That is so crucial. That is a sure way to not get a call back. Make sure everything is super tight. And if you don't have somebody that can do copywriting or proofing for you, find someone on the internet. Make sure there's no mistakes. So I like to have the name in the headline. The avatar, the title or the position that you're looking for.

Education should be very clear. Don't be afraid to brag a little. Show some numbers. Show GPA is top of the class awards. You got all that good stuff. Relevant experience is very, very important and then actions, skills and where they can find you on social media.

Every good recruiter or hiring manager is going to social stock you, so make it easier for them and just list the links where they can check you out.

Tangible examples

The next most important thing is using tangible examples. What does that mean? What is tangible examples mean? Use real numbers. Let's say you work for a company, you help them grow. A hundred percent of revenue mentioned that a hundred percent revenue. Let's say you work for a social media company and you help them grow their clients is fan-based by 50% and 10,000 followers. Make sure to mention that. Let's say you help your dad's business generate $50,000 in sales out one suburb. Make sure you mentioned that $50,000 in sales. People love to see numbers and guess what? If the numbers don't look that good, don't be afraid to round up. You know it's, it's okay. Everybody embellishes a little on the CV. You're not lying, you're exaggerating just a bit, which everybody does. Trust me.

Have you ever heard the saying kiss? Keep it simple, stupid. This applies to your CV more than anything. Keep it simple. Remove the crap that's not relevant and don't be afraid to keep different versions around for different positions. What do I mean by that?

My good friend Mickey is a complete rock star and a lot of different things, so she does video editing. She seems, she models, she acts, she can write, she does maybe too much if she's trying to apply for a sales or marketing job, so my feedback to her was when she was trying to beef up and tighten up that CV, pull out all the stuff that's not relevant. If you're trying to apply for sales or marketing job, just include the stuff that's going to be relevant. This stuff that involves content development, content curation, video editing, but all this stuff that's not relevant. Cut it out because if you put too much stuff that's not relevant, people are going to think you're too distracted and you're too all over the place, and you're going to have difficulties focusing on one very specific thing.

Another thing that happened recently with one of my friends in Las Vegas, Frankie, who is an amazing, brilliant creative, he's founded multiple companies. Him and I have partnered together on different businesses. He has too much in his resume that speaks to his entrepreneurial background, so what did I tell him? Simplify, remove all the stuff that's not relevant. If you're applying for creative director, they don't want to see that you founded three blockchain companies and two gaming companies and worked on all these things, so trim down the stuff that doesn't need to be there and keep it simple stupid. Remember that.


Now let's talk about my favorite thing that is probably one of the most important things you've got to learn how to adopt. Storytelling. Don't be afraid to tell a story. Everybody loves a good story. Now this is going to be applicable to a job interview as well, but in your CV you could put little anecdotal bites of stories. You could talk about how you did video editing when you were younger. If you're trying to apply for a videographer, you worked at MTV and you intern, you work closely with the CEO. You went from rags to riches. Tell something that's inspirational, that's going to make you stand out. People read so many resumes when they work in recruiting or HR, so it's the little nuggets like that that really stand out, so make sure you keep it clean. Make sure you keep it simple and don't be afraid to tell a good story.

Cover letter

Okay, now the cover letter. The cover letter is a critical piece to getting noticed. Why? Because if you don't have a good cover letter, there's a good chance an HR person or recruiting manager is not even going to open your CV. Yes, you were right. They're not even going to open your CV. If you've got a crappy cover letter, it cannot be copy and paste research. The person who is likely to look at that cover letter, understand the problems that you could be helping them solve stuff that's going to be relatable and relevant. Why you think you're going to be a good fit, why you have a project in your portfolio that's similar to something they've worked on.

All of these little things show the person who's reading the cover letter that you're prepared, you're well-researched, you put time. It's not some boiler plate trash that you copy and paste it to a hundred other people. Spend time, make it look custom, make it look personal. Here's an example of a great cover letter that we got. In this letter the person includes both myself and our director of marketing who applied for a position. He mentioned that he briefly met me at an event. He's creating some type of relatable moment that's very important. He talks about running a freelance agency similar to what we've done. He talks about how he's got work and projects that are similar. He's got empathy, which shows he's got high EQ. Very important EQ. You drop EQ on any single cover letter. You got boss level points to the moon. Nobody's dropping EQ. You can drop EQ. That is a good thing.

He mentioned that he lives close to our office. All these elements show that this person is not only capable and qualified, but he's done a lot of research and that he put this letter together from scratch. He didn't just take something that he copied and paste it.


Finally don't use complicated jargon. Remember, keep it simple stupid. That applies to terminology. Don't use stuff to try to sound smart. Don't use acronyms, don't use fancy words. Don't look like an idiot. People get bored easily when they're reading a hundred resumes. If they have to Google some acronym that you're using or some term that's not going to be familiar to a typical recruitment team or recruit manager, remove it and take it away. It's not that important anyway. I much prefer simple language and simple terms or trying to impress me with your fancy jargon bullshit. So keep it simple. You also don't want to make yourself look smarter than the recruiting manager because then they'll definitely will not call you back.

So in closing, that's my advice. I've received tens of thousands of CVS over my lifetime. I've been in the restaurant nightclub industry, I run software development companies, I've had a gaming company. I get resumes and CVS every single week, and I know what works and what doesn't work. These are my tips for you. I'm always grateful to help you guys out, or a member of a college dropout like me.