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How To Make Your CV, Resume or Job Application Stand Out

Updated on October 7, 2015

How to get your CV noticed – even before the envelope is opened!

There is so much competition for every vacancy that your CV or Resume really needs to stand out from the crowd! You want to make sure you get it exactly right and you put so much care and effort into making sure it is.

But what good is all that effort if they don’t even open the envelope? Read on to find out how to make your CV shout 'Open Me'! Your prospective employer needs to realize you are just the person they are looking for! Do not let your hard work get binned before it gets read!

The Envelope

· Always use a white or cream envelope NEVER use a Manilla (Brown) envelope – if you do, your CV may fall at the first hurdle and not even get opened.

· Always use an envelope made of stock (paper) that is at least as heavy and preferably slightly heavier than the paper you have used for the CV and covering letter you have enclosed and make sure it matches (don’t use a white envelope if you have cream paper inside).

· Always check the advertisement you are replying to very carefully and follow the instructions accurately regarding what you should send by way of application and to whom it should be addressed. If the advertisement asks you to quote a reference number on the envelope, make sure you copy it correctly and place it at the top left hand side of the envelope. Check for the closing date for applications and make sure you mail out your submission to arrive in good time.

· Always use an envelope the same size as the paper you are enclosing so that you do not need to fold it. The convention is to use A4 paper.

· Always post your letter first class, NEVER second class. If you really want to create an impression with your CV, send it special delivery. Although this option is obviously going to be too expensive if you are sending out lots of applications, it is worth considering. Recorded Delivery in the UK is another good option because with both Special and Recorded delivery, you can check online at Royal Mail’s website that your precious CV has, at least, been received safely. If at all possible, hand deliver your submission (in this instance, it is usual to write in the top left hand corner of your envelope the words, By Hand).

· Always write in Black Ink, if possible use a fountain pen not a biro.

· Always put your address on the reverse of the envelope as a return address.

· Address your envelope correctly, the convention for a business envelope in the UK is as follows:

Start writing your envelope so that the first line is about one third of the way across the envelope and start each line in the same place (do not indent). Make sure that your first line will not be obscured by any franking of the stamp by the postal service (and make sure that you stick the stamp on the right way up and straight)!

Line 1: Person’s name, Job Title – for example, Mr D. Holmes, Marketing Manager

Line 2: Company Name in full – for example, Any Business & Co. Ltd.

Line 3: Address Line 1 - Name of the building (if any) – for example, Workwell House

Line 4: Address Line 2 - for example, 24 Successful Road

Line 5: Postal Town (write this in capital letters) – for example, SHERBORNE

Line 6: County – for example, Dorset

Line 7: Postcode – for example, DT9 3QC

Tip, if the business is rural, it may be in a village near a postal town – in this case, write the name of the village at Line 5 (for example Yetminster) and then underneath and before the line where you insert County, write the postal town or Nr and then the postal town – either is acceptable (for example SHERBORNE or Nr SHERBORNE)

What you put inside the envelope

Always try to use really good quality paper 90 gsm or above. Laid or Bond paper always creates a really good impression and will make your submission stand out from the usual submissions on standard printer paper. As mentioned above, whichever paper you choose, make sure that you match the envelope to the paper and use the same paper for both the CV and the covering letter.

Always send a hand-written covering letter, use black ink as with the envelope – the reason is that your letter and CV may be photocopied several times and passed to different people in the company. Black ink photocopies much better than Blue ink.

All this is to be considered before you even start on what you are going to write but at least you are in with a fighting chance if it ensures your envelope gets opened!!

How to Write a Good CV if you send it Electronically

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I would love to hear your comments and suggestions, you can leave a comment for me below.


Submit a Comment
  • Alison Graham profile imageAUTHOR

    Alison Graham 

    6 years ago from UK

    Hi Raphael, the front part of the envelope should be as explained in this hub. With regard to handwriting or typing, handwriting is always best if you can write neatly /have good handwriting style. If whatever you write never looks as good as you would like it to, use a typed letter.

  • profile image

    Raphael Emakpor 

    6 years ago

    Is it petinent use hand-writing application/cover letter format, when the company do not ask the applicants to use either hand-writing or computer typing format?

    And also, what and what will be at the front part of the enelope?

  • Alison Graham profile imageAUTHOR

    Alison Graham 

    9 years ago from UK

    Hi Rami,

    I am glad to hear that you got in touch with the hotel. Hope that works out for you. If you would like me to take a look at your resume, I would be happy to do so - though I am a bit out of practice, having been retired from hiring staff myself for about ten years! Just get in touch via contact Alison Graham (top right, this page), send me your contact email and I will get in touch with an email address you can send it to.

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    Hi Alison,

    You are great person, I have contacted the hotel and explained the issue and the HR coordinator just told me wait for a call. the most important thing is the feeling of doing something will be considered positive and overall I was happy. Is it possible to review my resume and check it, I know you can add something cool. CIAO

  • Alison Graham profile imageAUTHOR

    Alison Graham 

    9 years ago from UK

    Hi Rami, It is never a waste of time to try to make contact personally. If you ring and find out that the job has already been awarded to someone else, ask politely if the manager could give you some tips on improving your application - was there anything in there that he wasn't happy with, anything missing that he would have liked including, was it too long, too short, etc.

    Unless they are really busy, a smaller company manager will usually give you the time to answer these questions, in larger companies, it might be better to speak to the person in HR who dealt with the applications.

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    Hi Alison, I like you ideas and it's classy way thought I would like to know your opinion with my case since I have applied for a job electronically and I been considered but its 12 days ago, do you suggest to call the hiring manager or just wait. Thanks

  • Alison Graham profile imageAUTHOR

    Alison Graham 

    9 years ago from UK

    Ingenira, thanks for leaving your comment, I believe that purchasing a really good envelope and paying attention to presenting the outside of the package absolutely perfectly shows a person's 110% commitment to the application for that job - it makes them stand out from the start - so yes, I agree with you, it shows their personality in the respect that they are willing to try everything to get that particular job - which has got to give them a headstart in the eyes of the prospective employer.

  • Ingenira profile image


    9 years ago

    Good points, Alison. Envelope is the first impression to the propective employer. It showed to a certain extend the personality of the applicants before actually meeting them.

  • Alison Graham profile imageAUTHOR

    Alison Graham 

    10 years ago from UK

    Thank you growithyou for your encouraging comment. Yes it is a problem that so many employers now ask for cvs to be emailed as the best you can do is request a 'read receipt' when you send it - you never know what happens after that!

  • growithyou profile image


    10 years ago from UK

    Hi Alison, I think you give in this hub many useful tips. I agree with you because I have such an experience in writing CV and I think the envelope is very important too. Even if nowadays the most of the CV are sent by e-mail, but what you've written can be useful when it is necessary to bring the CV by hand. Nice work! I'm gonna read more your hubs now. Bye, have a nice time!

  • profile image


    10 years ago

    Interesting hub - some good tips!


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