Writing out a CV and then keeping it up to date can seem like a laborious task, but with the right content and a little strategic thinking, you can set yourself up for success by influencing the type of questioning you’re likely to face.
I’ve read many a CV over the years, both as a Recruiter and as a Hiring Manager, so I’ve seen all kinds of styles, stories and spelling mistakes! There are so many different perspectives and opinions on what makes a great CV; Photo or no photo? Fancy formatting or plain and simple? Compose it myself or trust a CV writing service to do it for me?
Well first of all, in life we are all the authors of our own stories and you wouldn’t want to let anyone else write the script for your life would you? So why let someone else write your CV, which is supposed to tell the story of who you are and what you’re about.
Think of your CV as a cue-card that can influence the interviewer. This means getting them to ask you the type of questions that you want to hear and which will set you up for success by ensuring you get to deliver all your best answers and examples.
So instead of feeling like you’re forever working on your CV, lets consider some of the things that you should be doing to ensure your CV is working for you.
Set yourself up for success!
- The content of your CV is going to set the tone of the questioning in the interview. If you have some good examples from your career which you really want your prospective employer to know about, then make sure they’re on your CV to trigger relevant questions and further exploration from the interviewer.
Be prepared to talk about your CV!
- It may seem obvious, but a lot of people find themselves in an interview situation where they’re stumbling through their career history. You should know the content of your CV inside out – assume the interview panel have not even read it and need you to explain it all to them for the first time.
Use keywords related to your industry.
- Your CV will have more chance of appearing in candidate searches when you use keywords that reflect your level of experience, skills, techniques, systems used, qualifications etc. – a good approach is to mirror language used in the job description.
Put a number on it!
- Don’t just say what you can do, demonstrate it by including data and detail. Instead of saying you helped reduce wastage in your last job, put a measurement behind it: “In my last role I implemented a new process on the production line that reduced wastage by 40% from Q3 to Q4” – now your example has provided some context and an actual measurement within a timeline.
Less is more
- Keep your CV layout simple. Ensure you create a good balance of white space and text. Use clear titles and content, rather than fancy fonts and graphics.
- Review the job description and edit your CV accordingly to link your skills and experience to what the job requires.
Identify key achievements..
- ..to include in your targeted CV content. Highlight any key successes you’ve had; how you’ve added value to an organisation; examples of exceeding expectations on KPIs and any significant projects you were involved in.
- Ensure that the key information is located on the first page of your CV, as the content on the other page(s) may be given less attention.
Clear & Concise!
- Keep statements short, relevant and impactful – keep it to 2-3 pages max. Long paragraphs, no matter how well-articulated, are not going to serve their intended purpose. Review your statements – can they be condensed? Remove any unnecessary text and waffle.
- Bullet points make it easier to navigate your CV – the easier it is for a reader to identify what they’re looking for the higher the chances are of your CV standing out from the crowd.
- You must maintain consistency throughout your CV. This includes the language used, font styles and CV formatting.
Think not what to do with your CV, but think what can your CV do for you?