Your CV – its all a matter of opinions (Part 1)


Standing out in the crowded place that it is the job market is an enormous  challenge.  How do you present that critical information on your CV that sets you apart from your competition?  What format should you use? Where do you get the information you need to understand how best to prepare your CV in order that it reflects what Employers are looking for?  How do you prepare that perfect CV?

The truth is that this is all very much a matter of opinion.  To prove my point, I googled “How do I prepare my CV” this morning and my search returned 1.79 million search results in 15 seconds!  That’s a lot of opinions!  However there are certain fundamentals when preparing your CV that you should at least consider.

What is the CV?  It is a catalyst to enable you to engage in a conversation about a subject that you know better than anyone else, namely you.  So it should be something of which you are intensely proud, that reflects a genuine sense of what you are really about, a document that portrays you in the best possible light.

It is your elevator pitch, your sales document.  You only have that one opportunity to grab the attention of the person who can change your working life.  It should be something that you prepare with great care. It should be the document that in terms of your career requires your greatest investment of time and effort.  Would you consider going in to a critical sales meeting with a key client without taking the time to prepare a killer presentation?  I guess not.  Why then should your CV be something that you knock up in five minutes?

Your CV should ensure you are extremely accessible.  As the Hiring Manager, I want to be able to contact you easily, I don’t want to search high and low to find your email or contact telephone numbers.

Should you have them, relevant qualifications should be listed after your name. You work hard enough to achieve them, you should shout about them. They portray you in a very positive light and create very positive impressions of you as an individual before starting on your career history.  If you are professionally qualified, your CV should be a document that reflects entirely your professionalism and integrity.

Hobbies and interests should reflect subjects or interests that you are genuinely excited by. You never know if the person doing the hiring isn’t an expert on a hobby that you last engaged in 20 years ago. Make sure they are up to the minute, relevant and genuine.

Your profile should be a genuine reflection of your personality, characteristics, attitude and experience.  Think of this as an honest look in the mirror. You don’t need to be an elaborate wordsmith.  In order that you can tap in to the mindset of the person making the hiring decision, thing back to your own hiring experiences and ask yourself what language, words or phrases did you look for in a CV. Do you have those skills and traits?

Instead of opting for “buzz words” think back to your previous roles and consider what the key words and phrases were in your industry, company or responsibilities.  Look for ways in which you can employ these key words throughout your CV.  You want to be talking and using the language of the employer.

Remember your CV is simply a catalyst to a conversation.  However, it could be the catalyst to unlocking a whole new world of opportunity.

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2 Comments

Filed under Careers, interview

2 responses to “Your CV – its all a matter of opinions (Part 1)

  1. Hi Lee, great article as usual. I was going to blog something on this subject myself. I’ve advertised three executive roles in the last month and volume of response means job seekers really need to tailor their CV for each job. One of the main problems at the moment seems to be location. With the recession more people are willing to work away during the week or relocate, BUT do not say this in cover notes! This can not be assumed on the part of the hiring manager. What do you think?

    • Hi Shaun thanks for the feedback, much appreciated and my thanks too for getting involved. I think that anything that causes the hiring manager to have to second guess should be avoided. From my experience if the answer isn’t staring them in the face the assumption will be a negative one. If you are serious about working away or even relocating, spell it out. Don’t give the hiring manager any reason to reject your CV as they will inevitably be faced with a lot of choice, certainly in terms of volume. If the answer they are looking for is not obvious then you run the risk of being ruled out very early on.

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