Your CV – its all a matter of opinions (Part 2)

Another way of enhancing the power of the words you use in your CV is to study the words and phrases your target employer uses in their own job advertisements, website, marketing literature, press releases or financial reports. Look at the mission statement, vision and values. How can you incorporate some of these words or phrases in your CV?

If you have recruited in the past and now find yourself looking for a position, this can be a huge advantage. Think back to those CV’s you liked and those you didn’t? Take the best and worst of what you have seen before and use this as a guide to shape your own CV.

Its extremely important that your CV reflects not simply your experience, but the skills you possess. Start with a blank sheet of paper and brainstorm your skills. Leave no stone unturned.

Ask yourself what skills you feel you have acquired not just in your career but in your life. Can you evidence those skills and talk about them with confidence?

Your CV should reflect the entire range of skills you posses. Your work experience should reflect how those skills have been employed and what benefit those skills have bought both you and your employer.

Your work experience should not be simply a list of “things you do”; it should reflect entirely your achievements. Specifically you should look to tangibly evidence just how your employer has benefited from that which you have achieved.

If you can quantify such achievements with a number or provide evidence of bottom or top line benefit to the company, this will certainly help to strengthen your case.

Include in your work history a brief description of your employer. References to turnover, number of employees and industry type all help to paint a picture of your responsibilities. Don’t assume your prospective new employer knows anything about those organisations that you have worked for in the past.

You should refer to your reporting lines, the size of team you are working in and the number of staff you are responsible for. This again helps to paint a picture of your responsibilities. The job of Financial Controller in a £5m turnover business where you are reporting to the Managing Director is distinctly different to the Financial Controller post in a £500M business with a reporting line to the Finance Director. Similarly managing a team of 3 direct reports is distinctly different to managing a team of 10.

How much should you include in your CV? Employers don’t want to read pages and pages. Ideally your CV should be a two page document with a detailed career focus of the last 5 years. This is the experience on which employers will focus most of their attention.

Consider having a flexible document, one that you can tweak for specific applications. All this takes time and effort, but you are talking about an individual pitch on every occasion.

A one size fits all approach to your job search may not be enough of a catalyst to get you in to those critical conversations that can dramatically shape your future.

It should be a document that is a constant work in progress that is continually updated to reflect your ever evolving skills and experiences.

Ultimately with 1.79 million opinions available on line, there are no right or wrong answers to the question of the perfect CV. Take your time to ensure you produce something of which you can be intensely proud.


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