Your CV is the first thing most potential employers will see, long before they ever get to meet you.
It’s your chance to tell your amazing story and why you are the best fit for their company.
Sounds easy right?
Not so fast.
1. Answer the Why first.
Think of your CV as your elevator pitch.
Why should they pick you over all the other applicants?
What can you say in the first paragraph that will keep the employer reading?
In reality, your CV may get about 90 seconds of their time so you have to start with a big bang to get more attention.
Try to get your message across immediately
Use bullet points
Pick your most valuable result from the previous role and shout about it.
Small nuggets of information about achievements you are proud of.
What they meant to your previous employer.
2. Focus on Value.
Before you submit any CV make sure to focus on the value you bring as a potential employee.
Pick the main requirements from the job description and highlight why you are a good fit.
If you are applying for a Sales role then detail how and where you used your skills to enable growth.
I managed a team of 10 Sales professionals across Europe delivering 20% quarter over quarter growth. This enabled the company to expand and grow into new markets. I also increased net new customer growth by 15% resulting in an extra €2 million in Sales revenue.
Or this one for a development manager role:
I delivered 10 new projects to completion while managing a team of developers and support staff. These projects were integrated into company processes resulting in better response times, 30% lift on NPS and €1 million in new revenue.
These snippets of information allow you to get to the point.
Showcase your strengths and highlight where you can add immediate value to the new role.
3. Showcase your wins.
You need to highlight some of your wins in the company.
What did you do that added to the bottom line or improved company performance?
Better performance leads to better company results – by highlighting how you can add to this gives you the edge.
Try to avoid using ‘we’.
Remember this is about the value you can bring to the role – not your team.
I rolled out a new CRM system that streamlined sales operations, resulting in a 10% growth in 12 months.
Or this one:
I took over as marketing manager and increased Brand reach by 200% while reducing spend by 30%.
These are tangible results that show how effective you can be and the value you bring as a resource.
Match skillset to Job Description.
Every job has a list of requirements.
These may focus on experience or be very specific, depending on the role.
The key here is to study the job description and pick out the most important points and tailor your CV to suit.
Writing a winning CV comes down to you being able to display in a couple of pages why you are the best person for the job.
Picking the main points in the job description and writing your CV around them gives you the best chance to get an interview.
Remember that 90 seconds I mentioned earlier – that’s all you have…
If you can align your skills with the requirements and present them in an easy to digest way then you are in.
If the open position is for a Senior role then put your strengths in this area to the top of your CV.
If it is a technical role then outline your key competencies – all supported by delivered results.
5. Be Factual.
Everything you put in your CV must be factual and you should be able to stand over and back up everything with proof.
Being creative with your abilities will get you caught out and is no good to anybody involved.
Detail cost savings and percentages as facts but be mindful of company confidentiality clauses.
6. What Else.
The final section of your CV is a few sentences about yourself. This is a quick personal representation of who you are.
You should list out hobbies and associations or group memberships. This allows potential employers to build a connection with you. It also shows how you conduct yourself outside of work.
Personality traits will dictate if you are a good fit for the company culture so be honest and open here.
The last thing you need to add to your CV is Referees.
Everybody from the recruiter to the HR manager will look for these so add two options in at the bottom of your CV.
Name, company name & position is all that’s needed. Make sure to let them know they may be getting a call from a potential employer.
If this option is not available to you then put ‘Referees available upon request’.
7. Before you Submit.
The final thing you need to do before you hit submit is to proofread your CV. Check for grammatical errors and typos.
Read it a few times, make sure it flows well and answers all the points in the job description.