Career advice, insights & tips for HR professionals
How to write an attention grabbing CV 10/10/2012
Writing a CV can be one of the most arduous tasks when looking for a new career. Sometimes more so than the interview process as your CV is the first impression a potential employer will have of you and without meeting you personally, is the only opportunity to secure you an interview.
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- Would your CV get put in the bin?
- Commercial awareness
- A few tips
- Attention grab
- Ask around
- Different cultures
- Do your research
Would your CV get put in the bin?
In fact a well written CV has been known to take applicants directly to 2nd interview stage on the basis it shows commercial acumen.
Even the most experienced professional can find it difficult to sell themselves on paper. More often than not, you will find that you simply state your job description, expecting this to cover what a prospective employer may be looking for, but in actual fact, will only put your CV to the bottom of the pile, or worse, in the recycling bin.
You need to ensure that your CV covers your achievements including any figure based successes so a potential employer can immediately see the Benefits you would bring to their organisation. In the present climate where HR is becoming increasing commercially driven, it's vital to be able to illustrate the impact you have made within an organisation.
A few tips
Start with achievements and follow with responsibilities.
Keep your job description succinct and relevant. Use bullet points to separate responsibilities.
Use simple words to get a point across rather than using business language, the CV should be easy to read and digest for scan readers.
Include practical examples of projects and always use the most successful.
Give details of who you report into and how many employees report to you.
Keep your CV to a minimum tailored to the specific role.
Always spell check!
Another attention grabber is a well written personal statement or profile. Try not to use the same comments that seem to grace every CV such as “works well on own initiative but also a good team player” as this won’t make you stand out from the crowd! It is important that any statements are substantiated within the bulk of the CV.
One option is to write a summary of your career history to date, including some achievements. It does not matter if these are repeated elsewhere in the CV, as it will only affirm the point and the person reading it will register it more readily.
Or, you can write more of a personal profile, highlighting positive attributes of your personality, but think differently; what is it about you that your colleagues like? Ask around, some points will not only be eye opening but also flattering and may give your CV a whole new feel.
Another tip is to create different profiles for each role and company you apply to. One company’s ethos and environment can be so different to another’s, so when applying for a role, you will need to appeal to those different cultures to ensure they immediately see your potential as a new employee.
This is true of the rest of your CV. An achievement or related job duty may be relevant for one employer whereas another may be relevant for another, make sure you take the time to research the company and change your CV accordingly.
Format is also an important factor, keep the layout simple. Use tables to keep information clean and straightforward and make sure your CV has no gaps in time.
Any breaks such as travelling should be on your CV, as a future employer will only question you once you are at the interview as to why there is a gap, so not only will this alleviate any awkwardness, it will also ensure you are spending more time talking about relevant topics, such as why you are the best person for the role
Do your research
To summarise, the key is to spend time on your CV. Research, then create your CV ensuring you have included achievements and figure based successes, proof read it, allow others to proof read it, read it out aloud and spell check it.
Your CV is the most important creative piece of writing you could ever produce – make sure it’s a best seller.
Amanda Mattocks, Cavendish Maine
Amanda Mattocks, Cavendish Maine