One of your biggest assets when it comes to job search is your CV. It is a powerful tool if used correctly will open doors for you and get you to your dream career. The problem for many of us is that we are not sure how to use our CV to best effect. We look at some of the main things to take into consideration when it comes to marketing yourself through your CV.
Recognise that your CV is a marketing tool. For many, we see our CV as simply a summary of what we have done and therefore why we would be good at the job in question. However, the recruiter will be looking at your CV and asking, themselves, how your experience is going to make a difference.
Always write your CV as if you were recruiting for the job instead of applying for it. In other words, put yourself in the shoes of the recruiter. What are they looking for? What problem can you solve? Make sure your CV talks what you can do to help enhance the business.
Make your first impression counts
The top third of your CV is prime real estate, don’t waste it. Start your CV with the key things you bring. These ideally should include keywords or a tag line that sets you apart
You should also consider adding your job title, if it’s like the job you’re applying for.
Show what talent you bring
List what you have helped achieve in similar roles in similar roles. Use specific short, but powerful examples. Use numbers and percentages wherever possible as this help bring your examples to life. Have you managed large accounts? Perhaps you’ve managed large teams and brought about a positive change to the way the team work. This type of example will show your leadership skills. Researching the company and the role will help you identify the more specific and relevant examples that you may want to highlight on your CV.
Re-read the advert
This might sound strange or obvious but your biggest gift when it comes to applying for jobs is the job advert. A job advert serves 2 purposes; the first is to attract the people the recruiter is looking for and the second is to weed out people they are not. It gives you clues as to what the recruiter is looking for and what problems they need to solve. Â If there is a person specification attached to the advert, this is pure gold. Don’t just list the person specification in your CV, but think of examples of things you may have done in similar roles that show you know the job entails
While it’s important to state your qualifications on your CV, keep this to just your highest and any job specific qualifications. The recruiter may be keen to see that you have a degree, if that is what is called for but they may not be as interested in the fact that you are a qualified first aider unless this is part of the job requirements.
Dealing with multiple short-term roles
If you have been working in many short-term roles as a temp or contractor, this could make your CV look longer than it should. Rather than list them individually, group them under the heading of short term assignments or consultancy roles, setting out the top achievements you had within those roles.
Keep it short
One of the most common questions people often ask is how long should my CV be?
Your CV should be no more than 2 sides of A4. Not an easy task the more roles you have had over your career. Consider summarising your roles that are more than 15 years ago with just one line including the job title.
Mirror their language
When writing your CV, where possible tailor it to the organisation you are applying to. This includes tailoring your language that that of the organisation or industry. The recruiter will want to think that they are speaking with someone who understands their sector and also who they don’t have to explain everything to. If done well, this is one of the most powerful ways of separating you from your competitors when it comes to job search. This is particularly important if your changing careers as you’ll need to make sure that you can describe previous achievements in and way that translates and is relevant to the new career.