I’m sorry; I tricked you: there is no magic formula for the perfect CV profile.
A strong profile is as individual as you are and as unique as the opportunity you are pursuing. Your profile’s job is to show how your experience, skills, and approach can meet the needs of a particular employer and role. Therefore, it stands to reason that the words you present and the way you present them cannot be wholly governed by a one-size-fits-all formula.
But. Here’s the thing. A profile is not an easy thing to write. It’s hard to know where to start. Confused and frustrated, people often fall back on stale clichés and empty phrases, rather than writing anything original and informative that compels the reader to call them. So, if you are battling with your profile, staring at a blank screen or a wastepaper basket full of failed attempts, this approach might just help.
Use the following ‘formula’ as a starting point to get some words down on the page, then tweak and refine it until you find the words that fit. Hell, even scrap the whole thing once you have written it, but, hopefully, the process will move you forwards in working out the words that can do your skills, experience, and aspirations justice.
Line 1: Outline who you are, who you help, and the problem you solve
In line one, get straight to the point, stating who you are in professional terms, what kind of company, person, or group you help, and what problem you can solve for them.
Starting with who you are, describe yourself in the terms used by your target employer in their job advert, or use a job title already held by someone in that organisation, providing it’s one you aspire to and are comfortable assuming. Describing yourself in their terms is a good first step to demonstrate a fit.
Thinking about the problem your target employer needs you to solve for them. What has motivated them to pay good money to advertise and fund your target role? What is it they need you to do? What benefit can you deliver? The job advert may hold a vital clue, or personal insight may help you pinpoint the return on investment you can bring.
Example: I am a customer-focused sales assistant who helps discount retailers to boost sales and market share.
Line 2: Confirm where you have already delivered the results promised in line 1
Line two is about proving what you have said in line one. Where can you evidence this experience? Where have you already delivered those results? Or, if you haven’t already, how are you qualified to do it, how do you know you can?
Example a: I have five years’ experience in high-volume, fast-paced retail environments, supporting the profitable operation and growth of Pennyland’s out-of-town stores.
If possible, add numbers to show a job well done; this can help bring your achievements to life.
Example b: Over the past five years, I have helped to double turnover from Pennyland’s Braeburn store, growing sales from £1m to £2m per annum.
Lines 3 and 4: Add depth
In line three (or lines three and four, depending on how much you want to say), add depth by explaining your unique approach, skills, or expertise. The content here can reflect target job requirements as outlined in job adverts or person specifications, or at least should speak to the target employer’s needs.
Example a: Flexible and proactive, I bring a can do attitude to every task, whether I’m required to serve customers, process payments, or improve store presentation.
Example b: Committed to service excellence, I always go the extra mile to welcome and delight customers, helping my employer to attract and retain a loyal customer base.
Line 5, Option 1: Demonstrate communication and networking skills
Here, you could demonstrate your ability to communicate and work with different stakeholder groups, giving tangible examples if possible.
Example: A confident communicator, I am at ease whether reporting to store management, resolving customer complaints, or training and motivating small teams.
Line 5, Option 2: Demonstrate commitment to learn and progress
Instead, you could conclude your profile by showing your ongoing commitment to learning and development. This could be useful if you have some, but not all, of the required qualifications for your target role.
Example: Committed to my ongoing professional development, I have a level 3 NVQ certificate in customer service and am now keen to achieve my level 4 NVQ diploma.
So, there you have it. Hopefully, this process will give you a starting point from which you can create a compelling and unique CV profile.
A final word of advice: Read your profile aloud before finalising it. Its job is to represent your offering and ambitions, so it really should sound like you, and you should be comfortable hearing as well as reading it. Hearing your words, rather than just reading them is the best test.