Image courtesy of OhhhKaye
If your job search is a little slow, it could be that your CV needs a little more oomph to catch the reader’s attention. Here are five easy-to-action tips that you can implement right away, positioning your CV for the ‘Yes, must call’ pile.
Talk to the hiring manager from the very first line
Instead of making your CV all you, you, you, make it about what you can do for your future manager. Use this approach throughout your CV, starting with your profile at the top of page one. This compelling intro is the equivalent of your elevator pitch, and its job is to show the reader ‘what’s in it for them’. Your profile needs to grab attention from the get go, so your opening gambit should speak directly to your reader’s problems and goals, making it clear how you fit and what you can deliver. The more specific you can be, the better, demonstrating that you know your target and are ready to meet their needs.
For example, if I was presenting a CV to a prospective client who happened to be an area manager for a supermarket chain, I could write something like: ‘I am a professional CV writer who positions area managers to secure regional director roles with leading food retail brands’.
Know your proudest moment and feature it
If I were to ask you what you are most proud of in your career to date, I’m pretty sure you’d have a story to tell. That story should be on your CV. You can emphasise different elements depending on your job target, but do use that story in some way. When asked about it at an interview, your face will light up, your enthusiasm will be evident, and your value will be clear.
Feature easy-to-read bullets with rhythm and punch
Bullet points on CVs often lack consistency in terms of structure, length, tense, and language. Although the goal shouldn’t be carbon copy, repetitive lines, a consistent writing style can give your CV rhythm, making it easier to read and interpret. One way to achieve this is to start each bullet with a power verb (e.g. transformed, aligned, convinced, collaborated, negotiated, shaped). These words convey your active and dynamic contribution in each scenario and across your career as a whole.
Another way to add rhythm to your CV is to consistently front load your bullets with outcomes and results. Rather than making your reader wade through words, craft bullets that share the achievement first and the action/method second. Use this approach consistently, and your value will leap off the page, even when it’s read at speed.
Place your career in context
Our careers don’t develop in isolation; they evolve in a context. Drawing this context into your CV can help recruiters and hiring managers to understand more about you and what you can offer. Under your job title, company name, and dates of employment add brief details of each organisation’s purpose, size, scope, and success. You can either give details for the company as a whole or a particular division, if more relevant.
As an example, you could write:
Global Food Retailer | 7,700 Colleagues | 203 Stores in 12 Countries | 2016 Group Turnover: £5.6m
You can usually source this kind of data on the About page of the company’s website or at the bottom of press releases under the site’s Media or News sections.
Demonstrate ongoing learning and development
Industries and skills don’t stand still, so a potential employer will be interested to know how you plan to evolve. Show an ongoing commitment to learning and development by detailing professional memberships, attendance at industry events, or involvement in relevant groups. If you blog or tweet about your role or field, consider featuring a link to relevant social profiles or sites, providing they are professional and support your career objectives.
Following these five tips will add instant energy to your CV, showing you as someone with the desire and potential to meet your target employer’s needs. For more CV tips, download Ace Your CV, Elevate Your Career: A 5-Step System to Increase Career Confidence, Build Professional Visibility and Open Interview Doors today.