When writing your CV, sometimes the hardest thing can be knowing where to start. You can stare at a blank Word document for what seems like eternity, devoid of ideas that will turn the shiny white backdrop into a stunning presentation of your credentials and capabilities.
Sound familiar? Don’t worry, help is at hand. In this week’s blog, I will share nine helpful and potentially overlooked sources of information that can kick-start content creation, setting you on track to achieve a full and compelling CV in no time at all.
#1 Your original job advert
If you have been a diligent and well organised job seeker, you may have saved the original job advert for your current role, the notice that originally caught your attention, inspiring you to apply for your job. This advert should outline the key aspects of your current role, or at least represent the role as it was perceived at that point in time. If your own job advert has gone AWOL, then perhaps a similar role has been advertised since. Dig it out, it may provide some inspiration.
#2 Your job description and person specification
Along the same lines, you may be able to lay your hands on the original job description and person specification that formed part of your original application materials. If your job has evolved over time, you may even have been issued with a revised version. Again, take a look. These documents will give you a framework to use and build your CV content around.
#3 Your annual appraisal
Your appraisal should contact specific and quantified data on your contribution, performance, and achievements. Uncover valuable nuggets, then rework them as required before transferring to your CV.
#4 Case studies and project descriptions
These client and public facing write-ups may be featured on your company website, or in offline marketing materials, and can inspire some golden CV content. If your company is proud of it, and you have had a hand in it, then there’s just cause for featuring it on your CV.
#5 Your company bio
Perhaps you have a company bio, produced for the company website, annual report, marketing brochure, or similar. Revisit these to find out how your company has presented you, there may be some forgotten facts or a new angle you hadn’t thought of.
#6 Your company’s annual report
If your organisation produces an annual report, this should capture the cut and thrust of priorities and activities for the past year. Reading through will remind you of the bigger picture, and your contribution to it as a cog in a bigger wheel. Can you reflect this on your CV?
#7 Your performance targets
If your current performance is graded against defined targets, then these targets can be useful on your CV. Whether your targets are personal, relate to your team, department, or company as a whole, your attainment of them makes interesting reading.
#8 Your predecessor’s profile
I’m not for a second suggesting that you plagiarise someone else’s CV content, but you can spark some ideas by visiting the LinkedIn profile of your predecessor. Which aspects of your role have they featured? What results do they proudly showcase? How have you taken their work forward? What have you done differently?
#9 Industry associations
Industry associations can be an untapped source of information, providing a useful starting point when writing your CV. Many outline the main tasks and responsibilities connected to your line of work, providing a useful checklist against which to benchmark your role.
These untapped information sources are intended to spark ideas that you can lovingly nurture and shape into engaging CV content, peppered with tangible achievements and real results.
Don’t be tempted to transfer dull descriptions of tasks and responsibilities verbatim onto your CV. Instead, work with them, detail your personal contribution, and polish them to create an inspiring representation of your skills and achievements.