There’s no getting away from it, your CV is a sales document. Instead of typing the words ‘Curriculum Vitae’ or ‘CV’ at the top, put in ‘Why You Should Hire Me…’ and see how you write it. There’s little point just creating a list of duties or responsibilities; you will not get hired solely because of what you have done, but more because of what you have achieved within those duties and responsibilities, and how you can successfully build upon them and deliver in your next role.
Your whole CV should be your mission statement, your ‘This Is Me’ moment. It may be the door opener, getting you an interview, but when you get in front of a hiring decision maker you need a strong CV to present to. Written well, it can set the tone for an interview, manage expectations and enable you to play to your strengths.
When you write your CV, think about these 4 questions:
What are my biggest achievements?
Forget the CV format; just close your eyes and think of the 5 or 6 biggest achievements that have really meant something to you. They can be things that made a difference, or really stretched you out of your comfort zone, changed the way that the company did something, or required a lot of influencing. Whatever they are, they’ve got to be quantifiable achievements that will give whoever reads your CV an insight into how effectively you operate.
Where have I added value and made a real difference?
Too many CVs reflect a list of duties and responsibilities that look like they have been cut and pasted from a job description. You need to bring the CV to life, give it colour and substance, let anyone reading it know what you have done that really made a difference to your company. It doesn’t have to be a dramatic sea change, it can be something that simplified or enhanced a process that was already there.
What is most important to me about my job?
So many candidates list the ‘biggest’ duty under a job title. Invariably it will be something to do with managing people, or standing in for a senior colleague, or having taken a lead on a project, maybe around recruitment or talent. Whatever is listed first is quite often the thing that means most to you, the key achievement…you need to make sure that it’s relevant for the type of role that you want. There is little point listing management as your major responsibility or achievement if you aren’t looking to apply for a role involving management.
Why am I reading this?
Last question is not for the jobseeker, but for the person reading the CV. They’ve got a vacancy to fill and your CV has come to them, whether directly or through a third party. Why are they reading it? How does your CV fit with what they want? If they have to hunt for the clues and piece it together then chances are they’ll move on to the next one.