Writing a CV, let alone a powerful CV, has to be one of the most stressful parts of the job search process. However, updating your CV and tailoring it to the role you are applying for is worth the effort, especially if you want to get to the interview stage.
Your CV is your number 1 marketing tool and an opportunity for you to show a potential employer why you are the best person for the job by sharing your skills and experience and how you can add value. And you’ve got 8 to 10 seconds to capture the attention of the Hiring Manager or recruiter – make it count!
So how do you write a powerful CV?
I’m not talking about fancy fonts and formatting or even a photo – (photos are an absolute no unless you are a model and need it for your portfolio). Writing a compelling CV is about positioning yourself and sharing with the reader who you are, why you do what you do and how you do it. And you do this by highlighting your strengths and achievements, sharing who you are as a person, what lights you up, and, most importantly, what you can bring to the role and the organisation.
An experienced recruiter can review a CV in seconds and know the CV they are reading is the right fit for the role. Make those 8 to 10 seconds count!
Tip 1 – Get a copy of the position description
Get a copy of the position description, don’t just rely on the job advert. The position description (PD) explains nearly everything you can expect in the role. From highlighting the role’s purpose to providing the inherent skills and experience required. Go to the Company’s Careers Page and search for the PD under the positions vacant section. Or contact the internal recruitment person and request a copy. Agency recruiters will always provide a PD.
Tip 2 – Align your CV. ALWAYS!
Generic CVs will only get you so far. When you align your CV to the role you are applying for, you are specifically sharing your experience and how you can add value based on the requirements of the role. The reader wants to know what you do/what you have done and how you can add value to their organisation. They want to see that you have done what they are wanting.
And please, don’t copy and paste your current/previous PD. It doesn’t tell the reader anything and is not a true reflection of your daily work.
Tip 3 – Your Career summary/career objective
The good old Career Summary, Career Objective section – this is prime CV real estate, my friend!
This is where you introduce yourself to your audience. This is where you share who you are, what you do and why you do it. This is your ‘hook’. You want to engage the reader. Consider changing the heading to ‘About Me’.
Keep it short and punchy. Max two paragraphs. Include themes mentioned in the job advert/position description – the ones that sing out to you and are aligned with your skills, experience and values.
Tip 4 – Share your achievements
Add three to four achievements under each role. Ensure your achievements are relevant and specific and highlight how you added value. Think – process improvements, automation, time efficiencies and cost efficiencies. For example, After reviewing existing processes, I developed and implemented a new marketing strategy that reduced operating expenditure by $500k per annum.
An excellent way to do this is to write your achievements in the ‘STAR’ format – https://www.indeed.com/hire/c/info/star-interview-format
The reader can see what you did, how you did it, how you have added value, and how you could add value to the role and the organisation. As an added bonus, writing your achievements in the STAR format prepares you for your interview – you already have a great example you can share and elaborate on during the interview.
Tip 5 – Steer clear of fancy fonts and formatting
Spending time creating a ‘pretty’ CV with lots of fancy fonts and even more fancy formatting is not worth your effort unless formatting is an inherent requirement of the role.
Simple font and formatting are all that is needed.
Tip 6 – Bonus Tip – Spellcheck. Spellcheck. Spellcheck.
It’s a no-brainer! Press the spellcheck button before you submit your CV. Consider running your CV through Grammarly http://www.grammarly.com – it will check your spelling and grammar!
I want you to succeed and get the role you want. But, if you aren’t sharing with the reader who you are, why you do what you do and how you do it, then you will just keep getting that dreaded rejection email.
Spend time crafting a powerful CV; you, too, will be invited to interview and land your dream role.
Grab a copy of my free Super Simple CV template – DOWNLOAD HERE NOW!
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