Do you sometimes struggle with knowing what to put on your CV that would appeal to the employer? Unsure of how to make your CV stand out from the competition? Read on for tried and tested top tips I have used in helping people become unstuck and to make their CV shine.
A CV is a sales document highlighting your key skills, achievements and expertise to demonstrate to a potential employer you are the right person for the job.
The key thing to remember whenever you are making an application is that you are more likely to be called in for an interview where your skill set matches the job description and person specification. If you are worried about not having some of the skills, where possible reflect on your past experience and identify how you have the transferable skills for a job. For example if you have worked in marketing for a corporate firm your transferable skills are in communication, understanding people, raising profiles and so on. Although you may come from a corporate background using different forms of media and publicising whether to generate income or attract consumer interest can also be applied to say…working for a charity as a fundraiser where this skill set is needed.
What Employers Want
Some people struggle with knowing what to write that will interest employers. Put aside your current CV for now and try this exercise. Close your eyes and think about the company you want to work for. Visualise stepping into the shoes of the employer whose company you want to work for and see yourself as the employer. You have enough money in your hand to hire the ideal candidate. Think about what kind of skills, expertise and attitude would you expect your ideal candidate to have? Jot down all the words as a list. Once you have completed this exercise, compare it against your own CV. Are the words you used in describing your ideal candidate mentioned on your CV? If not, consider tailoring your CV to the list you had created.
Seduce not Sedate
Ensure your CV has enough information that attracts the attention of the recruiter. It is important to keep the CV clear and concise. Some people think that by writing everything on their CV it shows the employer just how capable they are and what they can do. An effective CV doesn’t have to contain every detail, keep that for the interview. Many advertised jobs can have hundreds of applications. Writing sufficient information to generate enough interest for the employer to want to contact you for an interview is what you are aiming for. You want to create enough intrigue to spark interest and not to put the employer to sleep.
How does your experience add value?
One of the most common downfalls I find from reviewing plenty of CVs is that people list their job duties under each job role and do not sufficiently highlighting the benefits or results it brings to the employer. For example, the sentence “participated in raising funds for charity” is vague and is not clear on how you have contributed or added value for the employer. A more impressive sentence would be ‘Actively participated in planning and co-ordinating a cake baking event to raise awareness of prevention against cancer. Captured a mailing list of 112 people and raised funds of £500.’ Where possible, be specific as to what you did and the results of your actions. Where possible, using figures to qualify the investment you bring to a company can help to add weight to a CV.
Moving forward with your CV
Many people worry about whether their CV is good enough or not. My response to this is if it is getting you interviews then it works. If you have been applying for jobs and have not been invited in for any interviews then feedback is vital to identify whether it is your CV that needs improving or if you need to improve your skills in a certain area. Feedback can be a helpful diagnostic to improve your chances of job success.
Josie Hai Diep is a Career Coach, Adviser and CV Writer. She specialises in coaching career changers seeking meaningful and purposeful careers. She has coached individuals and self-employed people in identifying their strengths and values to make successful career changes. She will be delivering a seminar on the 12th July for people who are uncertain about their career direction. Details available here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/career-coach-to-help-you-become-unstuck-in-your-career-tickets-17484634011
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