Creating a high impact CV

Before we start, it’s worth noting what a CV is supposed to do so that when you create one it does what it’s supposed to.

Let’s start with what it doesn’t do:

  • It doesn’t get you a job
  • It doesn’t conduct the interview for you
  • It won’t answer every question
  • It doesn’t indicate your cultural fit

So, what should it do?

  • It should create interest
  • It should be relevant and unambiguous
  • It should secure an interview
  • It should form the basis for a high quality meeting

In terms of what we believe is important, we concentrate on content so here’s our simple approach with reasons as to why we know this works:

Start with the basics:

  • Name
  • Address (or town if you’re worried about identity theft)
  • Contact numbers
  • Email address, skype address, LinkedIn profile etc.

Personal Statement (not necessarily required):

A short paragraph on you, who and what you are and what you’ve achieved and can bring to a business. (Make this specific to the company you apply to if at all possible)

Education

Short and to the point if you’re not in Academia and if it generally shows your level of qualification and the subject then that’s usually fine. Every O grade passed and Higher failed isn’t required.

CPD 

Any relevant training and development that you’ve had that is applicable to the role you’re going for will be helpful.

Career to date

Start date – Present (or finishing date) - Company Name – Job Title

Now this is an important part. Describe here the company and or the division you are working for in terms of the purpose of the business (what does it do?), what markets does it serve both geographic and customer. Where is it (and or you) based? How many employees does it have? What is the company’s turnover and ownership structure (all this information is in the public domain usually so don’t worry about confidentiality unless you know that you have to i.e. certain Govt. departments or military etc.)

This is to give context to what you do. People might not know your company and often won’t take the time to look it up.       

Then describe here what you do in the organisation. This should be a short paragraph on what you’re there to do and be clear, concise and easily understood by someone not in your industry or company. Avoid industry or company specific terms and acronyms unless they are either obvious, explained or completely unavoidable. Who do you report to and who reports to you. What team are you on (i.e. Leadership / Product Development / Business Development / Quality)    

Responsibilities  

  • Bullet points of what you are responsible for
  • People
  • Budgets
  • Deliverables

Achievements

  • Measured achievements detailed in bullet points
  • Preferably easily substantiated successes
  • Checkable, reliable outcomes of your inputs

Repeat the process for the last three roles shortening each one by a factor of 50% each time. If the most relevant role to your application is two jobs back then construct it the other way round i.e. First job 25% Second job 50%, Relevant role 100% then reduce again after that.

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