If you follow me on LinkedIn, you'll have seen this week that I've been sharing some
videos with my top tips for creating a winning CV. Nobody teaches us
how to write a CV and it feels like it should be straightforward and
something that we know how to do. However, it a crowded market (few
jobs, lots of candidates) it is necessary to stand out and it's not easy
unless you know how.
I appreciate that not everyone reading this will be looking for a new
job right now. However, I bet you know someone that is and I'd ask you
to forward this on to them so that they can sharpen their edge in their
Top Tip 1 - Apply the 8 second filter
Scary fact: on average, a recruiter or hiring manager will read your CV
for 8 seconds before deciding whether to put you on the "no" pile or
not. That means that you need to sell yourself in 8 seconds! Another
scary fact: if you manage to not land on the reject pile, they will
continue to read for another 30 seconds before deciding if they want to
meet you or not.
You therefore need to make sure that your CV sells you during that quick
8 second scan. Make sure that your strengths, USPs and key
achievements are on the top half of page one and use formatting to make
things stand out (bold, underline, space).
To find out how your CV stands up to this scrutiny, give your CV to a
friend and set a timer for 8 seconds. Ask them what they have learned
about you in that time. If they don't talk about your strengths, USPs
and key achievements then it's time for a rewrite.
Top Tip 2 - Apply the "So What?" filter
Everything on your CV must be relevant. For each line or bullet point
on your CV ask yourself the question "so what?". Is each point
relevant, interesting and selling your candidature for whichever
position you're applying for? If it's not, then delete it.
I strongly believe that CVs should be no longer than 2 pages and should
be easy to read, in a good font and with plenty of white space. This
makes them easy to skim (see tip 1), easy to read and aesthetically
Deleting bits of your career history can seem daunting so it's often
good to enlist the help of someone else with this. Remember that less
is more - you need some stories to tell in interview so don't include
the kitchen sink in your CV.
Top Tip 3 - Focus on Achievements
Back in the day, your CV was a list of your tasks and responsibilities.
It read like a job description. These days hiring managers want to see
your achievements in each role rather than your remit.
For each of your job roles, list out your key achievements using the following CAR model:
Challenge - what was the challenge facing the organisation?
Action - what actions did you personally take?
Result - what was the result or impact on the organisation?
Turn these into succinct and compelling achievement statements in your CV including numbers and timescales where you can.
What to do now
If you are currently working on your CV and would like to investigate
these top tips further then you can access my 25 minute free training here.
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