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Top Tips to Create a Winning CV


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 job search.

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 pleasing.

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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