First steps to a brilliant CV

“If you call failures experiments, you can put them in your resumé and claim them as achievements.”

Mason Cooley

It may be easy to be a bit cynical sometimes about the true value of a good resumé but CV’s really do count. They provide your future employer with the information they need on your competences and achievements and are the stepping stone to that all-important interview.

Most people assume that a simple “historical” CV will suffice – that is a list of where you have worked and when, with a few bullet points under each job position starting “Responsible for…”. Wrong! What you need in today’s competitive market is something more sophisticated that allows you to sell yourself by focusing on your skills, competences and achievements as well as providing (in overview format) the historical information on your previous employment and educational background. This is known as a “functional CV”. You’ll find the tips and templates in many places on the Internet and in books but here is a link to a great website we like called Business Balls with useful resources.

We summarise for you the most important things to watch out for:

  • Aim for something that is nor more than two pages long.
  • Start with a concise and punchy personal profile.
  • Select 3 or 4 achievements or competences that you want to illustrate and under each one;briefly describe the situation and task related to the achievement or competence; state what the objective of the task was; describe the action you took; don’t be shy about saying what a great result you got.
  • Build in positive “power” words; you did not just manage a project, you managed it effectively; you not only increased sales, you increased them significantly!
  • Summarise your employment and educational background and add in any other relevant information / qualifications.

Our top tip: Bear in mind with every line you write that your future employer knows what they are looking for. How can you realistically reflect back that you have what it takes to do the job well? A close reading of the job description should provide you with all the information you need.

Job searching is often linked to a time of change and transition – working with a personal coach can be a great way to stay ahead of the game.

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