You never get a second chance to make a good first impression. Your Curriculum Vitae is your first chance to make an impact on a prospective employer and it can get you noticed for all the right reasons.
Hiring managers often have limited time to review CVs before the actual interview, so knowing how to write a CV that works well is critically important. It’s a competitive market and it is essential that your CV stands out.
Your CV is also one of the best methods to passively control the topics discussed during the interview. Interviewers will glean information from your CV to use when forming questions.
CV Writing Tips
- Make sure your CV is neat and easy to read.
- Use plenty of white space and consistent font style and size to make your CV look ‘clean’.
- Be concise and to the point – leave the talking until the interview.
- Always proof read and ensure you have used correct grammar and spelling. Nothing lets a CV down more than sloppy editing.
- Avoid excessive ‘I’ language – too many ‘I’s may create a bad impression. Remember – there is no ‘I’ in team.
- Avoid writing in essay style. If details are difficult to instantly pick out, interviewers could miss critical information. Ever leave an interview thinking ‘I wish they’d asked me about…’?
- Use bullet points to give detail and describe your work in a succinct manner.
- Give a brief introduction into each role that provides context. This is an effective way to deepen the reader’s understanding of your work.
- List 2 – 4 achievements per role. It’s not just about what you do, but what you can do that will make you stand out.
Influence the interview process by including a list of achievements and the results you delivered under each position in your career. This will discreetly steer the conversation and allow you to passively control the interview.
A list of achievements also provides plenty of content for discussion. As stand out statements of accomplishment, they trigger questions that allow you to speak positively about specific projects where you have done well.
Here are some tips for writing your achievements and making sure they get noticed:
- Be brief – no more than 1-2 lines at most per achievement.
- Focus on your results, not the ‘how you got there’. Leave explanations for the interview.
- Ensure your achievements are measurable. Tangible results demonstrate your ability to assess your impact on the overall business, not just your functional area.
- Include significant contributions you’ve made (e.g. sales achievements; cost reductions; turnaround times; process improvements).
- Indicate the commercial success in terms of monetary, percentile or numerical values (e.g. ‘I developed new reporting system that reduced the amount of time compiling data by 5 days per month, saving over $35,000 per annum’)
Remember: It’s not just what you do, but what you can do that will make you stand out in a competitive market.