You might think that your CV contains a lot of great information that will sell your skills to a new employer, but does it?
Are you ‘a great communicator who works well alone or as part of a team’? That’s great, but that statement is a classic example of a CV cliché and is virtually meaningless to a recruiter.
What information should you include?
When you are thinking about what information to include, the key things to ask yourself are:
• “Is it relevant to the jobs I’m going for?”
Once you have found a job, read the job description and identify the skills required. Make sure they are visible in your CV. For example, communication:
Do say: “Completed a complex project by communicating with all levels of the business and external partners.”
Don’t say: “A great communicator who loves meeting new people.”
• “Does it show off my skills and how I have used them?”
The best thing to do is show how you have used your skills and what you have achieved, thus showing what you can bring to a new company.
Do say: “Increased sales by 25% through holding one-to-one training sessions with the sales team.”
Don’t say: “Has experience training and developing staff.”
• “Could I copy and paste it onto someone else’s CV?”
If so, then you need to re-think what you have written, as you could have fallen into the CV cliché trap. The information needs to sell you as an individual. If it would fit on someone else’s CV, it probably needs to go.
Do say: “A focused Financial Controller, with over 25 years of progressive experience, managing 500 employees across three continents.”
Don’t say: “A good leader with management experience.”
How do you write the information in a compelling way?
Once you have decided what you need to include, think about how you are going to get the information across. A recruiter is looking for a reason to invite you to interview, so make it easy for them to find all the great reasons to choose you.
If you possess desirable skills, they need to be visible and should be written in a ‘result – how – why’ format within your profile and career history, to demonstrate how you have used them and what you could bring to a new job.
If you have achievements and the figures to support them (for example, increased sales by 50%), they need to be included too.
Your CV should be a personal document that accurately sums up your career history. Space is limited, so if you fill it with vague information, you are wasting opportunities to tell an employer how fantastic you are, so keep your information specific and steer clear of the CV cliché.
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