Create a cracking CV for 2018

Friday 05 January 2018
Standing out from the crowd is no easy task, a CV gives the application just a few seconds to make a lasting first impression with both external and internal recruiters.  
It's essential that a CV highlights a candidates best and most relevant achievements, skills and career highlights.
This simple to understand tip sheet will help you create a winning CV for 2018 applications.

Here are 7 tips, to make sure your CV stands out in 2018: - Think Punchy, precise, standout and WOW factor!

 

1. Write to the future, not the past. A CV is a marketing document, not a historical record. Your current career goals should always determine which parts of your story to highlight and which to minimize.

The key is to give heavier emphasis to the credentials, experiences and accomplishments that relate to your objective and less to things that don’t.  Older job seekers can briefly summarise their earliest work experiences without dates (if you choose this approach, omit your college graduation date). If you hope to make a career shift back to something you did years ago, note that prior experience prominently in a “Related Experience” section that comes before other Professional Experience.

Bottom line: Put the focus where it belongs.

 

2. Integrate critical keywords. Nearly every company and recruiter uses keywords to identify qualified candidates. If you don’t use the right ones, your CV will be overlooked by the people sifting CV’s — And using the wrong keywords can date you (for instance, “personnel” is old school; the right phrase is “talent acquisition”). So swap out your old lingo for the current language of your profession.

To help identify your most critical and up-to-date keywords, consult online job postings, the jobs and “About Us” areas of company websites, LinkedIn Group conversations and social media sources.

 

3. Showcase your “wow.” What are the top things you want employers to know to prove you’re an impressive candidate? — a quick hit of information that highlights your achievements and that shows up prominently throughout your CV – BANG!

To make your “wow” pop off the page position one “big wow” at the top, either above or below the headline that boldly states who you are (“Award-Winning International Sales Manager”).

Also, lead with a powerful “wow statement” when explaining your past jobs. For example, “Increased enquiries by 350% and doubled revenue over prior year x by y %.” Then, provide a brief write-up of your other responsibilities.

You should also list “wow content” under a separate category, such as an “Honours and Awards” or “Media Mentions” subhead.

To help hone in on your “wow” factor, ask yourself the following questions and then make sure the answers appear in your CV.

When have I been first or best?

What is the No. 1 thing I achieved in each position?

Which of my achievements have the most impressive numbers?

What have you achieved that other didn’t or couldn’t?

 

“When you include an Objective, you’re telling employers what you want from them and, frankly, they don’t care,” That’s why the summary section — a short professional synopsis that highlights your years of experience, job history and major achievements — has largely replaced the Objective in modern CV’s – it’s about your and not what you are seeking.

 

5. Write “lean and mean.” Every word must count in a modern CV. Here are a few tricks to “leave the muscle, lose the fat:”

Quantify your achievements. Numbers provide a measurable indicator of your performance, so when possible, use figures, pounds £’s and percentages % to add credibility to your CV.

Just don’t overdo it: mix numbers and narrative to create a compelling read.

Add context to help employers better understand the magnitude of your accomplishments. So instead of “Increased revenue by 56%,” say: “Increased revenue by 56%, triple the company average.”

Start every paragraph or bullet point with a strong action verb. Not sure which words pack the greatest punch?

Eliminate filler words and phrases. Terms like “responsible for” or “duties include” don’t say anything and dilute the power of your CV.  Others, like “references upon request,” state the obvious.  When possible, ditch little words like “a” “an” and ”the” to make sentences tighter and shorter.

 

6. Improve your CV’s skimmability. We all skim more than we read, so to reward that reading style: Write short paragraphs of three or four lines at most. (If you have more to say, create a paragraph plus a bullet list.) Also, add white space between paragraphs to provide “breathing room” and use headings and subheads to segment and introduce information.

 

7. Punch up the design (cautiously). Colour, shading, boxes, charts, tables, images and icons can be valuable additions to your CV in some industries (like D&B or Medical), helping to make it stand out. Just make sure your design matches industry norms for your field.

 

 

CV Layout example:

  1. Name and current job title – font size 14

  2. Exec profile of you and what you’re about

  3. Keep the layout and font’s consistent – font size 11 for everything else

  4. Current role with dates, title and a ‘2 line’ summary of company and aim of the job

  5. Key achievements in bullet points, make them measurable and WOW

  6. Key responsibilities, people should know the basics, so highlight the key stuff

  7. Repeat for each role

  8. Include your educations and training

  9. If there is room, make it personal and include your interests and hobbies

  10. Never put references on request!

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