There is no point having a CV if you don’t know what to do with it.
There is no point having a brilliant CV if you don’t take action after you’ve sent it.
Your CV needs to be:
- 2 pages in length – maximum
- Clear font – size 10.5 or 11 max
- Nothing too fancy when it comes to format design (unless you are a design person in which case, ensure you know your audience)
- Be proud of who you are and use positive language but nothing too fluffy. Working well on your own and in a team is neither interested nor needed. It is a given if you’re a project manager that you can do this. Consistently delivering highly-complex and high-value £3m budget projects on time and to specification is far more compelling.
- SEO or keywords are important for CVs as that is what recruiters rely on to find your CV so if you’re a marketing manager in the financial sector, make sure you use those words in your CV. If you’re actually targetting Head of Marketing jobs, use this title somewhere in your CV. Personally, I would put it in the top line of the profile if you can hand on heart say you are a Head of Marketing. Having it in the top line will hit the person reading your CV more readily as it is the first line of your CV after your name and contact details.
- Distinct sections on your CV in this order:
- Your name
- Your contact details including postcode
- Profile – sell yourself in 4-8 lines and make sure to tailor this section for each vacancy you apply for. This is a little tricky with how job sites are set up where you can only upload one CV but if you speak with a recruiter, send a specifically tailored CV to them based on what they know their client wants to see on your CV.
- Major Achievements section – 4-5 bullet points giving evidence as to why you’re the perfect next employee for this role. Use metrics such as 100% deadlines hit and 98% SLA compliance, or exceeded monthly targets by £12k which represented 35% month on month for …. Etc. Give your evidence here and don’t date the achievements. You can use relevant achievements from several jobs in this section.
- Career History – self-explanatory but don’t fall into the trap of writing a job description for each job you’ve had. Make sure there is yet more evidence here which illustrate your relevant achievements in each job.
- Education and Professional Training – self-explanatory and should be about two-thirds down the second page
- Hobbies and interests – only include this section if what you’re going to write here makes you stand and interesting. Telling a recruiter or hiring manager that you like reading and movies don’t add value to your candidacy. Completed the London Marathon in under 4 hours and raised £5k is much more interesting and makes you stand out.
No need to put reference details on your CV. They take up much-needed room for other more important aspects of who you are.
If you don’t get excited about reading about yourself when you read your CV, then don’t expect anyone else to. Be proud of your achievements and use this marketing document called a CV to shout about how awesome you are.
Those with the best CVs don’t always get the job.
Those with the poor CVs only ever get the job if the hiring process relies more on application forms and other hiring strategies. Don’t let yourself down by having a poor CV which you don’t want everyone you know to read and be proud of you also.
Finally, all of this effort going into your CV will be for nothing if you don’t do something with it.
Please don’t be passive and simply respond to job adverts and wait…
Call the recruiter or follow up with the contact on the advert. You would not send an important work document to a client and then sit back and hope they received it, would you?
Personally, I love receiving phone calls from people who send me their CV. I’m glad not everyone does as there are not enough hours in the day. But if they call me, it shows they’re proactive and have belief in themselves, and I am more likely to respond more quickly to their application as I can put a voice to a piece of paper called a CV.