I was doing a career consultation with a senior finance professional recently. As well as other documents the individual sent over their CV to get my thoughts on it.
Ultimately the CV has one primary objective. To get you through the screening process and get on to the job interview.
These days that screening process may be done by a machine initially. I read recently that 3 out of every 4 CV’s are rejected before a human even looks at them.
Reviewing the CV that the individual had sent over, I could say with confidence to them that it was:
- Visually appealing.
- Well laid out.
- Easy to skim read.
All good you might think.
The trouble was that the CV:
- Didn’t showcase the individual’s skills effectively.
- Didn’t showcase the individual’s experience effectively.
- Didn’t showcase the individual’s achievements effectively.
I suspected the CV had been written by a professional CV writer. The individual confirmed that it was.
The reasons why it’s difficult for a professional CV writer to create a CV for you that really markets you effectively include:
- They are generalists rather than specialists in your field
- They tend to work from a template.
- They rarely spend sufficient time to really get to know your career in sufficient depth to create the CV that markets you effectively.
You really are the best person to write a CV that really markets you effectively. So how do you make this happen?
Set aside time to think and reflect
Before you can create a CV you have to spend time getting the base materials together. A bit like a chef gets all the ingredients together before they start cooking.
These base materials include:
- Identifying technical skills
- Identifying non technical skills
- Identifying all the areas where you have experience
- Identifying your best personal attributes
- Identifying career achievements.
Use a simple but easy to follow structure
I suggested 4 or 5 key sections.
- Professional profile
- Career summary
- Education and professional development
- IT Skills
- Hobbies and interests.
Complete a first draft and then get help to improve it
I don’t write CV’s for clients that I work with. I do however help them to make their CV a whole lot better.
Part of the reason I’m able to do that is I predominantly work with accountants in industry, commerce or public sector. I’m also an accountant and had over 25 years experience of reviewing CV’s.
You may well have others in your network who can help you improve your CV. If you do make sure that you give them clear guidance on what you want them to feedback on.While others can help you make your CV better, ultimately you are the best person to create it.