A recent statistic I read said on average only 6 seconds will be spent looking at your CV by recruiters. Therefore it has to clearly answer these questions – Can you do the job? Will you do the job? Are you a good fit? Here are 5 ways to improve your CV.
Buzz words that match the company and describe you
This is a vital way to communicate to the employer that you are a good fit. Go through the company website and job description and highlight key buzz words such as creative, flexible, best in class, intuitive, analytical, empathetic etc. Then bring them into your CV – but only if it is true. If it isn’t then, arguably, the role and company are not a good fit. If they want someone who is detail-orientated and follows procedures and you are an innovative big picture person, then look elsewhere.
Profile – not what you want, but what you offer
This is an excellent way to communicate who you are, what you bring and how you are better than other candidates. For example…
An Accountant and Finance Director with 10 years’ experience of strategically growing and developing the Finance functions of a Tech startup from two employees, with an annual income of £105k, to 160 employees with an annual income of £10m. Versatile and proactive thrives in fast-changing environments anticipating and planning for future growth. With high emotional intelligence is known to bring calmness and clarity, and naturally builds rapport with board members, staff and external stakeholders. A strong, confident and plain-speaking verbal and written communicator explains financial information in a clear and understandable way. Ethical, integral and value-driven, is passionate about start-ups.
Core competencies and key skills – know the difference
When listing your key skills, go through the job description of the role you are applying for and highlight what they want. Then make sure you add these into your key skills and core competencies section. The difference between a key skill and a core competency is your ability to execute the desired skill. For example, I may have the key skill of coaching as I have been on a course, but to be able to say it is a core competency, I need to prove it. Therefore, throughout my CV I need to give examples of how I do it and what the result is. In addition, as above, use metrics where possible.
Coaching: Senior Accredited Coach, 95% of career coaching clients have obtained a new job within a 3 month period.
When I review CVs this is one of the things that is often missing. Yes, you need to state what you do in your job role but it is vital to demonstrate the value you add. So for example:
RALPH LAUREN | Visual Creative Assistant | Nov 2015-July 2019
Worked in a small team to explore, design and implement store window concepts in all flagship and concession stores across Europe. Ensured communication of the brand’s vision, keeping in-line with current fashion trends and annual budget.
- Successfully managed 3 budgets equating to £1.5million
- Built strong working relationships with 10 suppliers based across Asia.
- Co-created and project managed a creative installation that was featured in both Cosmopolitan and OK magazine in Spring 2018.
Explain career gaps
There are numerous reasons for career gaps and they need to be explained, whether it be sick leave, maternity, gap year or unemployment. During your period away from the workplace, it is highly likely you will have been doing something that demonstrates transferrable skills. For example:
Gap Year: This shows organisation, budget planning and experience of different cultures.
Full-time parent: This shows an ability to multi-task, flexibility and high levels of stamina.
Unemployment: Networking demonstrates an ability to initiate and build relationships; submitting applications on time shows you can make deadlines; doing them correctly shows attention to detail as well as your ability for written communication; persisting in your job search demonstrates focus and discipline.
Remember to ask someone else to proofread your CV before submitting it.