Friday, 15 July 2011

Effective CV Writing - where do I start?

Your CV is your personal marketing brochure – it should clearly demonstrate why you are the solution to the hiring problem faced by the employer.

If you bear this in mind as you set out to create or update your CV it will help you with all aspects of writing it – the structure, the content, the language to use and the best layout.
An invaluable exercise to do before you start putting pen to paper on your CV itself is a skills analysis.

Once you have a clear idea of the skills you have to offer, it is a good idea to prepare a skills matrix.   This equates each of your skills to an example showing how you demonstrated it.  You will be able to refer to this again and again throughout the job hunting process – writing your CV, assessing job adverts to see which ones suit you and preparing for interviews.
Influencing     -     Persuaded manager to do xx
Communication         -       Within a team
Organising     -     A collection of grey literature
Next you should think about which of the skills you have are particularly relevant to the job you are applying for – these should stand out loud and clear for anyone reading your CV.
Once your CV’s written, give it to a friend and ask them to pick out your key skills from it.  Don’t give them any hints!  Compare the skills they notice to the list you made of the skills needed for the job – do they match?  If not, your CV needs some more work!!

Remember, your CV is NOT a history of your life.  Your CV is your personal marketing brochure. 
With this in mind, you can see why you should NOT include:

·         Date of birth (age discrimination is now illegal in the UK)

·         Marital status (how does this show you are suitable for the job?)

·         A photograph (unless your physical appearance is a vital attribute for the job in question)

·         Number/ages of children (or pets) (again, does this have any bearing on your ability to do the job?)
Now you have a clear idea of which of your skills and experiences to emphasise in your CV, to match the job or type of jobs you will be applying for.

The next step is to decide on the order of the different elements, so that the most relevant are highlighted.
The key elements to include are:

·         Skills

·         Career History

·         Education & Qualifications

Other potential (optional) elements  you could include are:
·         Profile

·         Hobbies and Interests

·         Publications & speaking engagements

Within each element, make sure that the most relevant &/or recent item is placed at the top.  Within each item make sure that you order the bullet points so that the most relevant information is again at the top.
If you follow these steps, you will have made an excellent start to creating an effective CV which promotes you to the types of employer you are targeting.

No comments:

Post a Comment