Redundancy, promotion, change of direction, shoulder tapped, external move, new challenge - these are some of the reasons why an individual may choose to create, dust off or update his/her CV.
Welcome to my blog - it is an absolute honour and privilege to put “pen to paper” and to share some thoughts on what is working for many individuals. Thanks so much to many hiring managers who have helped me with there observations for those of you that are either working on your CV or about to!
My aim for these blogs is to our and simple - to share thoughts and above all to help you!
A little bit about me for those new to my blog. I am an executive coach, to Senior Executives, Directors, CEO’s, General Managers, Leaders and High Potential individuals. Over the last couple of years I have partnered and coached over 380 individuals. Individuals that want to improve. It is an absolute honour to be the #1 Authority in New Zealand on Intelligent Leadership Executive Coaching (a 6-9 month program that is specifically for the above). You will come to see pretty quickly that my purpose is to help every leader be the very best they can be.
Feel free to visit my website www.roudcareers.co.nz you are all welcome. Here you will find, blogs, podcasts, interviews, programs and so much more.
So, back to today’s blog on CV,
Where to start, what to consider and valuable insights that will allow you to create your “masterpiece”.
Trust me, when I say this, you can speak to 20 different people about your CV and you will get 20 different views. What I promise my clients when helping them ignite there CV is this, (as long as what we produce truly reflects you and your gifts then that is all we can ask). How you use your CV will be coming in another blog!
Before you even contemplate putting pen to paper it is very important to consider a couple of key ingredients that will help you navigate this. Knowing where you are going is a good start!
what is the reason for you writing your CV?
is it to be used for a promotion?
will it be going to a search company or recruitment agency?
are you applying to a specific position?
are you considering a board appointment?
is it that you do not want to forget any major achievements you have recently delivered on?
is it for a friend to hand to a manager for “future reference”
who is your “audience” a big part of any CV!!
who is this document going to be read by?
what type of information are they used to reading?
what industry “language” is expected, should you use acronyms?
why am I looking for a change?
fed up with current situation
newly acquired skills be those, technical, managerial etc
CVs or Resume have been around for many years and with all due respect will be around for many more years to come. We are seeing more video request to support your application/CV and I will share a little more on Videos in another blog. CVs are therefore today very important, treat them with the respect they deserve and you will get the results you want.
How do you bring to life your experience (be it one of an established career or you are just about to start out). What areas are potential hiring managers looking at, how long can my CV be? Don’t forget it is you that will be sitting in-front of the hiring manager so it is up to you to know your CV inside out, back to front!
That said an important thing to remember in all this is…………allow yourself to be yourself and express yourself….I know from experience that those that express themselves “authentically” really do get noticed. If you want colour in your CV then put colour into your CV, if you like bullet points then bring bullet points into your CV, if you have a hobby that is not what others typically put down, like friends, family, cooking and it is watch fixing then put it down…….if you want to put down testimonials then put them down……you are your CV and it is so very important to bring this to the surface….. I hope this is making sense!
It might be the very first time you have had to write your CV or it could have been 10 years ago that you last wrote one, what ever the situation there is a wonderful real saying “you only get 1 chance to make a first impression”
So team, some key things first up!
Contact Details, are they up to date, is your mobile correct, are you using your personal email, is your address the right address - does your document link to your LinkedIn page. I will discuss linking to LinkedIn in another blog soon.
As I mentioned in my intro knowing where you want to go is a good place to start when it comes to writing your CV. But if you don’t there is no need to panic, follow my format below and it will be above all a great starting point (let me know how you go, I love to hear success stories from these blogs :)
One thing I ask my clients when they work with me is “who is your audience for your CV?” how do they typically read documents? what amount of information are they used to seeing and digesting - ie, if they are Manager that likes facts - then do you feel writing a 10 page war and peace document is going to grab their attention? Likewise a Manager that likes detail, will a one pager cut it? There is no need to overthink this but please do bear this in mind.
People ask me Nick, should I bespoke my CV for each and every position that I would like to apply for? Well, to me what I see working is this, get one solid CV in place - create a bespoke covering letter or video that, “talks” to the position you are interested in. Yes, 100% you may wish to highlight your achievements/experience that is needed in the position, but to re-write a CV for each and every position, I am not sure this will be best use of your time or get the best result for you personally!
So for a professional layout here is an option that is working: No need to stress “spell check” here which I am sure you all ready appreciate!
Executive / Professional or Career Summary
Key Transferable Skills
Education / Qualification / Industry related Courses
Professional Career Experience (to date)
So the above is a very straight forward layout, I have seen really flash CV/Executive Resume, I have seen wonderful one pagers to a book again no one size fits all but the above should again give you a starting reference point.
Let’s take each of the above points and expand a little on these. If I have missed anything off then I am sorry but again this is working for many!
Contact Details -
to me this is a “non negotiable” It is (extremely) important to ensure your details are correct and up to date, phone number, email, address (if you are including this), link to LinkedIn - you can either carry these at the very beginning or in the “footer” but where ever you chose to place them make sure your contact details are up to date!!!
Executive / Professional or Career Summary.
Working with many clients - I would have to say this is the “most challenging aspect” of creating your own CV. Why? because if you can create that magical opening - just like the start to a movie or the opening lines to a book you are going to grab your audience attention straight away and they will want to read more………..and hopefully they will want to meet you in person to discuss the opportunity (and this is the point of it…..)
Here is something to remember, when considering how to construct this area of your CV
consider you are at a function and someone comes up to you who you don’t know, you have never met him or her before. They turn to you and say something along the lines of
“hey, nice to meet you today, who are you and what do you do” a bit short I know but run with me on this please……….who are you and what do you do - this is really all you need to consider here, remember this is not a 2000 word essay, I feel it needs to be punchy and to the point. mine would look something like this. "
“My name is Nick Roud, I am an executive coach and have the pleasure and privilege of working every day with senior executives, leaders and high potential individuals who want to be the very best leader that he or she can be. My coaching approach is all about results. Results for you and your stakeholders”
Key Transferable Skills
consider 6 - 10 key skills that you have and will bring to an organisation. Try to avoid “buzz words” and focus on those that are authentic to you (that sets you apart from the rest!) try and be high level here, most people put down things like time management! team player! quick learner……so really do consider what key skills YOU bring……..and stay away from the norm!
Not a problem here to list those out, include those that relate to your industry and the level you hold
Education / Qualifications / Industry Courses
consider list here or bullet points, consider the courses that have helped you be the person you are today, go right back to school, university etc. I still feel these are relevant.
Professional Experience (to date)
I think in today market we start with the most recent role and work backwards. Describe the organisation you work for, look at your achievements, look at your responsibilities. If you have a long lengthy history consider drawing a line in your CV and then listing out previous roles. 3-4 pages is a nice length. Dont skip or miss roles out if you have had gaps for personal reasons, family reasons what ever make sure you include this time “out” of the workforce, this will not only elevate any questions on you but CV you should never lie on!!!!
list out topics that are personal to you that may be a discussion point in your interview!
I feel this statement may work best, “References available on request”.
I do hope the above and the above diagram have given you a starting point today.
Think about this for a second, When you sit with a potential hiring manger they may have never met you before - all they can go by is what they have read in a few pages……………you are sitting with them because they like what they see in your CV. It is very important that the connection between the words and you are very succinct. This will make your chances of securing the opportunity far greater.
If the above gets you started on your CV then brilliant I am really pleased, it should give you some structure for your CV and areas to focus in on.
If you are not getting traction, if you are not getting interviews, if you are not reflecting who you are and what you bring on your CV I would like to be of service to you. Feel free to reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call on 021375630
Good luck with your CV, be bold, be yourself and be proud!
Look after yourself,
Nick Roud - Executive Coach
Roud Career Coaching