How to ensure your CV avoids the bin

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

It’s tough trying to land interviews in a highly competitive job market. Having said this, many job seekers make it tougher by distributing sub-standard CVs. You MUST create and distribute an impactful CV.

This series of articles will help you achieve this! Follow my advice and you’ll see a significant improvement in your application to interview ratio. I’ll examine three core principles for effective CV writing – (a) how to optimise information positioning, (b) how to enhance visual appearance and (c) how to create impactful content. 

This article examines “how to create impactful content”. 

CV content MUST be relevant! 

CV content must be tailored for specific jobs. This creates more work, but I promise the extra effort will be worth it. You must review the job description and clearly understand the job requirements. This helps identify the information that’s important to the hiring manager, enabling you to construct more targeted CV content. 

CV content MUST be impactful! 
Most CV content I read is underwhelming, listing nothing more than bland job duties. In fact, many job seekers cheat, inserting old job descriptions as their CV content. Don’t just list job duties/tasks, as this won’t cut it in a competitive job market. You need to excite the reader. You can do this by highlighting achievements, results and how you’ve added value. Brainstorm previous employment to identify what you’ve changed/improved, how you’ve added value, key achievements/results or any key projects. Don’t be embarrassed about putting this information onto your CV, as failure to do so will mean missing out on important job interviews. This example highlights my point. 

Bland content: “I managed a team of staff and I increased sales revenue for the company.” 
Impactful content: “Led a team of 6 staff. Increased sales revenue by 23% in 2012.” 

CV content MUST be concise! 
You must use bullet points, as they will make it easier for the reader to digest your content. Create short and snappy statements, with the least words possible. Fewer words will mean that more of your content will get read. Remember, an employer will only spend 20-30 seconds reviewing your CV. This example highlights my point. 

Wordy content: “I was hired to set-up and establish a new sales function for the company.” 
Concise content: “Hired to establish a new sales function.” 

So, start working to create more impactful CV content. In the next CV article I’ll examine information positioning and visual appearance. Happy job hunting!!

Paul Mullan is founder of Measurability, a leading Career & Outplacement consultancy. For more details about Outplacement, CV Writing and Interview Coaching services