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Many experienced, senior-level jobseekers struggle when attempting to update their CV. Perhaps they are unsure of how to optimise the most relevant information so that it stands out to the recruiter or hiring manager, as opposed to getting lost in a sea of job titles, skills, qualifications and experience. So, here’s some advice for writing a concise, yet impactful CV.
Start by eliminating any information that just isn’t relevant to the role or industry. Start this process by highlighting the key skills and attributes required for the job in question. Now look through your career history. Have you used up valuable space describing skills, attributes and responsibilities from years ago, which don’t match up to the role in question? If so, take them out.
There’s also no need to include your early education, or first jobs on your CV. Always bear in mind that you need to ensure your CV is as current as possible, not harking back to the distant past when you were a different person with comparatively less to offer.
Now that you have only the most relevant information on your CV, it’s time to make sure it stands out as much as possible to the recruiter. As a senior-level job seeker, it is vital that you write your CV with your target in-mind. Avoid overwhelming the reader with information about everything you’ve ever done. Otherwise, you run the risk of burying the most pertinent information, which will cause the reader to lose interest quickly.
Follow the below steps in order to group all of your key achievements, highlights and attributes in the most visible place, ideally on the first page of your CV.
Along with your name and contact details, you should provide a link to your online portfolio or LinkedIn profile. If you choose to do this, you must ensure your LinkedIn profile and CV match up in terms of dates and job titles. This way, the recruiter can find out more information if necessary and access examples of your work.
What really needs to stand out here is your USP – what can you offer the company? Why should the recruiter or hiring manager read on? What can you bring the company that no other candidate can? Talk directly to the reader here.
You could also use this section to summarise relevant and notable achievements you’ve had throughout your career. For example, if you are applying for a marketing director position, you could mention the time you increased revenue at a specific company by X value, by implementing a campaign which involved Y and Z. Give the reader numbers and hard facts.
List your principal areas of expertise in the form of bullet points. Use the opportunity to condense any information that is most relevant to the role, but not deserving of a whole paragraph. Perhaps try formatting these to the side of your CV, so as not to take up too much valuable room in the body of the CV.
List your career history in reverse chronological order, listing your most current role at the top. Provide the most information about your current or most current role, and give less information the further you go back in your career history. If a previous job was completely irrelevant to the role you are applying for, but you want avoid any gaps on your CV, simply list your job title, dates and the company you worked for. This will save you space on your CV, whilst providing top-line information.
Don’t use ten words to say something you could say in five. Get to the point in a way that is easy for the reader to understand and quickly makes an impact. Use action verbs as much as possible. Avoid blocks of copy – this will deter the reader – your CV needs to be easy to read and easy to follow, no matter how much experience you have. Also avoid company-specific terminology that won’t translate to the reader. Lastly, proof read, proof read, proof read – you will instantly lose credibility if your CV is littered with spelling and grammatical errors. You are simply too experienced to be making these sort of simple mistakes.
Always bear in mind that your CV is meant to help you sell yourself. As an experienced specialist in your field, you need to make sure that it is tailored to the requirements of the position you are applying for and highlights what you have to offer − today, not ten years ago. Follow this advice to condense your CV and showcase your long-term expertise in a concise but effective way appropriate to your qualifications and experience.