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HOW TO WRITE A KILLER CV: Insight from top hiring managers that will work for you.

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Nicola Lawler

“What’s the most constructive CV advice you can share based on your experience of working with hiring managers at global firms and consultancies we all want to break into?”

Every day we request feedback from our clients about the CVs that made it into their shortlists and we are going to share that insight with you now. Once you’ve taken what you need from this article, you can also download our handy CV template to get started.  

1. Start with a summary of your profile at the top

Introduce yourself by referring to a current job title that reads well for the role you are applying for and state how many years of experience you have. Pick out the best achievements in your CV and summarise them here. You may even want to make space for your profile then draft it after you have completed your CV so it’s easier to look back and pick out the best bits to cover. Most hiring managers and recruiters will skim this bit before deciding if they are going to read on, so it’s important that you hook your reader in fast. 

2. Quantify your accomplishments in figures and percentages if possible

Achievements backed by figures are the strongest. If you can, quantify how your work contributed to business growth. This could be anything from enabling teams to grow or become more efficient, to projects that made an impact on business growth or profit. For example, “The business transformation project I lead on contributed to an increase of XX% in the company’s market share.” Other examples that benefit from evidence in numbers include cost-saving examples and an idea of business time saved through your contribution to process changes and business output.  

3. State what you have accomplished and emphasise HOW you did it

Listing your accomplishments is important but emphasising how you achieved results paints a picture of what you are going to do for the company you wish to join. Explaining how you completed a project also demonstrates your unique understanding of workstreams that will add value to the business as well as making your CV stand out from others with a similar career background.  

4. Proofreading tips and apps to help you

The human eye sees clearer in print and proofreading and reviewing sentence structure is also more productive this way. Get someone else to proofread your final draft because our eyes are only in motion 10%-20% of the time we read, which is why annoying errors still emerge after you submit a document. The best proofreading apps rated by copywriters and marketers worldwide include Grammarly and Slick Write. Both boast enhanced features that will scan your CV for spelling mistakes, punctuation, grammar, sentence structure, and suggest better synonyms. They even check for writing styles and tone to ensure that you are communicating in the most effective way possible.

                   

5. Keep your CV to two pages

Hiring managers have a lot of CVs to sift through and generally lose interest shortly after two pages. Keep it short and easy to digest.

6. Your hobbies and interests

Company fit plays a valuable part in the hiring process and your interests are the only real indication of who you are as a person. Include character-building hobbies that give a true indication of who you are. You never know what interests of yours might strike a chord with the team you will be joining. For example, if you’ve run a marathon this may bode well with a runner on the team.

7. Irrelevant or outdated positions

Some past experience not directly relevant to the job may show another ability or dimension of your background that may be interestingly applicable to the role. List dated positions in bullets stating the length of service, role title and the company you worked for only. If the list is extensive, list the last three.

8. Update your LinkedIn profile so it compliments your CV

With approximately 575,000,000 people on LinkedIn today, it’s highly likely that your recruiter and interviewer will look you up on there before calling you to an interview. Nowadays, a weak LinkedIn profile that’s inconsistent with your CV can leave you exposed. It’s also a great way to add more insight into your experience.  Review your profile ahead of your job search to ensure the timelines match and the descriptions in your career history compliment what you have detailed in your CV. Get notable people across the relevant positions you have held to recommend you for a standout profile and to add credibility to your career history.

9. What NOT to include on your CV

You don’t need to list anything that can open you up to discrimination in your CV including date of birth, marital status, how many children you have, your current salary or nationality (although you will need to show your visa status or rights to work in the country the company is located in when called for an interview).

10. References

You don’t need to detail these in your CV and they take up unnecessary space. Just ensure your referees are aware and ready to be called in the event of an interview. Your recruiter or hiring manager will ask for those details when you make it to that stage.

Why not download our CV template with tips to get you started? 

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JCW provides recruitment solutions and career advice to professionals in our five job markets. If you are curious about a new job opportunity or seeking to hire for your team, please contact us to see how a consultant in your region can help you today.