HOW TO WRITE A KILLER CV: Insight from top hiring managers that will work for you.
Posted 30 July by 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? Related Articles How do I make the right decision about a counter offer from my company? My bonus is on its way but so is a new job offer. How do I manage this? Trusted by Talent Risk Management | Audit & Finance | Compliance & Financial Crime | Business Change & Transformation | Technology & Security 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.
Nachdem ich es in meinem ganzen Leben gewohnt war auf (besonders sportliche) Ziele hinzuarbeiten, war es mir wichtig dies auch bei der Berufswahl zu berücksichtigen. Recruitment macht es uns zur Herausforderung das Unplanbare – in unserem Fall die Arbeit mit Menschen – planbar zu machen. Das erfordert harte Arbeit, wird aber durch das konstante Training und Best Practice bei JCW möglich. JCWs Motto “Take care of your employees and they will take care of your clients and candidates” könnte treffender nicht sein. Von New York bis London und nun Frankfurt hat mich JCW sowohl beruflich als auch persönlich bedingungslos unterstützt und mir immer wieder Wege aufgezeigt, wie ich mein Wissen gewinnbringend nutzen kann. Dieses Vertrauen geben wir an unsere Kunden und Bewerber weiter, was uns in den letzten Jahren konstant hat wachsen lassen.
Felix Schafer , Managing Principal Consultant at JCW
Bei JCW wurden mir alle Werkzeuge an die Hand gegeben, um mich zu einem erfolgreichen Personalberater in meiner Nische zu entwickeln. Ich habe die Möglichkeit bekommen, meine Karriere im Einklang mit meinen persönlichen Erfolgen nach vorne zu bringen – das Training bei JCW ist dabei in- und extensiv wie bei keiner anderen Personalberatung. Die Unternehmenskultur würde ich als durchweg professionell, aber doch zwanglos beschreiben, mit guter Kommunikatin auf allen Ebenen. Kurz gesagt: Ich hoffe, noch viele weitere Jahre bei JCW zu verbringen!
Josef Nielson, Consultant at JCW
Die Atmosphäre bei JCW ist sehr angenehm und professionell, was für mich beruflich sehr wichtig ist. Insbesondere die Unternehmenskultur ist Gold wert – flache Hierarchien, viel Kommunikation, und das Gefühl, dass Kollegen sowie Vorgesetzte hinter mir stehen und mir den Rücken stärken. Seit ich bei JCW arbeite, befinde ich mich auf einem Karrierepfad, der meine Lernkurve angekurbelt hat und sicherstellt, dass ich mich konstant weiterentwickle. Ich bin Teil eines dynamischen, motivierten Teams, das gemeinsam Hand in Hand arbeitet, um dem Markt immer einen Schritt voraus zu sein. Ich bin überzeugt, dass das Unternehmen mich auch zukünftig in die richtige Richtung lenken wird und freue mich darauf, gemeinsam mit meinen Kollegen die nächsten Erfolge zu feiern!
Jake Varty, Associate Consultant at JCW
"JCW were able to show me jobs that weren't advertised and got me in front of a company I'd been trying to break on job boards for a while. They worked carefully to ensure that both the employer and the role that I was interested in was a personality and skills match and that the job would genuinely be good for me and my career in the long run. I welcomed that approach, as this is always my biggest fear when thinking about leaving a job I am relatively comfortable in."
Compliance Manager, Global Bank.
"I highly recommend JCW who were able to advise me on salary expectations as I hadn’t realised how much more valuable my skills had become since my last job search. They gave me frank advice on what career options were best for me and told me bluntly whether they thought the company was right for me personally or not, which I really appreciated."
Senior Audit Manager, Top 10 Accounting Firm, UK.
"I was approached by Alex at JCW to work on a transaction-based project for a client over a period of approximately six months. A big concern when taking on a contract job is getting my invoices on time. However, Alex and the JCW team were always helpful in sorting out any admin issues, and my invoices were paid promptly. I would happily work with them again and highly recommend them to others thinking of taking on interim assignments."
Senior Structurer, Retail Commercial Bank
"I’ve worked with JCW for a number of years now and highly recommend working with them. I save time working with JCW because I receive no more than 3-4 quality CVs for the roles I’m hiring for each time. This makes reviewing CVs more enjoyable for me and the interview process much quicker. It also means I have a better understanding of each of the candidate’s background which reduces my fear of making a hiring mistake."
Head of Compliance, International Commercial Bank.
"I highly recommend JCW. Their knowledge of the risk market was invaluable. They spotted trends I hadn’t considered and made informed decisions for me instead of blankly firing CVs for the sake of it. I appreciated their technical understanding and their direct approach if they thought I was going down the wrong hiring path."
Senior Risk Manager, Corporate Insurance