CV Content Is King
The key areas for CV content, which I refer to as the CV’s ‘Elements’ and ‘Sections’ are paramount to improving your CV’s layout – and more importantly – content. CV elements are just a checklist of ‘must haves’, and I’ve identified critical elements that every CV should have in order for it to have the greatest-possible impact on the reader. Why the focus on content? Presentation and format is important, but content is overwhelmingly more likely to get you the interview you want. And don’t just take my word for it, ask your recruiter what their clients look for.
“As a professional working in a very dynamic industry that is constantly evolving, and me with it, I need a regularly updated CV that is expertly crafted and professionally presented. Alex has provided this service, providing me with a distinct edge when introducing myself to potential employers and clients.”
Your CV is a passport to your next job, so it has to be of excellent quality in order to compel a recruiter or employer to want to interview you. I want to make sure you get it right first time around, so in this blog series I will tell you what’s expected of you and your CV in order to convince the reader that you’re a good fit for their vacancy.
Nowadays, recruiters and employers receive hundreds of CVs for each job advert posted so your CV has to stand out from the hundreds of other applicants so that you get on recruiters’ shortlists.
So, you made the recruiter’s shortlist, but the work does not stop there. Your CV must still needs to work hard for you and should ‘talk’ to the reader, creating intrigue and interest.
I’ve identified all the key components for an excellent CV so continue reading to find out more.
What is a modern CV (Curriculum Vitae)?
I’ll keep this brief, because I know that you already know what a CV is. Here’s a dictionary definition courtesy of dictionary.com:
– noun, pl. cur·ric·u·la vi·tae
1. Also called vita, vitae. a brief biographical résumé of one’s career and training, as prepared by a person applying for a job.
2. ( italics ) Latin. the course of one’s life or career.
That’s the standard definition. But in my mind there is so much more to a Curriculum Vitae than the definition reveals. Let’s face it, most people can put down on paper the course of their life or career, but many find it difficult to sell themselves in a way that will entice each different reader of their application. With that in mind, the definition fails to extend to the CV as a sales document or a means of self-promotion. I actually regard the CV or résumé as a unique billboard on which you can grab the reader’s attention, draw them in and showcase your talent. At the same time, your CV is a personal and important summary of your working life and a piece of your life that – at some stage – you will have to share with a complete stranger as an introduction or virtual handshake. It is necessary to add the ‘personal’ element to the definition, because the CV tells the reader what you have achieved, your aspirations, the skills you possess and gives the reader a insight into how you present yourself.
The CV as a commodity
I always try to emphasise the CV’s importance so that you give it the due care, attention and passion it deserves when it comes to putting one together. It really worries me when I see a poor CV that I know will fail to grab readers’ attention, because it’s counterproductive and wastes everyone’s time. I certainly don’t believe that people intentionally set out to write a poor CV, as most job-seekers have the best intentions when they apply for a job; they just want to be in the running to find a good job. However, I do think that many job-seekers underestimate the importance and significance of their CV and perhaps think that if they list their skills and duties, that will be enough. After all, that’s what employers want to see, right? Well, the straight answer is ‘no’, and it’s the last thing I want you to do, so I will endeavour to convey one message: the importance of an original CV.
I would go so far as to say that your CV has monetary value, and one way to understand its worth is to think of it as being as valuable as the job you are applying for. Let’s say the salary is £50,000. When you start to put your CV together, you really have to show the employer that your skills and experience etc. warrant £50,000. Recruiters and employers can easily pick out the CVs that they feel are worth the pay packet, so give it your all and secure the interview.
If you’re not working at the moment and perusing jobs at a £50,000 salary a well written CV can open doors to help you earn c £3000 per month so the longer you continue to produce poorly written CV, the more money you stand to lose from month to month.
On the flip side, employers invest a lot of money in their recruitment campaigns and are essentially paying for CVs and applications. They will adopt a strategic approach to sourcing targeted applicants and pay great care and attention to ensure that they get value for money, i.e. a ‘strong’ CV. Online recruitment advertising rates can be in excess of £500 per post, and specialist inserts in the printed press can cost tens and sometimes hundreds of thousands of pounds for a single insertion, so return on investment (which translates to quality CVs) is key. They’ll certainly count the cost if they receive a poor response to their ads, so make sure you’re not in the reject pile.