A CV is a presentation instrument, or more aptly a marketing tool. You have at most 30 seconds to impress whoever gives it a first glance. You want to endorse yourself and solicit interest.
While there are no absolute rights or wrongs about the process, here are a few tips that might make your CV a more effective tool.
Think of yourself as a brand and look at the distinctive assets which you’re able to demonstrate. Imagine the CV as a catalogue listing the benefits of a specific service. Here the service is what you can offer the prospective employer. Remember, nobody can brand you better than yourself.
Getting things in order
Most of us are technologically savvy, and have utilised modern templates and other visually appealing presentation methods, but often the content is not presented in order of importance.
The most significant aspect of your CV must be eye catching and presented in the most prominent position on the first page. For some people this could be their qualification. For others it could be their work experience, or a contribution to a current or past employer.
For example, let’s look at different middle-level roles in the banking sector. Your qualifications are of utmost importance if you are applying for a quants job, but your experience is often more key if it’s an operational role.
For sales positions, your achievements throughout your career are crucial to attracting the recruiter’s interest. Phrases like “achieved 120 per cent of the annual target in the first half of the year” entice hiring managers to read further.
So it really depends on what is the most central aspect of your CV. You are the best person to decide.
Other top tips
· Always include your contact details, ideally in the header area and repeated on every page. This is in case the reader is on the second page and may want to contact you instantly. It sounds inane, but sometimes a reader may be distracted by a phone call and will then forget your resume, especially if he/she is handling high volumes.
· Do not write long descriptions about your jobs because the CV is a premise to establish a discussion, not the discussion itself.
· Photographs are a good idea, but if you intend to use one in your CV, make sure it’s a neat, professionally attired shot.
· Last but not the least, ideally your CV should not go beyond two pages. Remember it’s a marketing tool and you have only 30 seconds for the first view.
Farida Charania, CEO, Nastrac