A well prepared CV or Résumé is essential to market yourself to new jobs. First, what it is not... Just a historical document, a record of what you did when and where. What it is... A brochure to advertise your services. A marketing tool.
Structuring your CV / Resumé
- What are you selling? Who is your buyer?
- If you are looking for a better job within your industry and your main selling points are wrapped up in what you are doing now, then your current responsibilities and achievements should be among the first things to catch your reader's attention.
- If you are changing industries or if your major selling points are scattered throughout your CV, then you should have a section before your Career History which lists your 4 to 6 strongest transferable skills or major career achievements. This section gives you more control over what your reader notices in your CV.
- State your achievements in no more than two lines for each achievement and make them benefit statements, such as "Reduced the cost of purchasing by 40% by introducing an ABC system" or "Increased sales by X % by...".
- Avoid abstractions such as "Good communication skills", for example. Instead, use two line anecdotes or examples showing how you communicated.
- Keep responsibility statements to a minimum. Otherwise your CV sounds like a job description and says nothing about how you distinguished yourself in that role.
- Length is not critical - 2 or 3 pages - so long as your major message is on page 1. So don't fill up your first page with personal details and education --- unless these are your major selling points.
- Leave education to the end if it is no big deal.
- Your career history should be documented in reverse chronological order and in decreasing detail.
- Avoid unnecessary, distracting detail. Remember, this is not your autobiography. It is a marketing brochure. Its purpose is to get you an interview, not a job.
Career Management Tips
- What is an effective résumé?
- How should you approach the job market, formal or informal?
- Here are some interview tips and some for situational interviews.
- What is you need to be assessed for a job? How can you succeed in an assessment center?
- What are reasoning tests?
- How to network for career success.
- How to sell yourself to an employer.