Thanks to Lucy Wyndham for a guest post with super CV writing tips! See her bio below.
The average job opening in the U.S. attracts around 250 applicants, according to EBI, yet recruiters spend only six seconds looking at each resume. Management level posts can be even more competitive, which is why obtaining professional help for your resume is key. Here are some resume and CV writing tips to help you rise above the competition.
Personalization is a table stake
A common mistake made by inexperienced applicants is writing a standard resume and sending it to a bevy of companies. By doing so, they are not addressing the specific requirements indicated by their target company in the job offer, and are therefore likely to be passed up in favor of candidates who have sent personalized, strategic resumes or CV. A professional career coach will give you CV writing tips to point out experiences and skills that matter and that should make it to the first few points of the Skills/Experience sections of your resume.
CV writing tips on… writing
Unless you are a professional writer or editor, you may not specialize in language. These days more than ever, simple, clear English rules, must be followed. That’s followed by writing concisely yet engagingly – it’s harder than it seems! As a manager you may have decades of experience, yet you need to be brief yet informative when it comes to listing down your skills and achievements. A professional coach or CV writer will help you achieve just that by using correct, effective language that will not confuse, bore, or distract your reader.
Highlight your credentials
CVs and resumes often leave educational achievements beneath more pertinent categories such as experience and achievements. There is a way to highlight your credentials, though, and this is by simply listing them beneath your name. Thus, if you have an LLB or an MBA, listing these credentials in a slightly smaller font than your name and surname is a good way to reveal your qualifications.
Target previous management-level achievements
One of the most important CV writing tips is to look closely at the skills stipulated in a job offer. If you know someone at the company you are applying to, try to elicit more information about the job so your resume can be specific and effective. Otherwise, try to match your description to what is required.
For instance, you may be applying to a managerial position in the company’s human resources department. If so, think of how you may have sharpened the recruitment process at your current or former company. Examples of achievements to include are:
- the introduction of quicker (perhaps modern online tracking) systems to find talented recruits
- decreasing costs of recruitment by appointing one instead of several service providers to fulfill permanent and temporary recruitment needs
- increasing internal promotions via continued training of staff
When you list your achievements on your resume, try to be as specific as you can (e.g. “reduced service provider costs by 35%”).
Recent experience is most valuable
Because recruiters have to sift through so many resumes, you need to spend a significant amount of time editing your achievements to list the most relevant. Spend the most space talking about your current or most recent job, listing down specific roles. Once again, opt for specifics over generalities. For instance, instead of saying you “oversaw projects”, list a particularly important one you were in charge of, indicating any renowned partners or companies you collaborated with or oversaw. Try to keep your achievements to the past 10 years, unless there was a particularly impressive goal reached early on in your career.
A CV or resume should be taken seriously enough to rely on a seasoned professional, since the consequences of an excellent (or poorly written) resume are vast. Conciseness, specificity and even design are all key features of a resume that stands out. Recruiters have very little time to wade through reams of words so let every single one count on your CV.
Lucy Wyndham is a freelance writer and editor. After spending over a decade in career and business advisory services, she took a step back to spend more time with her family and to write about her passions.