How to create direct response impact with your CV

When you apply for a job, you’re selling yourself as a brand. You are the product and solution to the company’s problems, challenges, and worries. Your personal brand has benefits that will more than meet the company’s needs.

A CV is much more than copy and pasting from your job descriptions. It’s about showing your USP and that you are better qualified than others to excel in your new position. You want a CV that provokes action.

It’s also about keeping it short and concise. Even if you’ve got long years of experience, your CV shouldn’t be longer than two pages. For those at the beginning of their careers, it’s better to keep everything neatly on one page.

So, let’s get started!

Go in with a bang

The first thing you need to do, is to go in with a bang. How? You need a headline or personal statement that makes the recruiter stop and read the first sentence.

With a headline or a personal mission statement you’ve got something that most CVs don’t. You’ve got a sentence that fascinates and presents you in a nut shell. With a headline, you give your readers a reason to read the first sentence.

Make it personal

I even go as far as putting a bit more meat on the bone to tell the recruiter what you’re all about. Here’s an example:

Driving results through strategy, leadership, and integrity

Driving results means that I set my goals higher than required, focus on my goals, define processes, and follow through with outstanding implementation.

Strategy means that I devise a route to success by analysing my environment, statistical inputs, processes, systems, and my team’s talents to turn goals into reality.

Leadership means that I inspire, motivate, and empower my team to take ownership and work passionately to deliver excellence.

Integrity means that I work honestly and with high ethical standards, honouring the organisation’s and my own values and culture.

Now you’ve put some character into a CV – a document that usually is an uninspiring and never-ending list of dates and achievements.

Show what you’ve got

In the first instance, the recruiter wants to know about you – your story, your personality, and your skills. You need to present your skills as concisely as possible. Absolutely no waffle and long sentences. Bullet points are much more effective and easier to read.

I prefer to list “technical skills” and “people skills” next to each other in separate columns. Depending on which type of skills the recruiter is looking for, he can take a shortcut and go straight to the skill set he’s interested in. You can go further and subdivide the technical skills into “industry experience” and “general experience”.

Prove your credibility

Recruiters want to know about your formal background too. So, here’s the place to list your education (degrees, courses, or training) and any awards or relevant memberships.

That will give your claims some proof and show that you are the real deal and have done what you’ve said. You can establish yourself as an expert, an authority in your field, a trustworthy professional.

Make it easy to contact you

Give the recruiter a choice to contact you through his preferred channel and learn more about you at the same time. By listing your phone number, email address, the URL to your LinkedIn profile and other social media platforms you are active on, you are making it easy and you are offering a choice.

However, you need to make sure that you only link to absolutely professional platforms. Links to your Facebook page with your baby pictures and mad adventures are not suitable to share.

That’s pretty much it for the first page. Now, on page two you can –

Show what you’ve done

Now you can finally go into some detail about your previous positions and how these have qualified you for your new role.

I’d start off with pointing out that your experience page contains only the most relevant and/or recent positions and that the complete information about you can be found on your LinkedIn profile.

Then you start listing your roles (with titles), your experience, starting with the most recent or important position. Again, keep it short and sweet with bullet points.

My preference are two columns with “responsibilities” on one side and “Achievements” on the other. That shows how you’ve used the responsibilities you were given and turned them into opportunities that added value to your employer’s business.

That’s it! If you have further questions or want to see some templates, then leave me a note.


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