How to bring your CV alive
Generally, CVs are boring. Very often, the design is the main feature that makes the CV stand out. And that’s just like wrapping recycled Christmas presents in great wrapping paper.
When the visual excitement is over, the recruiter is left with a bland list of dates and responsibilities. I already wrote about the features your CV must have to spark interest.
You can read it here http://www.theworddistiller.com/7-features-cv-must-impress/ if you’ve missed it.
Like all humans, recruiters like a good story and want some relevant (and short) details.
What the recruiter wants to know
It’s very simple – there are four questions that the recruiter wants to be answered:
- What do you offer?
- How can you make my life better? Or: How can you help me?
- Who are you? And: What qualifies you to do a great job?
- How can we contact you?
Provide quality details and do some research
It’s easy just to jot down all the things that you’ve done in your career. But don’t do that or you end up with a novel. What you need is quality rather than quantity.
For that, you need to do research. You need to understand yourself, how you work, what your strengths are and how you can apply your strengths to improve your target company’s life. Or more accurately: how can you make the decision maker’s life better?
Self-reflection is difficult and we are prone to partial blindness and never assess ourselves without any judgement. That’s why I recommend completing two tests:
- A personality test – here’s a free one: https://www.16personalities.com/
- A strengths test – for a small investment: https://www.gallupstrengthscenter.com/
The results will give you some clarity and from that, the way you work, and the things that you’ve achieved, you’ll be able to create your personal tagline. Your tagline is your USP and identifies what you do best and how you are different.
Get to know the decision maker
Sorry, more research needed. In order to write a really targeted CV, you need to know the decision maker. If you cannot convince the decision maker that you are the right person for the job, then you won’t get the job.
So, more research is needed. Find out who receives your application and selects the right person for the job.
Then, find out everything you can about that person through your network, Linkedin, other social media, business relations etc.
With the information you’ve gathered you create an “avatar” and identify what this person needs most of all. Those needs are what you must focus on!
Now review the information that you have about yourself and match that up with your avatar’s needs. That’s what makes you an exciting candidate.
Identify your skills to make your future boss curious
I’m sure that you have a long list of skills in all sorts of different areas that you’d like to list. But resist this temptation and list those that are relevant to your potential employer, his organisation, and the position.
Imagine you are reading a novel that has a great main story line but a lot of filler that does not contribute to the story. That makes a very tedious read (if you do finish the novel at all).
The same applies to your CV – stick to your story line and weed out the filler. But you can point to your more comprehensive Linkedin profile in case you made your reader curious.
Qualifications work like a quality seal
When you spend money on something you value, it’s often the quality seal that makes you decide on one brand over another. Quality seals support legitimacy and they create trust.
The same applies to your qualifications. Your qualification confirms your expertise in certain areas.
If I had the choice between a self-taught dog trainer and a qualified one, I’d certainly prefer the qualified one because I can expect a certain amount of knowledge and experience.
And this is important for me because it reduces the risk. Employers take a risk by employing you. You can claim many things – but can you also deliver? Formal qualifications are a way of confirming that you are the real deal and that you can actually do what you claim.
With that, you’re good to go. But don’t forget to write a stunning cover letter too!
If you have any further questions you know where you can find me.