How to Write a Killer CV - A Guide for Change Practitioners
I've had a lot of people in my network reach out to me asking for help creating a great CV. I thought I'd share a few tips with everyone to help give you the edge in navigating such a difficult market. This article is specifically aimed at Change & Transformation Contractors, but the tips are completely relevant to any profession!
1) Make an effort on the presentation of your CV.
You might think that it's only the content and experience that counts but you'd be wrong. Especially if you're a Change & Transformation contractor.
Why? Because your role most likely has some element of documentation involved - imagine a leader is considering hiring you into a contract role which requires documentation to be presented to the board, what do you think their reaction will be to a CV with 6 different fonts in it?
2) Let each role description tell a story, one with a beginning and an end.
Most of the CV's I see are forgettable because they repeat the same responsibilities in every role description rather than demonstrating real, tangible value.
Change involves people, so it's never certain. Hiring managers want to know about how you adapted to the organisation, the situation and the people. How much of a difference did you make? What challenges did you navigate?
Summarise fundamental skills and responsibilities of your previous roles on the first page in a "Key Capabilities" section or something similar, be unique in your detailed role descriptions.
3) Add Written References
Get a written reference from persons of influence that previously managed you and put them under each relevant role. Make sure you keep these relatively brief though, 2 sentences ish. If you've got recommendations on LinkedIn already, put those in!
This adds a whole new level of credibility to your CV, it's something different and it displays a healthy level of confidence.
4) Keep it concise!
Being able to keep a CV to an acceptable length is an example of strong communication skills, it demonstrates the ability to communicate concisely and efficiently, and therefore saving time and money.
I would suggest no longer than 3 pages. If you have less than 10 years of experience then 2 pages. Those with lots of experience, I would suggest having an "Earlier Career" section with just job titles, company names and dates. You can even put "Earlier Career Details Available Upon Request" for old experience that isn't relevant to the jobs you're applying for.
If you're a graduate or have less than 5 years of experience I would suggest more of a "Pitch on a Page" type CV.
5) Let your personality out!
People are always afraid and nervous to think outside the box with their CVs. Society now is far more informal when it comes to the world of work than it was 20 years ago, so make sure your CV reflects and appeals to that. I would recommend avoiding speaking in the 3rd person in your CV as it's impersonal and robotic - the hiring manager wants to get to know you through your CV.
6) Be different, be memorable, get hired
Without a doubt, your CV needs to have SOMETHING that makes you stand out. I can tell you that I never posted a job advert that got less than 100 applications a day. Imagine reading through hundreds of applications, 98% (literally) of which aren't even a near match to the role requirements.
The fact that lots of people apply to jobs they're not qualified for, or use bots to do so, means that recruiters and hiring managers rarely spend more than 5 seconds on a CV. That's why it's so important to make sure your CV instantly impresses and sticks in the reader's mind.
Hopefully these tips help, and if you manage to land a job using the above advice, I want to hear from you!