Your CV is the key to opening the door to your next opportunity. In order to open up the best opportunities, your key needs to be in good shape. You might have some amazing skills and experience that have perfectly shaped you for the next big opportunity in your career – but if you don’t craft a key that fits, that door will still remain firmly closed.
The Real Estate of Your CV
When writing your CV, you need to market yourself in the best way possible. Don’t get too hung up on the length of your CV. For CEOs and people just starting out with little experience, it should be easy to keep your CV concise, to one or two pages.
It’s the people in the middle who often get tripped up by managing what to include and leave out from their variable previous jobs. Once you’ve whittled down your list, make sure its clear why you’ve listed each role.
Information to include in each role listed on your CV:
- More than the business name, include one or two lines about the organisation. This gives some context. It often doesn’t hurt to link to the business website.
- What you did in the role (if this isn’t obvious to you, you might need to go back to the drawing board).
- Accomplishments! For each role, identify (at least) one or two ways you were able to impart benefits through your unique contribution.
- Succinctly identify a challenge you faced, your approach, and the result.
The two things to remember when styling your CV:
- Put the most important or relevant information “up front” – if the hiring manager needs to go digging to find what they need to know, they’re going to lose interest.
- Keep the content concise and relevant – again, the person reading your resume shouldn’t have to go digging.
It’s true that many companies are using time-saving software that scans applications for a set list of keywords. If you want your resume to be read by a person, yes, you do need to include keywords specific to the industry and the role you’re applying for. However, I can’t stress this enough: have some decorum about how you use these words! Keywords should be integrated into the body of text; a keyword list slapped at the top of your application looks lazy.
Delete These Relics of Resumes Past
Hobbies and Interests – Consider this: is a new boss really going to care if you enjoy hiking, arts and crafts, or brewing beer?
If your hobby relates well to the role you’re applying for (say, if you are applying for a role that involves speaking to crowds and you have some community theatre under your belt) you should be able to mention it succinctly in your cover letter. If the employer has any more interest in what you get up to in your spare time (which yes, could possibly relate to your cultural fit), they’ll cover this at the interview stage.