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How to Create a Great CV
How to Create a Great CV
How to Create a Great CV
How to Create a Great CV
How to Create a Great CV
How to Create a Great CV
How to Create a Great CV
How to Create a Great CV
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How to Create a Great CV

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Differentiate yourself from the crowd - create a great CV/Resumé include a first rate Cover Letter and get called for that interview.

Differentiate yourself from the crowd - create a great CV/Resumé include a first rate Cover Letter and get called for that interview.

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  • 1. HOW TO CREATE A GREAT CV AND COVER LETTER stephanieoboyle.com
  • 2. You are your CV To someone who doesnʼt know you - thatʼs all they have to go on. Itʼs your calling card, your sales and marketing pitch. No matter how highly skilled, incredibly experienced and all round fabulous, you really are, if your presentation is poor, you will be considered to offer little or no value, to a prospective employer. The jobs market is highly competitive with lots of really good people looking for work, looking to change career or looking for new opportunities, so a first rate CV is critically important. Your CV has the power to make or break your chance of an interview. Low quality CVs get absolutely no attention. They do not engage, they frustrate the owners, damage self confidence and waste valuable time. In a highly competitive market, if you donʼt have a high quality, professional CV you are fighting a losing battle. To improve your chances for interview you need to communicate relevant information about your skills, knowledge, competence and experience. With twenty years experience working with HR professionals in teaching, management and consulting, I know a little about what is required. This guide is intended to help you plan and create a professional CV and accompanying cover letter. You donʼt need anyone to tell you that itʼs tough out there. The jobs market is especially difficult in certain sectors but, there are opportunities in some areas. If thereʼs anything we can do to help with your job search or, in the area of training and development for re-skilling or up-skilling please get in touch; weʼd be delighted to hear from you. And if we canʼt help, we will happily point you in the direction of someone who can. Stephanie O’Boyle
  • 3. Structure A CV is designed to get you the interview. Nothing else. You have 10 seconds to make an impact before you get put in the bin, so make it count. If your first page does not scream ʻperfect for the jobʼ then your CV is failing you. Itʼs the companyʼs very first impression, so itʼs really important to get it right. Content needs to be strong, professional, with quantifiable evidence to back up what you say. Split your CV under the following headings to make sure itʼs easy to read: Personal details Include your name, address, mobile and email contact. Profile or Personal Statement This is very important, itʼs the first sales and marketing pitch on your CV. Achievements Use action verbs in short sentences, with measures where possible, to communicate positive contributions youʼve made in earlier roles. Career Experience Include each organisation (with dates). Start with your most recent job, include a 2-3 line summary of each role, expertise and key achievements (donʼt duplicate achievements mentioned earlier). Account for gaps in employment dates. Education and Professional Training List your qualifications (highest first and work based, before academic). Include accredited training and other courses completed relevant to the role. For example, professional development courses such as Presentation Skills, Time Management and so on. Professional Memberships Additional information  Include anything here that you feel may be relevant to the performance of the job, for example, fluency in languages, full driving licence etc. There is no need to include references on your CV. Unless you are specifically requested to do so, it is normal to supply references after qualifying rounds are completed
  • 4. Too Long Anything on or after the third page is unlikely to be read. Keep your CV to a maximum of 3 pages. No one has the time or, the desire, to read your life story. Writing in the first person - ʻIʼ Over use of the word ʻIʼ communicates self indulgence and appears unprofessional. Remove the use of it entirely. Use action words like designed, improved, completed, or initiated. Education If you have ten years experience donʼt put Education on the front page. Itʼs really not as important as your most recent experience. Also, too much detail on education. If you have ten years experience, no one cares about your B+ from years ago. List them as a one line summary. For example: 2:1 Degree in Dog Training from UC Labrador Masters in Worm Farming from UC Earth This does not apply if you are a recent graduate or, youʼve just completed a career training course, with little career experience in that sector. In that case, go into some detail about your course and areas of it that are relevant to the job for which you are applying. No Achievements Achievements state the measurable benefits you provided for previous employers. Itʼs how you justified the salary. Achievements are things you did that ʻsaved money, made money, made more money, saved time, which made money....ʼ Achievements demonstrate that you are commercially focused rather than someone who ʻdoes thingsʼ that are not connected to business benefits or outcomes. No Profile or Personal Statement You need a ʻPersonal Statementʼ or Profile, that says precisely what you are. Otherwise, the reader is going to have to guess by reading your CV and, they donʼt have time to read your full CV. So, make their life easier by including a profile. This short statement highlights skills and personal qualities. It should grab attention and hook the reader. Itʼs important to tailor your statement to the requirements of the specific job for which you are applying. Make your statement descriptive, specific but not an essay. 50 words is a useful guide. Make it clear and donʼt use jargon. Above all else, tailor it to the job specification. In case you donʼt realise how important this is; tailor your profile to the actual job for which you are applying. Itʼs so important, the next page is dedicated to it! Remember Put yourself in the shoes of the people who are going to read your submission. You have mere seconds to make that first impression. Your front page has to convince them, in no uncertain terms, you are a likely person for the job. Common Mistakes Courtesy of Zeraph Dylan
  • 5. Itʼs a Process As you know, the CV gets you the interview. A significant focus during the interview is obviously on the content of the CV. So, as the creator of the CV, you also determine the key discussion points during the interview. Tailor your CV to the specific job and focus on how your skills, qualities and prior achievements prove you can do this job - this will help to focus interview questions on areas you want to discuss. Back to the Profile or Personal Statement Be confident, assertive, but above all else, tailor your statement to the specified job. Get your pen and highlight exactly what the employer is looking for. You are looking for descriptors of personal qualities, skills and experience in the role specification. As well as minimum years of experience and required technical skills, you are also likely to see some of the following in job specifications: Communication Skills Motivation/Initiative# Attention to detail# Leadership Flexibility/Adaptability# Organisational Skills# Problem solving# Creative Include the relevant descriptors in your ʻProfileʼ. However, as Iʼve outlined earlier, because these illustrative words are a bit vague, you then need to clarify, qualify and quantify in your ʻAchievementsʼ section. What challenging goals did you set and, how exactly did you achieve them?  What specific things did you do to motivate your team to perform?  What was involved in scheduling your teamʼs work? Remember, employers want to see concrete examples of how you were able to contribute to a former company, and how the organisation was better off as a result of the work that you performed.  This means that, in addition to describing attractive qualities and skills, you will use numbers and statistics that show quantitative change. So how do you do this? To help you think through, how you can articulate an achievement to impress, letʼs look at why companies are in business for some clues.
  • 6. STAR Achievements Companies usually want to do some of the following: • Make profit • Sell more widgets • Become more efficient • Get more customers • Improve customer satisfaction • Enter new markets • Improve quality You need to communicate achievements which generally support these types of objectives and demonstrate your ability to deliver. To Structure an Achievement use STAR - Situation, Task/Activity and Result When describing an achievement consider three (or four) parts: • What was the Situation - what particular technical skill or personal attribute was in play. • How did you carry out the particular Task or Activity • What was the measurable, quantifiable Result or benefit. When using STAR ask yourself the ʻso whatʼ question for each part of your CV. Read the achievement in the context of the job. Are you Impressed, Mildly impressed, or left asking yourself ʻSo What!ʼ Example 1 – So What! Achievement: “Mentored other team members” Response: So what! You trained some staff, and then what? The company spent money for you to train staff and what benefit did it achieve for them? So what? Example 2 – Slightly better Achievement: “Mentored team members which improved skills” Response: Better than so what, but still doesnʼt inspire. So, you used your training skills to train some people, which resulted in them improving skills, and then what? How did they apply those new skills and what was the result? Example 3 – Thatʼs the business! Achievement: “Used knowledge of customer service to design a response system that was 50% faster than before. This enabled the business to reduce stock by 15%, beat competitors in delivery times and subsequently capture 60% market market share”. Response: Very impressed. Can you come and do this for me! Successfully including achievements in your career path is likely to be the most challenging part of developing your CV. However, it can give you that competitive edge over other candidates and get you to that all important interview and eventually get you the job. So that’s the CV: now what?
  • 7. Cover Letter Writing a covering letter for a job application can be a daunting. What should you include, what to leave out? The good news is thereʼs a formula for letters. Start Here If you are responding to an advertisement, go through the text of the advertisement and list the words and qualities the employer (or recruitment agency) is looking for. Youʼve done this already, for your personal profile - so youʼre right on track. Your letter will echo these back to the prospective employer so that they see you straight away as a good ʻfitʼ. Before writing the letter imagine yourself in the role, what qualities is the job likely to require and put these on your list. Next, work on the format of the letter. Clearly indicate the job reference, the job title and where you saw it; the website, job-site, local press, whereverʼs relevant. The salutation - If the advert gives the person's first name, address them that way (ʻDear Stephanieʼ). The first paragraph should explain why you are writing. The objective is to express interest in the job, but do it from their point of view. The aim is to get them interested, not to explain why you desperately want to be considered! Match the tone of the advert, mirror the expressions used. For example; “In response to your advertisement for an experienced eLearning Manager with finance sector and team leadership skills, I am enclosing my CV for your consideration.” Next you need to hook their interest some more by picking out particular items from your CV which relate to the skills/ experience they've asked for or which you've deduced they'll wish to see. The easiest way to do this is to use a few well-chosen bullet points. For example; “In particular I would like to draw your attention to the fact that I have recently completed the implementation of a management development programme for ABC Plc. I led a team of three trainers where we developed an eLearning platform with structured systems design, development and evaluation, to develop management skills, knowledge and tools in financial services.” Ideally, you should end the letter in an assertive way, which communicates that you expect them to want to see you, again using key adjectives from the advert if you can - example: "I look forward to meeting you in order to discuss my team leadership and technical experience further..."
  • 8. Wishing you an enjoyable and fruitful career. stephanieoboyle.com

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