Creating a Powerful CV & Cover Letter


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Tips and guidelines for managing content and style to optimize the impact of your CV (resume) and cover letter.

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Creating a Powerful CV & Cover Letter

  1. 1. CAREER LEADERSHIPSEMINAR SERIESCreating aPowerful CV& Cover LetterDate: Thursday, February 2Time: 12:30 – 15:00Place: IUSE BarcelonaPresented by Mitch BermanBERMAN ADVANTAGE
  2. 2. + CREATING A POWERFUL CV   Purpose To present yourself, your experiences, and your qualifications in the best light possible in order to secure an interview or meeting.BERMAN ADVANTAGE 2 February 2012
  3. 3. + CREATING A POWERFUL CV   Principal Elements   Heading   Job Objective   Summary of Qualifications   Professional Experience   Education   Relevant Additional InformationBERMAN ADVANTAGE 2 February 2012
  4. 4. + CREATING A POWERFUL CV   Create the right heading   Name, address, contact information, and possibly URL.   Show off your credentials if they can set you apart in a positive way (e.g., MBA).   Use a mini-heading for identification on the top of the second page, if you have one.   List only phone numbers where you wish to be contacted.BERMAN ADVANTAGE 2 February 2012
  5. 5. + CREATING A POWERFUL CV   Job Objective (is it really necessary?)   States what role you are seeking and want to play for your next employer.   Should be concrete, concise, direct, and relevant.   Consider using job title in response to a specific posting. BERMAN ADVANTAGE 2 February 2012
  6. 6. + CREATING A POWERFUL CV   Kick-start with a Summary of Qualifications   Emphasize top 3 or 4 reasons you’re qualified for the job you’re seeking.   Highlight any of the following: * Experience * Credentials * Expertise * Background * Work Ethic * Personality * Personal Values   Prioritize by most relevant and impressive.   Consider using powerful testimonials from colleagues/managers.   Use punchy phrases rather than full sentences.BERMAN ADVANTAGE 2 February 2012
  7. 7. + CREATING A POWERFUL CV   Kick-start with a Summary of Qualifications   Be remarkable and memorable; avoid trite phrases such as o  “Excellent written and oral communication skills” o  “Outstanding organizational abilities” o  “Goal-oriented individual”   If changing careers/functional focus, highlight the following: o  Experience in the targeted field/position. o  Required skills and motivation. o  Competitive competencies (what sets you apart).   P.S. Great for 30-second networking pitchBERMAN ADVANTAGE 2 February 2012
  8. 8. + CREATING A POWERFUL CV   Structure to maximize strengths and impact WITH MORE WORK EXPERIENCE, FUNCTIONAL FORMAT IS EFFECTIVE   Focus on skills, expertise, and achievements   Minimizes choppy career progression FOR RECENT GRADUATES, CHRONOLOGICAL FORMAT IS BEST   Starts with most recent experience.   Emphasizes advancement within the same company.   Ideal if targeted job is within the same industry as most recent experience.BERMAN ADVANTAGE 2 February 2012
  9. 9. + CREATING A POWERFUL CV   Show your best past – General philosophies   Don’t lie; you can be creative as long as you’re honest.   Clearly and strongly reflect stability, skills, experience, and fit.   Maximize strengths, minimize weaknesses.   Don’t emphasize aspects of past experiences that you don’t enjoy doing.   Highlight achievements, NOT job descriptions.BERMAN ADVANTAGE 2 February 2012
  10. 10. + CREATING A POWERFUL CV   Show your best past   Try not to refer to personal illness, unemployment, or rehabilitation in your work history.   Address gaps in work history by presenting some type of forthright activity relevant to your job objective, if possible. o  Independent Study o  Personal Travel o  Volunteer o  ConsultantBERMAN ADVANTAGE 2 February 2012
  11. 11. + CREATING A POWERFUL CV   Show your best past   Bundle temporary or short-term assignments. o  List name of employment agency. o  Use professional title of “freelancer,” “contractor,” or “consultant.”   Highlight advancement within one company by using a heading and bullets; o  General responsibilities with heading. o  Specific accomplishments within each bullet.   For lesser-known companies/organizations, include a short overview statement beside or under the company name.BERMAN ADVANTAGE 2 February 2012
  12. 12. + CREATING A POWERFUL CV   Use effective formatting and style   Communicate points with bullets, not in paragraph form.   Use action verbs at the beginning of each point; avoid “Responsible for.”   Avoid repetition and redundancy with action words (managed, supervised, oversaw).   Write in first person without “I”.   Use words with which you are reasonably comfortable.   Be consistent in presenting date ranges (1998 – 1999 or ’98 – ’01).BERMAN ADVANTAGE 2 February 2012
  13. 13. + CREATING A POWERFUL CV   Create a proper Education section   Typically positioned at end of CV unless o  Your education is highly relevant to your new position. o  You’re a new graduate and want to show off your degree. o  You have no employment in your targeted field but have a relevant degree or training.   List only classes/workshops that support your job objective.   Relevant life experience, education, and training can compensate for lack of a degree, even if this is a stated job requirement.BERMAN ADVANTAGE 2 February 2012
  14. 14. + CREATING A POWERFUL CV   Create a proper Education section – Degrees   List only the schools where you obtained your degree or completed a program.   If you haven’t yet received your degree, consider using one of the following phrases: o  Currently enrolled o  Anticipated completion: Spring 2001 o  In progress o  Six months completed   Be able to explain gaps in study.   Academic work should be listed only if it is relevant to your job objective.   Abbreviate degrees where possible (BS, MBA).BERMAN ADVANTAGE 2 February 2012
  15. 15. + CREATING A POWERFUL CV   Include relevant additional information   Volunteer/Community Service – reflects dedication, character, social awareness   Professional Affiliations – including offices held   Honors and Awards – indicate if individual or team based   Computer, Technical, and Language Proficiency   Other (Publications, Exhibitions, Research, Lectures, Licenses, Certifications)   Personal Interests – should be included only if they o  Add to your qualifications as a candidate for your job objective. o  Say something about your character that might be valued on the job. o  Avoid potential conflicts of interest with the prospective employer/hiring manager.BERMAN ADVANTAGE 2 February 2012
  16. 16. + CREATING A POWERFUL CV   What NOT to put on your CV   Salary history/requirements   References (unless specifically requested and space is available)   Personal/Physical Data (unless expected or relevant) BERMAN ADVANTAGE 2 February 2012
  17. 17. + CREATING A POWERFUL CV   General presentation   Use a clean, easy-to-read font with tone reflecting that of your targeted industry (e.g., Times Roman, Arial, Verdana, Corbel).   Body text: 10 to 12 point Name: 12 to 18 point   Create optical division between sections for easier reading   Apply enough white space and strategic use of lines   Use variation in type face: Bold, underline, UPPER CASE, Upper and Lower-case   Right/left margins minimum 2,5 cm   Top/bottom margins minimum 1,25 cm BERMAN ADVANTAGE 2 February 2012
  18. 18. + CREATING A POWERFUL CV   Alternative CV Formats Visual CV ( Video CVBERMAN ADVANTAGE 2 February 2012
  19. 19. + CREATING A POWERFUL COVER LETTER   Purpose   To motivate the reader to review your entire CV and support your case for securing an interview.   How? By effectively interpreting and synthesizing your factual, data-oriented CV while adding a personal touch and creating a strong first impression.BERMAN ADVANTAGE 2 February 2012
  20. 20. + CREATING A POWERFUL COVER LETTER   Introduction – Why you are writing   Refer to any personal leads   If responding to a job posting: o  Indicate where you learned of the position and title. o  Express enthusiasm and match between credentials and needed qualifications.   If writing a prospecting letter, inquiring about possible opportunities: o  State specific job objective. o  Capture reader’s attention.   If writing a networking letter, make your request for information clear.BERMAN ADVANTAGE 2 February 2012
  21. 21. + CREATING A POWERFUL COVER LETTER   Body – What you have to offer   Responding to an advertisement: o  Refer specifically to qualifications listed. o  Illustrate how your particular abilities, experiences, and training relate to position.   In a prospecting letter: o  Express potential to fulfill employer’s needs, don’t focus on what can be done for you. o  Give evidence that you have thoroughly researched the organization and have valuable, needed skills.   In general: o  Emphasize achievements and problem-solving skills rather than responsibilities. o  Show how education and work skills are transferrable and relevant to position.BERMAN ADVANTAGE 2 February 2012
  22. 22. + CREATING A POWERFUL COVER LETTER   Conclusion – How you will follow up   Repeat interest.   Express thanks for consideration and cooperation.   Provide contact data and request feedback and/or take initiative to follow-up personally.   Make best effort to confirm materials received/application complete.   Cover Letter Samples: http://jobsearch.about.comBERMAN ADVANTAGE 2 February 2012
  23. 23. + CREATING A POWERFUL COVER LETTER   Email guidelines   Formatting: o  Send your CV as a PDF document to protect formatting. o  If attachments are not accepted, paste your CV into your email message. o  Do not use HTML. Use a simple font and remove the fancy formatting.   List in the subject line the position for which you are applying.   Include a signature with your contact information.   Send a test message to yourself first to check that the formatting works.   Make sure you double-check spelling and grammar.BERMAN ADVANTAGE 2 February 2012
  24. 24. + THE SPANISH JOB MARKET   Unemployment rate above 20%.   Among lowest average graduate salaries in Europe.   Spanish language skills critical.BERMAN ADVANTAGE 2 February 2012
  25. 25. + WHERE CAN YOU WORK?   Major Industries: retail/wholesale, manufacturing, construction, real estate, transport, tourism   Foreign grads might have more luck in Spain’s consulting, industry, and computer science sectors.   Recent growth areas: service sector, hotels/restaurants, IT and Hi-tech   Industries in decline: construction, real estate, agriculture   Major companies: Santander, Telefonica, Repsol YPF, BBVA, Endesa, ACS, Cepsa, Ibedrola, Ferrovial, FCC, Mapfre   Source: ADVANTAGE 2 February 2012
  26. 26. + CONTACT BERMAN ADVANTAGE coaching | training | consulting Phone: +34 644 482 433 Skype: mitchberman Email: mitch@bermanadvantage.comBERMAN ADVANTAGE 2 February 2012