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Creating a Powerful CV & Cover Letter
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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.

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

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  • 1. CAREER LEADERSHIPSEMINAR SERIESCreating aPowerful CV& Cover LetterDate: Thursday, February 2Time: 12:30 – 15:00Place: IUSE BarcelonaPresented by Mitch BermanBERMAN ADVANTAGE
  • 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. + CREATING A POWERFUL CV   Principal Elements   Heading   Job Objective   Summary of Qualifications   Professional Experience   Education   Relevant Additional InformationBERMAN ADVANTAGE 2 February 2012
  • 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. + 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. + 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. + 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. + 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. + 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. + 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. + 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. + 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. + 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. + 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. + 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. + 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. + 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. + CREATING A POWERFUL CV   Alternative CV Formats Visual CV ( Video CVBERMAN ADVANTAGE 2 February 2012
  • 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. + 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. + 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. + 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. + 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. + 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. + 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. + CONTACT BERMAN ADVANTAGE coaching | training | consulting Phone: +34 644 482 433 Skype: mitchberman Email: mitch@bermanadvantage.comBERMAN ADVANTAGE 2 February 2012