Writing CVs That Work


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How to write a CV that will elevate yourself above what the majority of the job seeking community are doing.

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Writing CVs That Work

  1. 1. Writing CVs that work Lee Burman Purple House HR Tel: 0117 957 4100 Email: [email_address] www.linkedin.com/in/leeburman www.twitter.com/purplehousehr ....featuring none of the boring stuff telling you how many pages it should be, what font to use or if you should or shouldn’t include a list of your hobbies.... (although if you’re looking for a CV template that works then you can email me )...... November 2009
  2. 2. Type the word CV into google and you will receive over 165,000,000 results from various sources all offering different thoughts, views and opinions on how to write the perfect CV. Go on, have a go. It’s hard to know where to start isn’t it. Therefore I am going to make a very big assumption, that with all these resources available, you have already constructed some form of CV, whether it ‘works’ or not. This article is not about CV structures and other basics This article is about value and you will learn how to elevate yourself above the rest of the crowd by creating a CV based around this. Incidentally if you were hoping for advice on structures and other CV basics you can email me and I will send you a CV template that will help you construct a CV that works. You can also visit the CV Guidance section of the Purple House website for additional support. Writing CVs that work
  3. 3. You may well be asking “why is this important to me?” <ul><li>First some stats, courtesy of XpertHR : </li></ul><ul><li>As at August 2009 there are 2.47 million unemployed people in the UK; </li></ul><ul><li>The number of people unemployed for more than 12 months now stands at 599,999; </li></ul><ul><li>Demand for staff experienced a slight fall in September ; </li></ul><ul><li>Online job availability remained largely unchanged for the 5 th consecutive month. </li></ul>I’ve not posted these stats expecting to tell you things you don’t already know . Rather to try and give you some sense of what you are competing against. When things do improve (heavens above!) and more jobs become available, you will still be competing in a fiercely contested jobs market for some time to come. Therefore, standing still just will not work for you. Take action now, create a value based CV and elevate yourself above the rest of the crowd. Writing CVs that work
  4. 4. 1 Learn to think like a hiring manager There are 3 simple rules to apply when creating a value based CV 3 Never underestimate the power of knowing your figures 2 Make sure you fully understand the very big differences between responsibilities and achievements Writing CVs that work
  5. 5. Learn to think like a hiring manager First you need to get yourself into the right frame of mind. Picture yourself in the shoes of the hiring manager, stack of CVs at hand, pen at the ready, To-Do list gathering momentum, desperate to get this position filled so you can ‘move on to more important things’. You are likely to make decisions on these CVs in two main stages. Firstly the initial sift to eliminate those applicants who do not meet the essential skills on the person spec such as qualifications, industry background, number of years in the role, correct level of experience and so on... (I’m making an assumption that you apply to roles where you meet the minimum requirements) OK, so you’ve fairly and equitably rejected those who don’t meet the minimum standards but you still have a number of CVs that do, and you can’t possibly invite them all to interview....can you? Writing CVs that work
  6. 6. Learn to think like a hiring manager (continued) <ul><li>No, of course you can’t. Quick scan of the diary and Tuesday looks good and you’ve got time to meet 3. OK, which CVs do I like the look of ? </li></ul><ul><li>And then it beings....fine toothcomb at the ready.... </li></ul><ul><li>What has this candidate achieved ? </li></ul><ul><li>What was his or her personal contribution ? </li></ul><ul><li>How did this candidate move the company forward ? </li></ul><ul><li>Why should I interview this candidate over this candidate? </li></ul><ul><li>If your CV does not compete then why are you surprised when...... </li></ul>Writing CVs that work
  7. 7. From [email_address] Dear Jobseeker, Many thanks for your recent application. Given the current market we are in the rather fortunate position of being in the driving seat, and therefore have the luxury of choice. However the one luxury we don’t have is time and therefore we have chosen to invite a select few to meet us and talk to us about the job that you really wanted. We will do the right thing and hold on to your CV for the next 6 months. However you and I both know that it’s tough out there, vacancies are few and far between and we would have shortlisted you first time around if your CV had been any good. Good luck elsewhere, The Resourcing Team To [email_address] Subject Your recent application Writing CVs that work
  8. 8. responsibility 1. the state or position of being responsible 2. a person or thing for which one is responsible 3. the ability or authority to act or decide on one's own, without supervision Make sure you fully understand the very big differences between responsibilities and achievements achievement 1. something that has been accomplished by hard work, ability or heroism 2. successful completion; accomplishment Collins English Dictionary Writing CVs that work
  9. 9. <ul><li>It’s incredibly simple and arguably the most dramatic change you can make to your CV. </li></ul><ul><li>Review each and every bullet point on your CV against these two definitions; </li></ul><ul><li>Mark each bullet with either an R or an A and separate them into two distinct groups; </li></ul><ul><li>Keep the R’s that match the essential requirements of the role you are applying for; </li></ul><ul><li>Take a long hard look at the A’s and make sure they: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>have been completed, finished or significantly worked through; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>are positive, successful examples (believe me, you’d be amazed....!); </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>are things that YOU have personally led or had a significant contribution to; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>are achievements that you will be perfectly comfortable discussing at interview. </li></ul></ul>Make sure you fully understand the very big differences between responsibilities and achievements (continued) Writing CVs that work
  10. 10. Never underestimate the power of knowing your figures <ul><li>OK you’ve now worked through your CV and each role now has a set of positively focused achievements attached to them. But you need to take this further, making the achievements more measurable , outcome focused and relating to business success , which is what the hiring manager is concerned with! </li></ul><ul><li>For each A add figures, percentages, margins wherever it is relevant; </li></ul><ul><li>Be confident that the figures are correct and if questioned on them, you can back them up. </li></ul><ul><li>Let’s look at some examples... </li></ul>Writing CVs that work
  11. 11. Never underestimate the power of knowing your figures (continued) Led a team in the successful tender to supply packaging services across Wales. becomes Led a cross organisational team (12) in a successful £1.2m tender to supply packaging services across Wales. As a direct result sales increased by 5% compared to 2007/08 figures. Researched and implemented a successful sickness absence management programme. becomes Won Senior Team approval to lead the implementation of a sickness absence management programme. The programme was implemented at an initial cost of £5k and absences have subsequently fallen by 2% in year one, saving the organisation an initial £75,000 in lost man-hours. Writing CVs that work
  12. 12. So, as a quick summary.... The first step is to put yourself into the shoes of the hiring manager. Take a long hard look at your CV and ask yourself, on the basis of the information I have provided, would I hire me? Next you have to clearly define the differences between your day-to-day responsibilities (i.e. what you are paid for) and your key achievements (i.e. the reasons why your company will never want to let you go!). Finally, you must, wherever humanely possibly and I cannot stress this enough, be able to provide the figures and data that demonstrate measurable outcomes . Writing CVs that work
  13. 13. Great, thanks! My CV have never looked so good , so interviews are now guaranteed, right? Not exactly. Finding a job is never that straightforward. Yet by following these 3 simple rules you have transformed yourself into the type of candidate that hiring managers want to meet – the candidate’s that have achieved , contributed and added value . Writing your CV in this way is also a useful reminder for recognising your own achievements and strengths. It can also generate some great evidence when it comes to talking to your current employer about salary reviews! However don’t forget that your CV still needs to have the basics in place - a good structure, high presentation standards and full of relevant examples to the job you are applying for. Don’t forget, if you need a CV template to help you construct a CV that works then you can email me for a copy. Good luck....and if you have questions get in touch. Writing CVs that work