Don’t get me wrong. Job descriptions are awesome and I absolutely love them. They outline and structure business processes and describe your areas of responsibility, not to mention they are full of the buzzwords you need to bring to your CV. However writing a quality CV takes more than copying job ads or job descriptions from the job boards.
So, here are a few tips:
1. It is all about you and what you did.
We want to know what YOU were doing. Therefore, when describing your responsibilities, the vague phrases as ‘organization of processes’, ‘general improvement’, ‘responsible for’ – don’t work.
Instead, you need to start every sentence with an active verb – Implemented, developed, achieved, launched, oversaw – and expand on how exactly you did it.
Launched marketing strategy by developing and designing content and introducing a system of differentiation based on customer segmentation which resulted in a +24% open rate.
2. It’s all about context and scale.
When a hiring manager considers whether a candidate is going to be a right fit for the job, the first thing he needs to understand is the scale of operations within their role. Hence, it might make sense to pay attention to a few things:
– Write a few words about the company or/and the division you worked for. State the scale of the company (national, international, S&M), mention goods/services the company produces and include a link to their website.
– Describe the scale of the project/job you were doing (longevity, resources, the nature and the purpose of the assignment).
– Describe your workload – if you were talking to customers then how many per day, if you were writing technical documentation how many pages on average etc.
3. It’s not about assuming.
It is a good idea to decipher abbreviations and acronyms and not hope that a recruiter will guess the meaning or understand that particular industry term. Of course, there are quite specific and well-recognised terms (ITIL, HTML, and FMCG) but P/P for example might mean Policies and Procedures, Production Planning, Private Party and Puzzle Pirates 😉
4. It’s also about tools.
If you did research or was in charge of reporting we want to understand how you gathered information, what tools you were using to process and store it, how you presented reports.
5. It’s all about results.
Some people might think that only sales people can present results in the way they look worth mentioning in CV. However, you need to think how what you did helped the process or the team you worked with. Hence it’s a good idea to add at the end of every sentence describing your responsibilities ‘which resulted in…’, ‘which facilitated…’, ‘which optimized…’.
6. Is it all about achievements?
As recruiters, we often see people desperately trying to outline their achievements in CVs. Let’s see if that works:
· Enacted daily one on one policy to coach and develop team members. –Does it look like an achievement to you? Not really. Let’s paraphrase
· Responsible for daily one on one polices to coach and develop team members. – Now it’s a line from a job description/job ad.
So, in order to make it look like a real achievement you need to mention the indicator which would demonstrate your high performance – Implemented a daily one on one coaching policy to promote a 15% increase in sales for team members.
Responsibility: Developed tailored business solutions for global companies to measure the success of marketing and communications initiatives.
Achievement: Developed new tailored global CRM solution for a major multimillion dollar IT client; Solution measured the success of email and e-news campaigns and increased sales results by 12.5%.
Responsibility: Attended top 5 industry trade shows to promote company products, meet new and existing prospects, and network with like-minded professionals.
Achievement: Attended top 5 industry trade shows which resulted in ~$90,000 in net new sales & $45,000 in additional sales to existing clients 36x ROI.
7. It’s all about skills and profile.
It makes absolute sense to start your CV with a short presentation (profile) and a summary of skills you have. What is important about this part of your CV is to minimize fluff and list only relevant skills. Also when you describe your skills in a summary – don’t let them hang as self-proclaimed catch phrases, bring examples on how you can prove you have these skills.
Profile examples to compare:
· I am enthusiastic professional with solid communication and problem solving skills, a dedicated team player with a can-do attitude.
· An enthusiastic professional with 10+ years of experience in Digital Marketing including Content and Social Media Marketing and Advertising obtained through work across FMCG and Healthcare sectors in a range of international companies operating in APAC region.
Summary examples to compare:
Summary of skills #1
· Strategic Marketing
· Digital Campaigns
· Brand Management
Summary of skills #2
· Digital campaigns – in 4 years I developed and implemented 30+ promotional digital and media campaigns, generating 37% growth of customer conversion and retention.
· Strategic marketing – Designed and implemented strategic marketing campaigns for launching self-check-out system in Valueland supermarkets, resulting in an increase in the ratio of self-check-out system, accounting for 20% of all supermarket sales.
· Brand management – Successfully implemented a new strategy for launching gourmet niche stores under a new brand leveraging media, which brought in produce of Euro 20 m in national sales.
· Study the job ads
· Define Knowledge, Skills and Abilities (KSA) employers are looking for
· Extract key words/phrases
· Study your CV
· Decide what of your KSA is more and less important for this position
· Get rid of all personal and transferable skills which are not mentioned in the job ads OR cannot be supported with examples
· Start your CV with Profile and Summary of skills so they will reflect KSA and add Key words. Profile and Summary needs to be brief and high pitched, so it will make people want to read the rest of your CV
· Do your Professional Experience part ensuring that when listing your professional responsibilities you mention results of your actions, scale of operations, tools you used, how the company benefited from your activities
· Send your CV and get a job!