How To Create A Winning CV
We’re going to break this down into a series of blog posts, so that before you start your job search you will already have a great looking CV. This will be your one window of opportunity to grab the attention of a potential employer.
To differentiate yourself from all the other applicants and be the one chosen to meet and demonstrate your skills, experience and personal attributes in a face to face meeting (more about that later), and not be the one who is popped into “other” pile or rescinded to the deleted items as they couldn’t see why you’d add value to the business for that job.
Let’s start with the CV. This is where on “paper” you want to show the employer who you are, the skills you bring with you, your experience and your abilities and potential.
I hear you moan “it’s so difficult, it’s so hard to know what to write”, well in my experience it’s not that hard. Once you know what we’re looking for, it appears that jobseekers are able to document appropriate skills, experience and achievements AND consequently improve their CV’s substantially.
So we thought, let’s share this knowledge with all the job speakers who I haven’t yet spoken with, so here you go… let’s get some quality CV’s written!
First, let’s forget for the moment about how pretty it looks. Let’s focus on the content (like all things digital, it’s all about the content – it’s not how much you write about yourself, but what you write!).
Start with your PERSONAL PROFILE – this is 2, maybe 3 paragraphs outlining who you are professionally.
This is where you might say you’ve got a Degree or a Masters, what channels you’ve got experience in, whether you’ve managed a team, got specific industry experience, how many years you bring with you; making it all specific to you and your own experience – with none of the generalist terminology that could apply to Tom, Dick and Harry! More about this in another post Follow this up with key points of note, such as:
- Where you’ve been published with links to your articles (if you’re online PR / Outreach)
- Your achievement against target and the industries you’ve sold into (if you’re in sales)
- That you’re AdWords Certified and working with multimillion pound budgets per month (if you’re PPC)
- A link to your own website, portfolio (if you’re a developer) your Social Media profiles (especially if you’re in Social Media), your blog
All of these give an insight into the depth with which you’re in the industry, a peek into the techniques you employ and the interests you have.
A sub title of SKILLS AND TOOLS is helpful to denote to the employer what you’re already well versed in. i.e. what social media tools you use to manage and monitor. What channels, in addition to your main focus, are you accomplished in and to what level? This also gives the employer a heads-up as to what you already bring with you as opposed to having to start from scratch. Can you code? Do you know html to a basic level or are you already advanced?
Although this might not be part of your job as Social Media Exec, for example, it’s always great to know what else you bring to the table in hiring this person!
Big heading next – it’s your PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE. This is a complete summary for your career to date (most recent first). Don’t pick and choose what you feel is relevant and leave out what you don’t like!
All your work has to be accounted for. For all I know, if there is a 2-year gap in your career, I might guess that you’ve been sitting on the sofa at home watching GoogleBox, when in actual fact you were on a succession of digital marketing internships, with prominent employers in London – Tell us by listing it on your CV, don’t leave it out!
Similarly, if you were managing 2 Execs, publishing 14 posts a month and increased the traffic by 600% – tell me. It’s achievements like this that differentiate you from every other applicant for the job and if it says it there in black and white on your CV, it’s more likely you’d get chosen for a job, rather than having to guess whether or not you’ve done it.
We all know what a Social Media Manager does, don’t list out every little responsibility you’ve had like a job description – instead tell me what you’ve achieved, what makes your role different from everyone else’s. What budget do you have? What channels to you operate on? Do you liaise with an agency or is it all published by you? Etc. Etc.
Do this for each and every job / role you’ve held. Those further back in your career can be shorted as it’s the most recent which are the most relevant. Also if you were promoted during your time in a company, list out the dates and the two different jobs – not only does it show that someone else had recognised your potential by promoting you, but also that you have the ability to grow and evolve in your career, taking on more responsibility.
Then we’re onto EDUCATION & QUALIFICATIONS. Here you want to specifically list industry accreditations like CIM or Google Analytics, Google Squared Online etc. As well as your earlier academia. Make sure you highlight (BOLD) the qualification, not the institution. Along with your A Levels, AS Levels, GCSE’s. For some, this is a long time ago – for others this was almost yesterday. No matter when, just make sure they’re accurate and note the year they were completed.
INTERESTS is the final part, giving the employer an even briefer snap shot into who you are outside the workplace. You may find there is some crossover, but here we’re looking for the insight into who you are on a personal basis; to hear about your love for baking, your passion for fashion, that you’re a keen sportsman or focused on becoming a MAMIL (look it up, I had to!).
My suggestion is not to state the fickle but perhaps think carefully about the jobs you’re applying for, and if there is any correlation between your home life loves and your work loves, put these in but otherwise do show us what you genuinely love.
Employers hire not only your experience but also think about who they’re hiring, the teams they’re building and love people who are individuals. A couple stand out people (you know who you are) made and collected miniature doll house furniture, whereas another is a hobby drone enthusiast who is highly skilled at emergency landings.
Another plays violin in the National Youth and another is an avid follower of sports, in fact part of a local football team, where he was fortunate enough to be awarded Supporter’s Player and Player’s Player of the year at the annual awards ceremony (see what he did here?). The employer now thinks not only is he a “team player” but he’s a proactive participant, going above and beyond expectation! Clever wasn’t he.
Made these CV changes and are now ready to take it to market? Hiring and need our help? The clockworkTalent team are just a phone call / email away: HERE