Updated: Sep 17
Anne-Marie Fox Consulting
"In its 2018 Eye-Tracking Study, Ladders Inc revealed that the time recruiters spend on the initial screen of a resume is up from an average of only six seconds in 2012, but only by about a second. Today's recruiters skim resumes for an average of 7.4 seconds."
It is so important to grab the attention of the recruiters and hiring managers within the first 20 or so words on your CV. I am here to tell you how to write the BEST CV for your next move.
Firstly, do you need a CV or do you need a RESUME? Are they both the same? Why is one called a CV and the other called a Resume?
The actual definitions are as follows
CV – Latin Curriculum Vitae is “the course of one’s life” – this is a detailed description of all the academic activities and accomplishments you have accumulated throughout life since college
Resume – French résumé “summary” – this is a strategic, targeted and concise overview of the most relevant skills and experiences that relate to the particular career or position to which you are applying to.
So, when you are applying for a role that you are interested in, what should you send the company? Do you send them your CV or your Resume?
In Ireland and the UK (most of Europe also) we tend to use CV’s. A CV is typically 2/3 pages long and generally stays the same for any role you apply for, with the additions of a cover letter stating your reason for applying for the job/your skill set etc. Resumes are most commonly used in the US where they are one-page documents tailored for the actual role that you are applying for
Here I am going to focus on getting you the BEST CV possible
How do I put the BEST CV together?
For over 20 years I have reviewed thousands of CV’s and I find that the CLEAN layout and simple structure of the CV is the best way to showcase yourself. CLEAN, SIMPLE. There is no need for fancy fonts, text boxes, Colours etc.
What are the main points that I have seen work on successful CVs?
Layout of the CV
· Same font throughout the whole CV, something like Calibri/Times New Roman in a font of 11 or 12
· For headlines it is ok to make the font slightly larger 14/16 – however keep it to the same font
· Bold text is fine for different sections headings of your CV. Keep away from italics and underline. Don’t used text boxes or coloured text
· Always use a heading to break up each section
· Use straightforward language
Content of the CV
Lets get PERSONAL
· Name, Address (optional), Email, Mobile number
· Social media link – only if it is professional (if including LinkedIn link, ensure it looks as professional as your CV)
· You can also include BSc, MSc, PMP etc
No need to include these details in your personal details
· Martial Status
· Date of birth
What is your BRAND - this is the KEY to having the BEST CV
After your personal details – you can move on to your Personal Profile your BRAND. This is a short 3-5 sentences summary of who you are and why you are the person for the role. This is really such an important step in the process and does need a lot of time to ensure you have it correct. If you remember, a recruiter takes approx. 7 seconds to skim through your CV, you need to GRAB their attention here. The first 20 words of your CV need to be as STRONG as possible and I would say this is the most valuable part of your CV. You can elaborate on this later on in the CV, but this is where you grab their attention.
It needs to be short and snappy. Avoid buzz words like “self-starter” “dynamic” etc. Make sure you have a specific statement outlining your experience and your specialisation. Have a look at a short blog I did previously on your “personal brand” (https://www.amfconsulting.ie/post/what-is-your-personal-brand)
Show me your SKILLS/COMPETENCIES
After your personal brand, here is a good place to list out a number of “Skills” that you have acquired over the years that will be invaluable for the role in question, transferable skills that you can take with you from job to job as well as actually technical skills. Here I would just include a LIST of words ie:
Business: Competency | Competency | Competency | Competency | Competency | Competency | Competency | Competency | Competency | Competency
Technical: Competency | Competency | Competency | Competency | Competency
Are you EDUCATED?
Education can be put before of after your work experience, I generally let the education guide me in this respect.
Only need to include for 3rd level education in the section, you can include other courses at the end of your CV. Limit this to your DEGREE, MASTERS, PHD, Also if you have specific qualifications that lend you more favourably for the role, ie if it is a PM role – have you completed your PMP or something similar?
Now to the Work EXPERIENCE
Remember you are engaging with the recruiter/hiring manager here so…
· Reverse chronological order
· Simple and structured
· No long paragraphs
· To the point
· Include ACHIEVEMENTS after each job you’ve had. IE “Reduced waste by 30%” or “saved the client X amount over a 3 year period” BE proud of your achievements and let it shine through at this point in the CV. It is the one time you can "Show off"
· You can include other courses you have completed throughout your career
· Notable awards you may have received throughout your academic or your career history
· You can also include HOBBIES – I think this is important and shows the hiring manager you have outside interests. Be mindful that if you include a hobby, it really must be a hobby as you may get asked about it in the interview.
· What about volunteer work? Yes, I have seen this in a number of CVs, I don’t think it is necessary, but it is no harm either.
Will I put in a REFEREE?
I have seen CVs with the referees included and not included. I think this is a personal decision, for me I would leave them out and say they can be “Available on request”.
Hope this quick overview helps you guide you in doing up the BEST CV you can do. If you need any help or guidance in this area, feel free to email and I see where I can help you out in this area. Annemarie@amfconsulting.ie for more information.
Anne-Marie Fox Consulting