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CV writing

Writing a CV should take you 1 to 2 days to complete to the right standard.

You are not competing against other people at this stage you are competing against pieces of paper, fliers, posters, leaflets, advertisements that happen to sell people not objects.

Try this exercise. Think of the words, sentences you would use to sell your house, town, car, holiday resort, restaurant, local attraction, ornament etc. to a stranger. Then write a sales pitch for a few of these or for any of your own choosing. This will get you in the right frame of mind for selling things objectively. Spend a good hour doing this.

What do you have to do if you want to sell anything? Talk it up, embellish, catch the eye, draw people in, make the object desirable, not boring or conservative.

Now do the same for yourself. Sell yourself objectively. Now sell all the previous jobs you’ve had. Spend a good couple of hours doing this.

You are ready to write the perfect CV.

Header
Name, address, telephone numbers and email address. That’s all the personal information required and I mean all. Don’t put CV or Curriculum Vitae.

Professional Summary
The ‘Professional Summary’ is the most important part of you CV. It appears on the first page, after the Header, just where the eye naturally comes to rest on a page. This is your Sales pitch; this is your opportunity to impress. It has to be slick, appealing and easy to read, to make the reader want to read on. Use the sentences you wrote in the exercise above. The summary sets the tone for the rest of document; whatever you put in here must be backed up by the rest of the CV.

The summary should contain 4 or 5 sentences that are tailored towards the job you are applying for and that summarizes your experience, abilities and skills to undertake that role.

The first sentence should state the position you applying for and perhaps any relevant experience in the market, e.g.
‘Highly successful Sales Executive with experience in …’
‘Experienced Senior Analyst Programmer with a flexible approach to problem solving and extensive knowledge of …’

The other sentences should positively state your abilities relevant to the job requirements advertised e.g.
Project Manager - ‘Able to take a project through its full life cycle identifying business opportunities, issues and threats and providing cost effective solutions’
Business Analyst - ‘Very experienced at gathering customer requirements and comfortable communicating with staff at all levels within a company, including technical teams’.

You need to spend time honing this section so it trips off the tongue.

Achievements
After your Professional Summary, if you have enough relevant experience, detail 5 or 6 factual items showing your achievements. This is about what you achieved as an individual and how the company benefited financially e.g.
‘Cut overheads at company x by 10% through negotiating a new phone contract, electricity supplier' etc;
‘Re-organised the warehouse to increase efficiency and the throughput of customers resulting in an annual increase in sales of x amount’;
‘Top salesperson at company x for 2 years, exceeding annual sales targets by 20%’

The employer will be very keen for you to come and do the same for them.

Work Experience
Put in your significant achievements if not listed already, detail some of your major responsibilities. Use bullet points, keep to short sentences, put in your best positive sentences from the exercise above, especially in the most recent jobs. Don’t ramble on. Don’t be repetitive

Education/Training/Knowledge
Make sure you list everything relevant to the job.

That’s the CV completed.

Read this article in conjunction with CV Dos and Don’ts and Success at Interviews