CV Writing: short stories

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009 - CV format, CV Help, CV Template, CV Writing, Job Application

CV Writing: short stories

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This is part of our series on How To Write A CV

Many people when trying CV Writing for themselves, get confused about how to create an effective piece of what is personal marketing. They often worry or concern themselves primarily with CV Layout, CV Structure, or Spelling and English Grammar in creating a Professional CV. This focus results in them missing or neglecting the meaty bit that the employer really wants – the combination of Skills, Qualifications and Experiences you have, and how you have deployed them for (business/market/people etc) results. However, once they get past all that other stuff – which is rightly highlighted by many Professional CV Writers as it allows the reader to easier access and consume the content – I often find that in CV Writing, the biggest problem is that many people do not know what they want to do, let alone what they have achieved. The cure actually is quite simple, and it involves writing a series of short stories.

CV Writing outcome?

The outcome of good CV Writing is eventually a new job. But the stage after submitting a well written CV is the Telephone Interview, followed by the Physical Interview which is most often in a Behavioural Interview form. Understanding this, what are the keys and underlying principles of the Behavioural Interview form? For those who don’t yet know, Behavioural Interviews put the candidate in a situation, and probe around the edges of what they saw, how they reacted, and why they choose to do what they did. They show the in deployment action of your combination of Skills, Qualifications and Experiences. Hence, placing stories in your CV achieves two objectives:

  1. It shows your SQE combination in action, and hence gives you a stronger platform to support your claims
  2. It gives the interviewer a series of leads towards areas of your work experience which they can quickly probe. It hence focuses them on your strengths, and gently guides them away from weaknesses

CV Writing Help

When I start with a Professional CV client who is unsure of what they want to do, or who has what on reading is a weak CV, I ask them to write six short stories about highlights in their career. These should focus on STAR deployment, supplemented by a bit of good historian based Who, Where, What, When, Why. We have a useful aide memoir prompt sheet for this, which you can download by joining our weekly Newsletter:
Often, the story writing scenario takes at least two rounds. Why? Because once they complete one set of stories, they will have either remembered or mentioned a situation where they deployed a skill which is a highly needed requirement in the current employment market: that’s a key side benefit of employing a recruiter to create your CV for you! Secondly, we want to create a broad set of stories which not only pose your SQE combination in context, but also answer some of the key questions you will be posed in interview stage, such as: resolving conflict with a college/customer; managing a team; creating a solution; spotting a market opportunity; cutting a budget. The breadth of stories varies with skill set, and the job that is being sought: the people interaction, and business/people management could be considered universal; technical or specialist skills sets and hence resulting stories vary greatly. But before starting CV Writing, you want a set of around six to ten stories, which now serve two uses:

  1. They become the base information for writing your Professional CV
  2. They form part of your Job Search Toolkit, and hence aide memoirs to be read before an interview

Professional CV Writing

CV Writing need not be complex or tiresome, but it does need to communicate you, your uniqueness, and your combination of applied Skills, Qualifications and Experiences. If you start like many with the structure in the form of a template and then fill it with content – many just replace what the CV Templates have inserted in them, some foolishly yes use what the templates already have inserted – then you will most likely end up with something non-engaging and rejected. If you have a job application to interview ratio of less than 1 in 10, then positive SQE communication is probably at least half of the problem.

If you start with the raw material first – you and your applied experiences, mentally written down in a positive form – then CV Writing becomes much, much easier. This approach also leads through to positivity in the whole job application process, which results in getting a job far quicker.

Good Luck!


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