Professional CV Tips

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010 - CV Tips


Professional CV Tips

When it comes to giving Professional CV Tips, the answer is always to keep it simple, and concentrate as much on the Professional CV as the CV Tips which focus on you and the process used for choosing which jobs to apply for and then the job application process.

We have covered CV Basics in a previous post, so will address here the main points of Professional CV Writing, which are expanded further in the article How to Write a Professional CV.

Firstly, make sure you know who you are and what you want to do. You can not start CV Writing if you do not know what your Skills, Qualifications and Experiences are, and particularly if you do not know what you want to do. Use our CV Stories sheet for creating the SQE material you can include in your CV, and our Elevator Pitch book to create a compelling I know what I want to do story for your ideal next career position

Secondly, do not worry about CV Format initially, but content. If you can not remember your work history, then chat to friends who may have a better memory than yours! You do not need to remember exact titles – in fact, when writing out your eventual CV, it is easier for the reader to have descriptive over actual position titles. The key in the early stages of creating a professional CV is what did you do (Skills, Qualifications and Experiences), and what did you achieve?

Thirdly, once you have down a chronological list of positions, plus associated Skills, Qualifications, Experiences and Achievements, you need to turn these into a series of STAR format stories. Many job seekers looking to write Professional CV’s search for information about CV Layout or even CV Templates. But a good Professional CV is primarily about content and how it is communicated, and then secondly how the job is applied for; over CV Layout or CV Format. A STAR CV Format states for each position the: Situation, the Task set, the Action taken and the final RESULT. Hence, a STAR CV Format will show application of your Skills, rather a simplistic listing.

Having completed your STAR CV Format stories, now in step four read them back. In their raw format you may have included some things that should not or do not need to be included. Hence you should never include in any Professional CV: any reasons for not liking you last job or boss, or any reasons for dismissal. You should never on legal discriminatory grounds include any comments on your health, age, ability or sexual preference. Further, never include on any notes or explanations for periods of unemployment that you have been in jail or suffered long term health issues. Also, beware of CV Security, so never include: your full name, your full address, your National Insurance number or passport. Unless you are an actor, or an artiste in the creative fields, never include a photograph!

Step five may come as a surprise, but I recommend that once you have completed your STAR stories, that you think about who could verify these accomplishments? You should never lie in a Professional CV, and hence step five is to find your CV References. References at such an early stage may seem a strange step, but the most successful job seekers have their references lined up before making a job application. If your references are willing to verify your accomplishments openly – I suggest you test this initially by getting them to recommend you on a social network like LinkedIn – then they will happily state the same story in a job reference. In the eyes of the employer, if you can not verify a position and your accomplishments, then at best the claim is questionable, and at worst dismissed – much like your job application, at which ever stage of the employment process you are.

Now in the sixth step, we can focus on Professional CV Layout. There are three choices of CV layout: reverse chronological, skills based, or combination. Most people presently use a combination format, opening with a Personal Statement, then a short list of key skills, followed by the reverse chronological insertion of the STAR CV Format you created in Step three. Those in technical based fields or where minimum skill and qualification levels define progression should concentrate on making sure their skills list reflects what the job advert of the particular job they are applying for is reflected. If you are changing career paths from one industry to another, then a skills-based CV Format will nominally be a better choice.

In the sixth step, I suggested that the ideal CV Format for a modern Professional CV included a Personal Statement. There is a lot of debate in the recruitment and employment community about whether to include a personal statement, and if so to what format. But, I personally known as both a recruiter and CV Writer that a personal statement will have the effect of both engaging the reader as well as making them read your whole CV through: and that is what you want them to do! Hence on the seventh step, write your personal statement in the format: I am; I do/deliver; I seek.

Step eight is pretty simple: edit your Professional CV! Now that it has come together, concentrate on clarity of communication and the English language. Your CV should be no longer than two pages, plus an option third with a complete of qualifications, certificates and institutions. Read it through, and make sure that the spelling is right and the grammar correct.

Step nine is to get some CV Help. Ask at least three friends – one of whom should be female – to read your CV through and make comments. If you have a friend who works in HR or who regularly employs people, then get them also to read through your CV. We also provide a free CV Review service, complete with a check of your Social Media profile. You should undertake steps eight and nine every time you make changes to your actual CV, so that you know it is the Best CV you can produce.

Step ten is simply to apply for jobs. You can improve your Professional Cv at this stage by focusing on the particular job you are applying for, by removing any irrelevant information, and expanding specific skills or experiences that the job requires. Your job application should always answer the question indirectly: Why should I employ you? When applying, watch out for the higher rejection ratios that comes with applying for job listed on job boards, and always include a Cover Letter.

I hope you found these Professional CV Tips useful, and that you are employed soon – Good Luck!

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One Response to “Professional CV Tips”

  1. Clendenon Says:

    nice post!

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