Creating a Winning CV

Creating a Winning CV

If you’d like to get your foot in the door with your dream company, you need a winning CV that represents you in the best way possible.

Your CV is one of the most important marketing tools in your job search and you only have one chance to make that all important first impression. Particularly as most employers spend just a few seconds scanning each CV before sticking it in the ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ pile.

Your CV acts as the all-important first impression to your future employer. With the right layout, content, style, and length, you will be much more successful in securing an interview. Without it however, you may go unnoticed in a sea of applicants.

There are no set rules to CV writing; however, by following our tips and adapting your CV sensibly to suit your circumstances, you will create a highly effective CV that will maximise your chances of securing interviews!

Before putting pen to paper, regardless of whether you are an entry level candidate or seasoned working professional, all winning CVs should be tailored to the role and type of business you are applying for. For your application and interest in the role to be read as genuine, you should always: research the business you are applying to, read (and understand) the job description, and tailor your language and content to the opportunity itself.

The one-page résumé is not popular in the UK market, so keep your CV to two pages.

TIP: Make sure you start with your name clearly at the top – not the words Curriculum Vitae!

This means starting with your most recent career role and then working backwards chronologically. Remember to follow this through all areas such as education i.e., most recent studies will also appear at the top.

Use your CV to create a strong sales pitch on yourself, relevant to the job you are applying for. Stick to quality over quantity and keep it around three lines. Focus each past role on the relevant specific experiences you’ve gained (including sectors) and skills, rather than unsubstantiated value judgements (e.g., effective communicator, strong leader, flexible team member).

Do not produce another generic CV – create a strong personal brand that is appropriate to the marketplace.

Details of your work history, achievements, accountabilities, qualifications, e-mail, and mobile are wanted – not your life story.

Simplicity is the key. Leave plenty of white space and appropriately use headings. Try to avoid the tempting jazzy templates available online, although they may look nice, they can distract from you and the important stuff! The only time we would recommend exploring a more ‘fun’ CV is for creative industries and roles.

No errors or irrelevancies please. Remember, companies do reference checks, so keep all the information you provide honest and accurate.

Supporting correspondence should be short, stating position applied for and matched with your skills, competencies and experience requested. If you are submitting your winning CV on a speculative basis, a more depth about your match with the organisation’s need is required.

Include a personal statement. Use this section to express something of your personality and help the company get a feel for you as a person but keep this section brief and factual. A CV is designed to reflect, rationalise and refine (not to tell a detailed life story!)

Your CV is simply to get you to the interview stage – don’t over think it. Make a good first impression, relate your experience to the role you are applying for and work from there!

This requires research into individual companies and roles to understand what they value. Be prepared to tailor your basic CV to the specific needs of each application. Remember to capitalise on the language of the job advert and what it tells you about your recruiter’s priorities. Make sure you speak their language.

Be specific about your experience and areas of expertise. Take time to sift out what is not needed to create a winning CV sales document.

  • It may be of value to include a brief summary of the nature and size of the companies you have worked for
  • Quantify and qualify your achievements – be clear about the ‘added value’ that they highlight – why should the recruiter hire you?
  • Give figures, names of other companies and customers etc. to indicate your calibre and field of operation
  • Demonstrate your impact – write to influence. Less is more – use action words “Managed, Created, Led, Initiated, Inspired, Championed, Delivered…….etc.” and avoid using “I” Always write in the third person and use the past tense
  • Use job titles and terminology that make sense to the reader – avoid jargon

Comments from the team

If you are interested in gaining advice from any of our consultants or discussing potential opportunities within FMCG they would love to chat.

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