Writing a CV is tough! One thing that makes it tough is the need to be objective about your own talent and achievements, sometimes, humility can get in the way and this can lead to underselling yourself, in other cases, you may find it hard to keep the content relevant, especially if your career goes back quite a long way – after all, you only have so much page space to sell yourself!
The last thing you want is to leave some of the really valuable content off your CV. So what items do some people omit from their CV that could make the difference between an invite to an interview and a depressing ‘copy and paste’ rejection letter?
In addition to all the normal information you should include in your CV: Contact Information, Career History, Qualifications and so forth, here are 7 items of value that definitely belong on your CV.
The first thing that a potential employer wants to know is ‘What is in it for me?’ In other words..’What will you do for the company that will impact positively on profits, savings, brand development and so on?’
Don’t leave it up to the reader of your CV to try and work out what you bring to the table. Tell them in language they can understand, namely: Cash amounts; percentages; reductions in time spent and resource waste elimination, you’ve guessed it, you’re going to have to brag about your accomplishments.
‘I can’t remember all this information!’ I hear you say, and I agree, it is hard to keep track of this kind of information, so time to dig out the last five years’ worth of performance appraisals!
Unless you are making a sideways move into a similar role with a different firm, then you need to tell the reader about how you are going to make the transition into the role you are interested in.
A great example of where this is essential is when leaving the Armed Forces. Unless the recruiter has a military background, they may not understand the scope of your role as Movement Controller or a Logistic Supply Specialist, it is up to you to convert the experience you gained into ‘civvy-speak’!
When I worked for the UK government, I was sent on dozens of courses and developmental training sessions, I can’t even remember half of these course names, and some of this is now obsolete, but there is a handful that is very relevant to what I do now.
Likewise, you may have attended a bazillion courses in your time, but you should only pick the training that is most relevant for your next role to include in your CV.
If you have worked in Sales, maybe you were ‘Salesman of the Year 2015’; that belongs on your CV [certainly if you are continuing in Sales].
You should also include contributions that you have made that led to your company or organisation attracting a vital industry accreditation, especially if you were a key contributor!
In the geographical area that I live and work, it is not unusual to see job advertisements that include ‘Must speak…[insert one of up to eight or nine languages]’ – obviously, there is a significant section of the community who’s first language is not English.
I was asked to present a CV workshop in a local school a couple of years back to Year 10. In that class, most of the pupils spoke at least two, some three, four and even five languages fluently.
The greater portion of the community you can reach makes you a highly valued employee.
For some jobs, the best way to get your foot on the ladder is by volunteering. I’m not going to provide a list.
Also, anyone who has found themselves out of work for some time decide to volunteer their time whilst looking for work as a great way to prevent a gap in their CV from widening.
Some volunteer work is going to be more relevant to your future than others, but my message here is that if you are a volunteer of some kind…you should definitely consider adding it to your CV!
OK, so the amount of people who are published, or who have a couple of patents to their name are a little bit harder to find. Or are they? I did some work very recently for a lady with over 20 patents [she was published too…such talent!!]
It is impressive, and says an awful lot about your value, so include this if possible!
That is seven to be going on with, but you could add to this [depending on relevance of course], special driving licences; extra-curricular activity whilst at college or university [aim for fairly recent]; Internships, especially if you were recognised for excellence and you also need to scour your hobbies and interests, but…and this is vital, only consider whether this adds to your value as a potential hire.
You do have to put quite a bit of work into this, but the dividends are worth it. I always say [and please excuse me for being repetitive], the more work that goes into your CV, the harder your CV will work for you.
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