Get a Marmite CV...

By Martin Ellis

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I have long held the view that people need to be a little braver with their CV's. Far too many people write their CV so it offends nobody. Trouble is, it attracts nobody either. Bland is simply not good enough.......

Recently a candidate sent me their CV. They were struggling to make a connection and get invited to interviews. Actually, their CV was rather good. It looked clean and modern. It contained facts and achievements. But...the personal profile was 8 lines of predictable and bland management-speak: "A talented ..........with extensive experience and a proven track record ...... Results driven, taking great pride in delivering exceptional service.... Detail oriented, analytical and resourceful with acute commercial acumen and an inherent talent ....... Possesses outstanding interpersonal, communication and negotiation skills ...... Thrives under pressure......." You get my drift. But it didn't get his! This was a peanut butter CV - fine, but hardly spectacular. When I spoke with him, he had bags of energy and enthusiasm. I suggested he make it more punchy and direct.

He changed it to: "I seek a role in a company, where I can be recognized for my results, achieved by creative reasoning and big picture thinking. I drive to make things happen, and as a self-directed and self-motivated professional, I can lead teams by transmitting my enthusiasm, paired with my strong determination and natural and persuasive management style. I mix method, creativity and ability to solve problems, normally focused on high level of service and win-win results"

In one week he had 5 new employment connections with the real prospect of interviews. A massive improvement.

You may argue that his second version contains predictable language, but it does so with more energy and with half the words - less is very often more.

I'm very pleased his prospects are much better. He deserves it.

But, the rest of you, please recognise the value of your opening statement. This guy didn't take too many risks, but he took some, and they paid off. You can read more about how to write an opening statement if you CLICK HERE (and at the bottom of that article are more details about how to write up your career achievements, your skills, your career and how to add those important finishing touches - the devil, they say, is in the detail)

Marmite works because it gets a reaction - good or bad - but it gets a reaction. Your CV should do the same.

(If you're not from the UK you may not understand about Marmite. It is a strong, salty, brown goo to be spread on toast. It is an aquired taste! Learn more about Marmite - CLICK HERE)

If anybody needs a draft CV format, I'll happily send one along (no charge) if you email me at


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