CV, resume, curriculum vitae, whatever you call it, start thinking of it as a product description. The only difference being that a CV is describing a person not a product.
Imagine you’re going to buy a new laptop and you visit a large shop that has a wide range available. Your first step would be to look at the models on display and read the little cards detailing their key functions. Based upon what you read, you may then decide to go online and read customer reviews as well as speaking to the salesperson to ask questions.
Using this analogy, think of yourself as the model, your CV is the description card and your LinkedIn profile, including any recommendations and endorsements, acts as the customer reviews and salesperson.
Therefore, what this should tell you is, your CV should be short and succinct. The further detail can be sought out later if the employer likes what they see in your CV. You wouldn't read an entire user manual before purchasing the product, so don't provide a whole autobiography, just the selected highlights.
Let’s see what needs to be included at the start of your CV…
Your name - Unbelievably, I’ve been shown a CV to check that didn’t have the person’s name on it! This should go without saying that your name is an essential part of your CV. It should be prominently positioned at the top of your CV ideally, in a larger font than the rest of your CV. Feel free to get creative here as long as you make sure it can be easily read. Don’t feel that you need to write your full name including middle names, this isn’t a passport application. Use whatever name you go by in everyday life.
Basic contact details only – An up to date phone number and email address are essential. Your home address is actually an optional element, especially if you’re applying for jobs in an area where you don’t currently live. Use an email address that makes you sound professional and employable. Some people even sign up for a free email account that they only use for job applications.
Your professional online presence - Most employers will Google you, so save them some time and effort by signposting them to the sites you want them to see. Include your LinkedIn and myGwork profiles as well links to any websites or online portfolio pages you have.
Personal statement – Make this unique, brief and relevant. It should say who you are, your suitability for the role and your career goals and aims. Aim for a maximum of 4 sentences and between 50 and 200 words. Do not neglect this section. It’s often the first and, if not done well, the last section an employer looks at. This should not be a generic statement that could have been written by anyone. It needs to be personal and specific to you and targeted at the role and employer you’re sending your CV to.
Example - this is an example of what the start of my CV would look like. You’ll notice that I haven’t included absolutely everything I do in my current job roles, I have instead highlighted specific parts of my roles which showcase my writing and researching skills. This is because this CV would be aimed at a potential employer for a writing job.
In its entirety, this profile if 75 words long within just 3 sentences.
Several key skills have been mentioned including: proof-reading, researching, challenging, writing and content creation. All of these relate directly to writing roles as opposed to the other work I do.
I've written this one in the first person, but you have the choice of writing your's in first or third person depending on which you feel most comfortable with.
In part 2 of this series of CV blog posts, we’ll look at how to make the most of your skills and experience on your CV.
If you have a CV already written that you want me to check, please go to my shop on queercareers.com and select CV Check. If you would like me to write your new CV for you, please select the appropriate CV Writing option in my shop.