‘Writing’ a CV that will get the ‘OK’ from a busy recruiter requires good sentence structure, pertinent content, concise but informative descriptions, a logical sequence of information and good presentation. Most students and graduates can achieve this with a little help. However ‘creating’ a ‘stellar’ CV, involves four additional steps to more fully engage the reader’s head and heart, intellect and emotions.
The first step is carefully crafting and editing the content with the intention of demonstrating your writing ability; not to write an essay but to communicate information effectively, and professionally to a real person with their information needs and reading enjoyment ‘top of mind’. The second step is being mindful of how most people scan and then read documents, particularly when they are under time pressure and looking for specific information. The third is creating a ‘reader experience’. Almost like a piece of theatre, your CV should produce a positive emotional response – hopefully feelings of approval and empathy. The final step is to express something of your personality and who you are so that they become invested enough to want to meet you. Are you kind, honest, or creative? A leader, a socializer, an enabler, or an entrepreneur?
Adding these four ‘layers’ to your CV is guaranteed to get you interviews. Even adding one or two will create a more impressive piece of communication. It’s always very exciting for me as a Careers Consultant to read a great CV and conversely, disappointing to read a CV that I know will fail to impress or would even cause embarrassment to the writer if they were present as recruiters reviewed and commented on their CV.
Here’s an opportunity now to laugh (cringe or cry) at a catalogue of ‘CV bloopers’ collected by UK recruitment company, Coburg Banks. The bloopers you’ll read were all avoidable and will have resulted in a rather brutal encounter with a paper shredder.