I’ve sent out thousands of CVs to hundreds of companies and this gives me a good feel for what does and doesn’t matter on a CV.
I start judging a candidate from the very first interaction which is often the receipt of the CV and I know most of my clients do the same. For this reason I send unaltered CVs to my clients as I feel this is an important part of the selection process.
Don’t assume a recruiter will “fix” your CV before it’s read by the hiring manager
You have no place to hide on your CV. Everything can and will be analysed, referenced and researched.
Above all else, your CV needs to be accurate and honest
Most companies are driven by profit and hire people who support that objective. Profit is revenue minus expense.
Some positions are easy to analyze in this way. For example, sales people maximize revenue and buyers minimize costs. But what about administrators and quality controllers? With a little bit of thought it’s easy to work out that all employees affect profit, either directly or indirectly. This understanding needs to reflect on your CV.
If the prime objective of a business is to make profit, your CV must show how you can support that objective
Sales reps are easy to analyse in this way. If the company pays 10 000 then the sales rep should generate revenue of more than 10 000.
A Buyer can present numbers to show how he or she reduced costs (e.g. “organized a 3% discount by combining purchases”).
Employees who aren’t directly involved with revenue generation or cost control need to demonstrate how they support that ends up in making the company better (or more profitable). Always keep in mind that the company is not going to employ you to decrease revenue or increase costs!.
You have to show on your CV how you can add value
Past behaviour is often a reliable indicator of future behaviour so a person who has added value to a previous employer is likely to add value to future employers.
Your CV should show TANGIBLE PROOF of adding value to previous employers
This is easy for a sales rep. “My previous company paid me 10 000. My profit contribution was $50 000. I was definitely a good investment”. It’s not so easy to quantify for support positions but the more you understand the concept the better you will be at bringing it over.
- An administrator can define his or her worth by saying, for example “before I joined the company my boss did not have the time to review monthly sales figures. Since joining I have freed up his time to the extent that company sales have increased 300% simply because my boss has more time to devote to the things that matter”
- A construction manager can point out that “the initial project cost was 80m and I brought the project in 3 month’s early at a budget saving of 16%”. The construction manager can also say that he or she decreased staff turnover from 25% to 5% which resulted in a saving 15% on the training budget.
You need to show on your CV how much value you can to a potential employer based on past performance. The more actual facts you can present and the easier you make it to understand, the better.
Oh, and did I mention that you should avoid lying or over-estimating your worth. Keep it factual and wherever possible show tangible evidence. In my experience when people make outrageous claims on their CVs I always check the facts and if I uncover one untruth or over-elaboration then the candidate is blown and goes no further.
Be prepared to support any and all claims you make on your CV
A last comment is that your CV is a journal of your actual career. In order to get a great CV you have to do the work.
Every day should start with you saying “how am I going to add value?”