How To Write A Knock-Out CV
As a recruiter, I see so many CVs per day that you’d hope I’d know what a great one looks like by now. In focusing solely on freelance, contract and temp roles, I see so many variations of an Interim CV daily that work in their own right that I couldn’t tell you what THE perfect CV looks like. The reality is there isn't one model which works for every industry, or person. I can, however, identify the kind of CV that’s going to get you an interview, and the ones that aren’t.
1. Keyword Optimisation
Ever heard of ‘keyword optimisation’? We’ve all seen the tricks; write it in white at the end of your CV so you show up in relevant searches. But I can tell you if I don’t see ‘delegate sales’, ‘speaker acquisition’ or ‘operations’ big and bold on your CV, I might fly right by it.
2. Relevant Rankings and Tailored Content
There’s an argument I have with myself regarding the importance of your most recent role being front and centre, and the most relevant role taking stage. Don’t get me wrong, if the only relevant role you have was 10 years ago, this may not work. But for me, if you’ve been doing a contract for the past few months in a slightly less relevant sector, and prior to that you’ve worked on some super relevant projects, I want to see this first. I know it’s almost a pre-requisite by now, but tailor your CV to the role and to your audience!
3. First Impressions Matter
For me, it’s all about where you’ve worked (big companies, start-ups, agencies?), what kind of a contract it was (FTC, rolling, short-term temp?) and what exactly you did there. It’s a time-old cliché, but first impressions matter, both in person and on a CV. If you think a hiring managers first impression of you is from when you walk through the door, you’re wrong. That very first look into your professional life, via your CV, was their real initial peep into you as their new contractor.
4. Professional Accomplishments
Following on from this, and specifically if you’re in a Sales background, I want to see your professional accomplishments scattered throughout your CV. Did you win First to Hit Sales Target? What about being in the £100k club? Did you increase activity by 50%? This is what I want to know! It’s what our clients want to know, too.
Now for the nitty gritty; the part that seems almost irrelevant because it really shouldn’t matter, right? If your CV is in a PDF, a recruiter and a client will see it exactly as it’s sent. If not, who knows? Is your profession creative? Design? Marketing? PDF all the way.
6. Send Two CVs
Want your recruiter to rave about how organised you are? Create 2 CVs, one with your personal details on, and one without. The one without will be sent over to clients and could save a lot of time if the role is a ‘I want to get your CV sent over in the next 2 seconds’ kind of position.
7. State Your Pay
If you wanted to be SUPER helpful, you could even include what kind of freelancer you are. How do you want to be paid? A limited company? Through an umbrella company? Let us know.
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