Your CV is a sales tool. You are the product that is being sold. So, how do you market yourself?
Think for a moment about a packet of maltesers. Picture the small red packet, the white writing across the front and the inviting pictures of maltesers floating across the packaging. The marketing spiel on the pack immediately starts to tell us why we should buy the maltesers and not any other alternative sweet snack. For example maltesers have only 187 calories. They are the “lighter way to enjoy chocolate” etc. There is a clear marketing pitch here – what they are trying to say is, if you want to eat some chocolate, eat maltesers and feel less guilty.
When an organisation has a job vacancy, they have a need or a problem to be solved. They want to find someone who can come in to the organisation, and take away their pain. Your CV needs to tell the reader quickly and easily, that you have what they want. Short, sharp and to the point. Any information that is on your CV should be adding value, selling you in some way. Like the maltesers packet – you don’t have much room, so you need to use language effectively and make sure you only include information that is relevant and makes an impact.
How do you do this? Get straight to the point. Start off your CV with a 30-second pitch. Tell me right away who you are, where you have come from, what you have to offer and what you are looking for. The rest of your CV needs to speak the language of your intended audience, and it has to be relevant to what they are looking for. So, cherry pick those elements of your experience that most closely match what the organisation requires, and using action oriented language describe what you did, and what outcome was achieved. Bullet points are easier to read than lengthy paragraphs, and allow you to provide enough information to get the reader interested without writing an essay.
Finally, keep your CV short. Most recruiters will quickly scan only the first page of your CV and in that 30 seconds they will decide whether or not you have the kind of experience/background that they are looking for.
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