When you read your CV does it seem like a good fit for the type of job you’re targeting? Or conversely is it a generic document that lacks focus on any specific role or industry? Key job criteria vary widely and employers are interested in a wide spectrum of skills and experience. One company’s go getting sales machine will be another’s arrogant ape. Therefore if you know what type of position you want then it makes sense to create your CV with the job in mind.
Identify key criteria
Firstly, make a list of the principal skills and experience that employers are seeking in your role. This may include IT qualifications, types of companies you have worked with, experience of dealing with regulation etc. To give one example, executive assistant positions often call for experience of contribution to projects or international diary management, so it makes sense to feature these prominently in an EA resume.
Don’t worry if you are unsure what skills and experience are in demand for your role. It is relatively easy to find out the typical key criteria for most positions. Browse the Internet and look up job sites, company vacancies or recruitment agency sites. This will help provide a picture of what employers are seeking. You can then highlight the relevant qualifications, skills and achievements for the job or sector you are targeting.
As a tip, it can be useful to create a long list of achievements that match your role and then filter these when you are applying for specific vacancies. Companies focus on different skillsets and personality types even where roles are largely the same. You can use the information in vacancy descriptions to emphasise the similarities in your experience.
Aim at the right level
Two good questions to ask yourself are 1) What level am I currently at, and 2) What level am I aiming for in my next role?
If you are looking to move to a similar level in your next role then you need to write your CV with this in mind, particularly if you have been promoted with your current company. Make sure your CV includes your supervisory responsibilities, how your team has performed and also the level to which you report.
If you are aiming for a promotion in your next role, an effective technique is to write with that role in mind. Think of your activities, interaction and achievements that are relevant to a more senior position and write your CV with these in mind. You have the power to draw the reader’s attention to these areas, helping them to see you in the role.
A senior manager I knew did the opposite of this and focused his CV on what he did with his team, drawing the attention of future employers to his operational activities and minimising his contribution to board level projects. By doing this he was ensuring that other employers saw him at a lower level, damaging his efforts to secure the board level appointment he wanted in his next role. This may be a high level example, but the reasoning applies to all roles.
Write your CV with your new role in mind.