Your CV is your best marketing tool…
It is the first impression you can make to your potential employer. Consider it your own personal sales brochure. So why not make it as succinct and eye-catching as possible? Even in finance, style is as important as substance. No experience, skill or personality makes up for a poorly constructed CV. If you cannot produce a professional document, you invite an employer to question your overall competence.
Conventional wisdom says to restrict CVs to a single page. This may be a terrible mistake. It is impossible to include a summary of an accomplished Executive’s responsibilities, qualifications and achievements in such a limited space. If anything, it’s easier for employers to evaluate specific responsibilities and achievements if they are spelled out, rather than merely glossed over.
- Does your CV highlight the skills necessary for the job? Is the information clearly presented?
- Can an employer shortlist you without comparing specific job requirements to previous work experience?
- If you are applying for a specific position, include a cover letter. This is your opportunity to further highlight your experience and skills that make you appear better suited for the position.
- Save the greatest detail for your current position or any lengthy periods in one role / company. If you’ve had various positions within the same company, divide the period and responsibilities for each, instead of grouping them together at the end. Do not leave any gaps in your CV; future employers will track your employment record fully.
- Demonstrate from the beginning that you’ve thought about why you’ve applied and what you can bring to the role and your CV will be read.
- No nationality.
- No Visa status.
- Positions in reverse chronological order (i.e. latest experience not listed first).
- Personal Characteristics – a CV should infer what kind of person you are through what you have done rather than using a section to tell the employer what an ambitious, successful, dynamic individual you are. This is a common problem with CVs.
- Use of graphics / artwork to ‘jazz up’ a CV. A CV is a tool to portray you as a professional individual and your CV needs to reflect that, so try and make it look corporate. Pictures, though common in the US and the Continent, are considered unnecessary amongst most employers in the UK unless specifically requested.
- Not enough information on the companies worked on such as turnover, headcount, products etc. Be concise but provide details.
Remember, every hour spent in preparation saves two spent scouring the “Situations Vacant”.