Crafting your executive curriculum vitae (CV) no longer involves just updating an old one and expanding it with current work and professional expertise and experiences. Traditional personal marketing communications are evolving. The new trend is in response to the recruiters’ and hiring decision-makers’ use of online social media to source their candidates.
This doesn’t mean that you completely do away with a CV or resume. More than ever, you need to get your personal brand and value proposition together before moving them online. Clearly defining your personal brand and developing a well-crafted CV forms the foundation for all your own marketing materials. It will help you communicate better to your target audience. This prepares you to confidently and knowledgeably speak about the value you offer. Remember that before you can write a great CV, you need to create two critical foundations: your target, and your personal branding.
Who is your target audience?
A generic CV that tries to cover so many prospects will fall flat. Your CV must talk to a specific target audience so that the recruiters and hiring decision-makers reading it can connect you to the position they’re trying to fill. They don’t have the time to read through irrelevant information to see if you’re a real potential for the job. Your CV must align with what they’re looking for. Find out what keywords will attract them and position yourself in front of them to capture their attention.
Personal Branding and Value Proposition
Today’s job market is characterized by the overabundance of candidates and information overload. Personal branding is no longer an option. In fact, it’s now more critical than ever. Companies are not looking only for filling a position. They’re now looking for executive candidates with vitality, good fit for the post, and the personal chemistry to merge into the corporate culture.
In a nutshell, your personal branding should define who you are. That includes your reputation, personal attributes, values, strengths, drivers, and passions, in a crystal clear format designed to resonate with your target audience across multiple channels – online and offline. That differentiates your unique promise of value from your competition.
The advantage of personal branding is that it helps create the chemistry for you with your target audience. It highlights how you can best fit into their organization. In today’s market, employers want more than the right skill sets, knowledge base, and experience. They want executive candidates who will fit their corporate culture so they want to know what kind of person you are.
Steps in Writing your CV
When crafting an executive CV, it’s vital to strike a tone that accurately describes your experience and potential without sounding arrogant. Packing too many adjectives around the facts of your experience and education can make the document both blustery and difficult to read. But additional, dry facts alone won’t engage a reader.
Balance is essential
The key, like in so many things, is a striking up of balance. Start with the hard facts and concrete examples of your achievements. Relate your achievements to measurable results, such as savings accrued, positive impact to workflow, and better employee satisfaction. This is the information that a recruiter or hiring manager needs to know.
A good rule of thumb when striking this balance between facts and adjectives is to always keep in mind that real people with a particular set of criteria will be reading your CV. He or she will have much understanding of the personal characteristics required to handle the job. Put yourself in their shoes and give them the information they are looking for in a format that is easy to read and digest. Make it easy for them to assess how you fit the position and the corporate culture. Focus on showing the responsibilities you describe that you completed successfully, and trust the recruiter or hiring manager to infer the stellar personal characteristics that have led to your professional success.
Use descriptive words in your CV
Use descriptive words to fill in around the hard facts and craft simple phrases that are easily scanned by the reader. Another good use for adjectives is to demonstrate your level of commitment to your target position. It’s okay to be proud of your efforts and passion for a role, but don’t make the mistake of overemphasising these points. After all, wanting something isn’t enough to prove that you deserve it.
Keep your CV short and simple
Keep the information to the point. If you need to make it long, spend enough time to create a compelling document. In general, there is no reason to overemphasise personal strengths in the cover letter. As it is presumably the first piece of information about you that the recruiter or hiring manager will read, give them the info they need first.
Proofread your CV
Finally, remember that spelling and grammar speak volumes about you as a candidate. Careless mistakes may disqualify you, no matter your level of experience. If this is a challenge for you, consider engaging a professional CV writer and consultant. Not only will they be able to take all the different facts and figures that surround your work experience and craft them into a readable and compelling document, but they will also ensure accuracy by having proofreaders review the final product before it is passed on to you. Remember, however, that your resume should reflect you and should “talk with your voice.” You are unique so find the precise words that describe what makes you unique and valuable. Keep your CV impressive with what differentiate you from the rest of the competition. Make sure your contact information is correct.
Don’t Forget Your Cover Letter
Your cover letter is an excellent opportunity to briefly describe your career motivation and why you are a good fit for this particular job. It is also where you can explain any mitigating factors that might not be immediately clear from your CV. This will be crucial if you are attempting to change industries or positions, as you’ll need to explain how your experiences are transferable.