Writing a Senior Level CV

You only have one first impression and making an impact with a punchy and relevant CV is a great start.

Writing a CV isn’t the easiest of tasks, especially now when they need to catch the attention of the reader quickly so they don’t end up on the ‘no’ pile. As an executive, a leader or director, you’re likely to have a lot to talk about and highlight. The key to shining the light on your talent is to keep it concise, backed up with examples and not to ramble on. Easy. Still not sure? Read on.

The do’s and the don'ts

Keep the font the same throughout, we don’t need to see the full Microsoft Word font suite in one document. Calibri or Ariel is absolutely fine. 10pt or 11pt also fine. I’ve received CVs before with text so big it actually felt like someone was shouting at me from my screen, not to mention the 6+ pages of information to read. Moving on to the format. 2 pages is ideal, if you really can’t get everything on 2 then 3 is the absolutely maximum. Your personal profile should be punchy, snappy and set things off with a bit of a bang. Whatever you do avoid the usual buzzwords and phrases and more importantly, writing in 3rd person is a big no no. The profile should be a few sentences, not half a page. If you have post nominals and they’re relevant to the role, then include them after your name but if you’ve got qualifications in horticulture from that time in your life where you weren’t quite sure what to do and you’re now Finance Director of a fintech firm, best to leave them out. Include your LinkedIn profile link and basic contact information.

Getting to the ‘yes’ pile

Please, write in bullet points with a brief synopsis of your role and it’s purpose under each job title, before the bullet points. The synopsis should tell us what the job was, it should outline your purpose in that role. Use the bullet points to highlight what you did and HOW you added value. Instead of putting ‘HR Director of a scale up’ or ‘I oversaw operations,’ discuss what that meant for the business. How did you add value, what you did to improve operations? What impact you had to that scale up, how did it effect the wider business achieving their investment goals? Quantifying your achievements and value is highly recommended and very appealing to read. It shows instantly, what you’re capable of. You’re now getting a lot close to that ‘yes’ pile.

Contrary to what some blogs and articles may say, you will not catch the attention (in the right way) of the reader by decorating your CV with lots of colour and graphics. Trust me, from someone who has read thousands of CV’s over the years, the less complicated the better. OK if you’re a graphic designer but that’s really about it.

I’m sure as a senior level professional, you have quite a few. Ensure they’re all relevant to the role again (spot the theme here?). There are a few ways you lay your achievements out in your CV. You can either do it at the top, in between your personal profile and your work history or, with each role. There is no right or wrong but ensure it’s reader friendly.

Don’t rush it

Creating a great CV really isn’t rocket science, but it does take thought and time. Don’t be frustrated if you can’t get it done in an afternoon. A CV should be updated and reviewed regularly, not just when you’re looking for a role. If a project comes up then open up your CV and start getting things down.

With an extraordinary amount of people looking for work in 2020, it really is worth spending time on this.

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