Jo Hampton CV guru is a guest writer this week for Allison Fisher, Career & Life Coaching.
So you’ve set new goals, decided on your dream career, and are ready to launch yourself on an unsuspecting job market! How do you create a CV to showcase your talents and demonstrate that you are perfect for the job?
Here’s a practical exercise to get you started.
Conduct market research in the field to learn more about the role and what skills recruiters are looking for. Search the internet for job descriptions, research the job sites for adverts and talk to people who work in the industry. Once you have a good idea of the criteria for the role, jot them down in a list. An example list for an IT Trainer might be:
- Delivering training in formal settings (e.g. classrooms)
- Carrying out training needs analyses
- Designing and producing course materials
- Preparing the learning environment including setting up IT equipment when required
You may have a longer list than this – that’s fine.
Demonstrating skills and experience
Now take each point and write a couple of sentences to illustrate how you meet these criteria. Wherever possible, list them in the form of achievements and give real-life examples. This might be from jobs you have done before, but you could also use volunteer work or hobbies and interests. Here are some examples of how people have used their community work to demonstrate experience:
- Organised meetings of members of the ‘Save our Trees’ group; acted as chair and took minutes
- Coached children in tennis; liaised with parents and organised competitions
- Volunteered at a local animal welfare charity. Interviewed prospective adopters and advised them on animal care
Putting together your CV
The next step is to distinguish between personal strengths such as communication or numeracy, and actual experience like presenting to groups or producing reports.
In the body of the CV where you describe your work history and achievements, make sure that you include the sentences that describe the real-life examples that you wrote above. This process ensures that you are demonstrating experience in the skills and abilities that they are looking for, even if you are not actually doing them in the context of the job advertised. Here as some examples:
- Created PowerPoint slides and delivered presentations to clients
- Negotiated new conditions of employment with staff and union members
The first demonstrates some experience that might be relevant for a training role (planning and delivering lessons), the second shows skills in negotiating which might be useful for a sales or HR role (negotiating, communicating and see other people’s points of view).
You can demonstrate more general personal strengths on the front page. An example might be:
- Strong interpersonal skills with the ability to relate to colleagues, children and their parents
- Experience of delivering presentations to large groups of people
In other words, the skills on the front are a general summary of how the skills apply to you, the detail under the jobs section provide the evidence that you have them.
Where you are including volunteer work and hobbies as evidence you can enhance these sections as required. For example, normally volunteer/community work would be a single line at the very end, but if you want to demonstrate your extensive experience of coaching tennis, then you might want to give this a more prominent placement, depending on how relevant it is to the role you are going for.
- Don’t use industry-specific jargon
- You may need to explain what a company does, and maybe indicate their size or importance, if they operate in a different sector
- Think about whether you can provide a novel or different perspective. What is that gives you the edge over a candidate already doing the job. If you can think of something, put it on the front page
- Be positive – don’t draw attention to any negative points such as you lack of industry experience. Focus on your passion for change and new challenges
That’s the hard work done, now all you have to do is put your name and address on the front, proof read it, proof read it again, and start your job hunting!!
Jo Hampton, Director, Successful Resumes Botany
For more information about the CV services Jo offers, visit – www.successfulresumes.co.nz/jo_hampton.html
© Jo Hampton, 2014