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Craft a CV that Gets You to the Interview: 5 Rules for Success

In today's competitive job market, your CV is your first impression, your chance to showcase your skills and experience, and ultimately, your ticket to an interview. A well-written CV can make you stand out from the crowd, while a poorly crafted one can land you in the rejection pile.


In my recent work with scores of senior leaders and executives navigating career transitions, I've observed common challenges that hinder their ability to present themselves effectively on paper. Whether facing retrenchment, pursuing specific opportunities, or exploring new possibilities, your CV remains a crucial tool for opening doors. In this blog, we'll explore five rules that can elevate your CV-writing and increase your chances of being invited to an interview.



Rule 1: Be Courageous - Highlight Your Achievements and Unique Capabilities

Your CV is not the place to downplay your achievements or undersell your unique skill set. In my conversations with clients, a recurring theme emerges – a reluctance to be bold in showcasing their accomplishments. Many struggle to articulate their skill set, while others perceive their achievements as commonplace.


Just because you do something every day, does not mean that everyone else does!


To stand out, be courageous in highlighting your most impressive accomplishments and communicating what makes you unique. Remember, humility doesn't mean self-deprecation. Own your successes and make them shine on your CV.


The CV writing process for my clients often serves as a reminder of forgotten achievements and overlooked strengths. Embrace the opportunity to rediscover and amplify your unique selling points.


Rule 2: Be Deliberate - Tailor Your CV to Each Position

Crafting a CV demands intentionality. Tailor your CV to the specific job you're applying for, avoiding the one-size-fits-all approach. Many busy professionals fall into the trap of creating generic CVs packed with excessive information, leaving the reader to decipher their relevance. Be deliberate in describing your impact, ensuring that each line contributes to the narrative of why you're the ideal candidate for the role.


Discover the pitfalls of generic CVs and how tailoring your document to the job at hand can make you stand out in a sea of applicants.


Rule 3: Be Connected - Align Your Skills with Company Needs

It's your responsibility to demonstrate your relevance. Bridge the gap between your skills and the company's needs by demonstrating a profound understanding of the organization and the specific position. Go beyond simply listing your skills; show how they connect to the company's needs and challenges.


Highlight instances where you've applied your expertise to achieve tangible results that align with the company's goals.


A well-crafted CV should make it easy for the hiring manager to envision you in the role. Showcase how your experiences align with the company's requirements, reinforcing the connection between your values, accomplishments, and the organization's needs.


Rule 4: Be Your Own Advocate - Position Yourself as an Expert

Your CV is your personal marketing document. Don't shy away from positioning yourself as an expert in your field. Use your CV to advocate for yourself by presenting clear evidence of your impact, contribution, and tangible measurements of success. Just as businesses use stories and facts in their marketing materials, your CV should tell a compelling story backed by concrete evidence.


Learn how to transform your achievements into compelling narratives that resonate with potential employers, showcasing your expertise and value.


Rule 5: Be Concise - Focus on the Most Relevant Information

Less is often more when it comes to CVs. Your document is your ticket to an interview, not an exhaustive autobiography. Focus on the most recent and relevant experiences, highlighting achievements from the past 15 years at most. A concise CV demonstrates your ability to communicate clearly, prioritize relevant information, and respect the reader's time.


Delve into the art of crafting a concise CV that captures attention, communicates value efficiently, and showcases your most impactful experiences.


Conclusion

It's not hard to write a CV that will get you into an interview, especially if you have experience and made impressive contributions that differentiate you - and yet it's also incredibly hard to write this type of CV as it requires self advocacy. Based on discussion with my clients, that's what really competent people struggle with - the need for self promotion, when they believe their good work should speak for them and that they shouldn't have to.


As a career and self-leadership coach, who regularly works with executives and senior leaders to confidently advocate for themselves, including through CV writing, my mission is to help you overcome the barriers of self-doubt and take ownership of the career opportunities that you are worthy of. By following these five rules, you can transform your CV into a powerful tool that opens doors and positions you as the expert your network needs to know.


Ready to take your career to the next level?


Work with us to position you as the expert your network needs to know about.


In the process of working with us at Briony Liber Coaching and Consulting, you go through a journey of learning to leverage every aspect of your career value chain from examining the capabilities you need to develop to gracefully transition from where you are now to the natural next position in your career, redefining your internal narrative to ensure that your are response-able rather than unconsciously reactive, to developing yourself as the CEO of your career with a strong personal board of directors that support your every step.


Your next career advancement is waiting for you – let's schedule a discovery session and discuss how we can work with you on optimising your career value chain, positioning your expertise, leveraging your network and crafting a marketing document, aka your CV, that gets you into the interview.



 

What my clients say

Briony Liber came to my aid. She changed my way of thinking and helped me change the way I viewed and approached my career. She not only helped me to revamp my CV and rebrand myself, but she also offered me career counselling, helping me to strengthen my confidence in myself and my abilities. She prepared me psychologically for the interview that would eventually lead me to one of my best career moves. Investing in Briony’s services is one of the best moves I have made. I would highly recommend her services. - Dr Adwoa Boaduo (PhD), Unit Manager: Safety, Goldfields.

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