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Thursday, February 03, 2011

Getting your CV ready

A CV (generally ranges from 1 to 3 pages depending on the level of detail and the audience) is the single-most important document for your job search. It’s a filter that can get you out of the reckoning before you can say “reckoning”. In this post, I’ll share five tips to improve your CV (Get it out of the closet even if you are in your dream job – never hurts):
  1. Spell-check it, read aloud and get it reviewed by at least two people who don’t know your background and preferably one from your target industry and one from outside. The questions raised will need to be addressed by re-assessing if the intended reader of your CV will have similar reactions as the reviewer.
  2. Answer the So-What question three times for each line in your CV to produce specifics of what impact your work created. If you don’t remember what revenue impact your work had, get in touch with your colleagues from the past to get an estimate from old project documents or come up with a ball-park by doing some rough calculations (don’t pull numbers out of thin-air – this is also called lying and I definitely don’t encourage that). If it did not produce an impact, maybe it doesn’t belong there. You are the best judge. Remember that it is going to be looked at for one split second before the reader makes a decision on whether to read more or throw it away (into the circular file – also called trash-bin in layman terms).
  3. Keywords – This is important to get chosen for review by automated search tools (used extensively in India I’ve heard from good sources). Use the most important keywords that identify your strengths. e.g. It could be an expertise in a unique tool that’s a rare commodity. If you don’t mention it here, your CV might not even get looked at. Talk to a head-hunter or look up a few job descriptions of jobs you are targeting to see what are the words that are being highlighted/mentioned repeatedly. This is especially important in CVs that you post on Job Portals and might not be as important to word documents and one-page CVs that you send out.
  4. Targeted CVs – Key-words can get you a look in. But that’s only the first step. Don’t come up with generic CVs that you send out to all companies. Broadly categorize the jobs that you are looking at and keep one version of the CV ready for each. Each version should not only contain the relevant keywords that I mentioned above, but also be reworded to reemphasize the skill required in this particular CV. If its a technical job, highlight the technical side of it. If it’s a Project Manager position, highlight how you managed the project timelines, resource plan, etc in completing the project.If it's more about your consulting abilities, highlight the business impact and the difficult problems solved.
  5. Having a summary at the top of your skills, experience and uniqueness helps to catch the readers attention especially in-case your resume is more than one-page.
I don’t claim to be the expert on CV writing. Hell at the time of originally writing this post, I didn’t even have a job. I’d like to reiterate a quote that I came across recently.

My son is now an "entrepreneur". That's what you're called when you don't have a job – Ted Turner
So if you do disagree with any of these or have other suggestions that you’ve found useful in your job-search, please do share it with the author of the blog.

1 comment:

  1. CV layout, Length and Typos play an important role for writing best Cvs ..

    Sample cv