CVUltimate CV Series Preparation & Planning

Hi and thank you so much for joining the blog series on writing a CV. In case you’ve come in part way through head back and check the first post ‘The What, Why & Purpose of CV Writing’

Let’s very quickly re-cap what we covered in the last post:

  • What is a CV?  A CV is a document summarising your professional life – no biographies required
  • Why a CV?  To get recruiters to want to meet you, to get your foot in the door
  • Purpose of a CV?  Your personal marketing material – it needs to sell you
  • The Key to writing a CV?  You’re writing for the recruiter not yourself

That’s all great info Elaine, but how does it help me. Fret not I hear you.

You’re frustrated with not getting interviews for roles you just know were made for you. You want to get out of where you are and up-level, but it just isn’t happening.

Let’s take this one step at a time.

There are a couple of things you need to have in place before you commit pen to paper (or more likely fingers to keyboard, I just liked the archaic phrase better!)

Like any piece of written work, a CV needs to be prepared and planned first. Don’t start writing your CV until you’ve done the prep work.

It’s not as difficult as you think it is. There is no secret sauce to CV writing, us professional CV writers don’t have a magic wand. You can write an excellent CV if you just take a little bit of time, patience and preparation.

Where do you want your CV to take you? Why are you writing a CV?

Stop. Just stop for a moment and take some time for self-reflection. Yes, it can make you uncomfortable, and you might squirm around in your chair.  Are you a squirmer Then you need to really focus on this section.

When was the last time you thought about your career direction?

I mean really thought and explored where you want to be in say 5 or even 10 years’ time.

Do you see yourself in the same role you are now? Presumably not or you wouldn’t be reading this blog post.

Did you know most of us will work up to 6 different roles in our working lives? Did you know that on average 46% of Britons will re-train into a different career (read the article here)

So, it’s important for your own fulfilment and drive that you regularly re-evaluate your career. Is it working for you? Are you still fulfilled? Are you doing what you love? Would you secretly rather be doing something else?

Or have you spent your career fulfilling someone else’s idea of success? Yes, then your time is now – what do YOU want to do?

You go through so many changes in your working life that your career may start to grate with your personal life. You lose the work/life balance that is so key today.

  • Marriage
  • Motherhood
  • Mental Health issues
  • Physical Health issues
  • Family challenges

All of this impact you in ways you never imagined in your early 20s when you set off on that carefully planned career. Or maybe like me you didn’t start with a planned career, but it came out of circumstances over time. Either way you will change.

So, in order to write an effective successful CV, you need to know what you want it to achieve for you?

How do I know what Recruiters want when writing my CV?

Now you know where you’re going it’s time to understand the roles that fulfil that.

I mentioned the Recruiter being the most important person to consider in ‘The What, Why & Purpose of  CV Writing‘. Now is the time to understand what those recruiters are looking for.

Your CV is not a chronological list, it needs to demonstrate that you have what the recruiter needs. Because they want to know what outcomes you are bringing for them. Ultimately, they are only interested in their bottom line, is it worth investing in YOU?!

How? Research, research, research.

You need to know the industry & roles. It’s not difficult, don’t make it onerous. Use Google and search for the roles you are interested in. Just list the key core skills and experience that are common in these roles. A good guide is to find at least 6 roles to create an effective list.

A note of caution here, if you have two roles you fancy but they are not the same you are going to need two CVs. Don’t try to mash them into one CV. It won’t work and you’ll dilute your offering. So, if you are interested in Customer Service Manager and Contact Centre Manager roles – I’d recommend two different CVs. Make sense…

“I have a specific role I’m looking at so why do I need to do this bit.”

Firstly, that’s fantastic! But I don’t mean to be a party pooper have you ever heard the phrase ‘don’t put all your eggs in one basket’? You have, yes, great that’s enough said then. I have no doubt you’ll be great in your application for that role, follow my steps and you’ll not just be great you’ll be absolutely flippin amazing! Should this not be the role for you though you’ll have a CV you can use for other roles….

Hi Scan Readers (I see you don’t worry, and I’ll let you into a little secret, I’m partial to scan reading myself) here’s what you need to know at a glance:

  • Where do you want your CV to take you? You need a career plan. You need to know the types of roles this CV will be used for.
  • How do I know what Recruiters want?  You research the roles identified in your career planning. Look at 6 as a minimum and list the key core skills.

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