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Putting together a CV

Your CV is your main marketing tool in your job search – but it’s almost certain that it can be improved – consider the following tips:

Blow your own trumpet


Eliminate the obvious: Most HR officers will be able to make a reasonable educated guess at your current responsibilities from your job title – don’t overshadow your USP's (unique selling points) with information that’s not critical


Success sells: Think about your achievements – these might include:

Leading or participating in a cross-functional project team

Overseeing company change

Developing your team to enable them to earn promotion


Leave them wanting more: References to your successes should aim to convince employers that you should at least be called in for interview – don’t over-elaborate about how you planned and executed each achievement (but be prepared to back them up at interview)


Mind the gaps


Tempting fate: Gaps in CV's typically sound the alarm bells for those tasked with screening applications before drawing up an initial round of first interviews; when checking for spelling, examine your dates of employment or education too – it’s easy to transpose numbers and cut months or years from your work history


Suspicious minds: You might have a perfectly plausible reason for not working for a while – but without addressing it in your CV, potential employers may wonder what you’re hiding.


Thorny subjects: There’s no hard-and-fast rule about how you should explain gaps that you’re uncomfortable discussing; you might want to point readers back to a reason given in your covering letter or email – the risk is that your CV may not be opened in the first place. However, by registering with Brook Street we will be able to help do the groundwork for you, or use our own knowledge of the employer to advise on how best to pre-empt any negativity or reluctance


Stay relevant and tailored


Stick to the job: Tailor your skills and achievements to what the employer is looking for; for example, if there’s a strong emphasis on people management, bring your supervisory and coaching record to the forefront – don’t relegate it beneath mainstream experience that the client would look for regardless of the vacancy’s seniority


Transfer window: Employers increasingly seek competencies rather than specific experience – carefully consider those you’ve acquired and developed, and map these to the job and person specifications


Check, check and check again: Don’t rely on your software’s automated spell-checks – check yourself and, if feasible, ask a trusted friend to do so for you         

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