Posted 3 July 2017
Cranmore Ltd has been recently discussing the art of Executive CV and Cover Letter Writing, and what elements these should contain. Ultimately you should remember that the person looking at your CV needs to see clearly how you meet the requirements of the role as quickly and easily as possible. Here is our quick round up of what your resume should look like including whether you should include a photograph or not:
UPDATE YOUR RESUME FOR THE ROLE
You do not need to start your CV from scratch each time you apply for a new job, but you should optimise and update it to make sure the recruiter can clearly see how you match the job description. Each role you apply for will have a unique set of requirements so read the essential and desirable criteria carefully and update your CV to detail how you match these points. If the role requires a certain skillset that you have experience in, make sure you highlight it and do not let it remain hidden within the body of your CV. The recruiter will most likely be reading many CVs so do not make it hard for them to see whether you have the desired experience and attributes.
Your main heading/title, if you include one, should be your current title but reflect the label of the role you are applying for rather than a goal or aspirational one. The recruiter should be able to tell at a glance that you have the right experience level for the role. It is also acceptable to change your previous job titles in the experience/history section of your CV so that they are more understandable to anyone outside that organisation. Make sure your career history shows you are capable of the role and is easy for the reader to comprehend.
WORK OUT YOUR USP
It is important to set yourself apart from the other candidates and point out your unique selling point. Identifying your USP will help you to understand your value and then you can emphasise this throughout your resume. If you have not decided what your unique selling point is, ask yourself these questions: How do I differ to other applicants? What has my greatest achievement been in a professional capacity to date? What return on investment can I offer an employer?
If you are stuck, ask your colleagues and employer to start you off and once they have given their thoughts you should be able to build and reflect on this.
Some candidates forget to put this on at all, while others put far too much. Modern CVs do not necessarily need your full residential address unless the recruiter has asked for it or will be sending you something by post. Your name, email, phone number, and the city should be enough. Make sure you add in any necessary dialling codes, and you could even put a link to your LinkedIn page if appropriate.
PERSONAL INFORMATION AND PHOTOGRAPHS
In general, you should not put a photograph or your date of birth on your CV. This is because it is illegal for companies in many countries (including the UK) to reject candidates based on gender, age, race, or physical features. A recruiter may automatically reject a candidate who has a photograph or DOB details for fear of any accusations or lawsuits that could arise. Although it is still commonplace in some regions such as Asia Pacific to have photographs, if applying for a role outside the UK then research the particular country or err on the side of caution and leave these details out.
Although your CV must be easy to read and stand out, you need to think about its compatibility with other computers and programs. Sometimes candidates use text boxes and other elements to help the information stand out, however, this can cause problems with Applicant Tracking Systems and should, therefore, be avoided. Make your information clear with simple fonts, and use bullet points, capitals or bold where necessary to make it stand out. Do not send a PDF if you have been specifically asked for a Word document and vice versa.
Also, make sure that you do your proofreading before your send your CV out and not after! Poor spelling and grammar are likely to get you rejected for your lack of attention to detail and misunderstanding of professional writing.