My clients often talk about their CV with a kind of dread. They know they should really look at it, but it just feels such a… chore.
It’s normally a few sessions in, once they’ve re-discovered things about themselves, and are feeling excited about where they could take their personal brand, that I set them homework to totally reimagine the CV. To create something that not only embodies who they are, but makes them feel excited to share it. This is how I approach it with them:
Your CV must represent you as a real person, and it must be appropriate for the industry and role that you’re hoping to land. So although you want to stand out, a CV for a digital marketer is going to look quite different to one for an accountant, or a carer, or a technology consultant (you get the picture…).
First, think about your key skills, talents and achievements so far. Where do you really shine? How does your personality suit this work? What makes you unique? I’m not a fan of those cheesy personal statements people often put at the top, but it is possible to share the stuff in your personal life that makes you unique in a charming, interesting way. So if you’re obsessed with the perfect cup of tea, could you incorporate that somehow?
When talking about previous roles think about outcomes, not processes. Use active verbs like ‘directed’, ‘solved’, ‘devised’ etc. and make it 100% relevant to the roles you’re going for. The key to a successful CV (or any kind of communication) is connection. It stands out because it connects with the audience. So make sure you know your audience inside out.
Once you have a plan for what information you want to include, you can get to the really fun bit:
What do you actually do every day? That’s the key. I recently worked with a digital marketer starting out as a freelancer and using a traditional, boring CV - with zero success. He scrapped the CV altogether and instead created his own digital marketing campaign, for himself, showcasing all his skills along the way. He won multiple clients within a couple of weeks.
If your industry is more traditional, you mould it to that. So if you're a market research consultant, you could make it into the most awesome market research report ever. If you organise events, then make your CV into an invitation to an incredible interview/meeting. Get excited about it. Because if you’re excited about your CV, then it’s highly likely that someone else will too. As with all marketing, trying to appeal to everyone never works, so go niche and have fun with it.
If you could use an independent coach to help you refresh your personal brand, drop me a line today.