What can you do to make sure your CV makes an impact for all the right reasons? Read on for some useful advice.
A customer once said to me that they didn’t include a profile in their CV as they felt it didn’t add anything. They then went on to explain that the profiles they had seen were all very similar and if everyone just writes the same thing, then why bother? While it is true that some people do rely too much on recruitment cliches with bland and generic sounding profiles, it is still much better to include one. The key is to understand what purpose the profile plays and write it convincingly.
The professional profile in a CV is your introduction, and every good story needs an introduction. You can also think of a profile as a positioning statement. As the first section in the CV, it is your chance to shape the perception of the reader about who you are and what you do. Clearly state whether you are a ‘financial analyst’ or ‘tax manager’, or whatever your specialism is, in the first line of the CV. Just like a tag line, this re-affirms to the reader the relevance of your CV early on. They will then engage fully with the CV knowing you are an appropriate candidate.
Your professional profile should be in the form of a single paragraph no more than four or five lines in length. A profile that is a series of bullet points lacks cohesion. You want to aim more for an opening statement. You can also include a tag line under your name. This can help as an identifier to the reader and show the relevance of your CV. Either use your current job title or mirror the title of the role you are applying for.
The rest of the profile should be an authentic description of the personal qualities that make you great at your job. This is where most people slip into boring mode. Do not write what everyone else writes. Be authentic and use original words to describe your expertise. Perhaps you received great feedback once about a project you managed from a trusted colleague. What words did they use? Thinking back and using words other people have used to describe your skills is a good way of bringing some authentic definition to your profile.
If you can be authentic to yourself but also align the skills and personal qualities to those sought after by an employer, then your profile will truly be singing the right tune. Read the person specification for the role you are applying for and there are bound to be some buzz or key words about the kind of personality traits being looked for. If these resonate with your own values and strengths, then weave these into your profile. Using similar language to a particular employer shows a good cultural fit.
A professional profile then is your positioning statement. A chance to shape the perception of the reader at the outset and show the relevance of your CV. So be focused, authentic and aligned.
This article is written by Neville Rose, director of CV Writers