Competition for senior business roles is at an all-time high. Due to this new level of competitiveness, the CV submission process has become increasingly more crucial to making your candidacy stand out. The following guide can assist you to create a CV that will present your personal brand in the best possible fashion, winning over recruiters and hiring managers and securing more interviews.
Understand what a CV should do
Many smart people fall into the convention of making their CV nothing more than a tool to market themselves through listing their past professional roles and activities. They mistakenly believe that these are the only touchstones of their candidacy proposition to a prospective employer.
The problem with this CV style is that the vast majority are all doing the same thing. By constructing a CV that is near identical to everyone else’s -which comprise mainly of long, historical lists of past career details- this leads to very little in differentiating your application.
Instead of following the herd mentality in building your CV, you should use this document as an opportunity to articulate your personal brand. At a senior level, your CV should convey you as a serious business professional so that you can stand out from the dozens, if not hundreds, of applicants.
How to convey your personal brand
How do you use a CV to build your personal brand? Provide answers to the following questions within your CV’s content:
• How can you add value to the organization you are applying with?
• What differentiates you in terms of your approach and ethos?
• What leadership skills can you provide as a member of senior management?
The answers to these questions, if communicated well, especially by avoiding clichés, will exponentially strengthen your business pitch.
Customize each CV
A generalised CV will not do your candidacy any favours in a competitive job market. Instead, create customised CVs based around the senior position you are applying for. Use information found on a corporate website or job boards to know what characteristics are most sought after for the particular role. Match your skill sets and summaries on your CV to the job descriptions found. For example, if a position highlights past experience with international clients, then this is a perfect opportunity to draw attention to the multiple languages you speak.
While creativity is important to convey in your CV, this should not come to the detriment of your professionalism. With this in mind, do not use comic fonts or multiple colours in your CV design. Ensure your CV uses black text and stick to more conventional fonts such as Arial or Time New Roman.
The general practice for most businesses is to read CVs electronically via computers, tablets, and other mobile devices. Because of this, aim to keep your CV to at most two pages. Use online resumes and LinkedIn profiles to highlight more details if you cannot fit everything within this two page limit.
Add substance to your achievements
Show depth and originality when describing your past professional achievements. For instance, if you were influential in creating and implementing a new sales initiative for a previous employer which proved to be such a success that it was expanded as a national policy, then embellish on this feat. Try to provide as much detail as possible on the circumstances of your achievements as well.
There are many senior roles available abroad, particularly in the Middle East. The first step to acquiring one of these fantastic positions is all about getting your CV right. Do this exceptionally well and you will indeed land yourself a once in a lifetime professional opportunity.
Make sure you’re ready to take your career to the next level. Sign up to the CI Executive Career Management programme and get access to a Career Coach to guide and coach you through your journey to senior management. Also don’t forget to keep a lookout for the top roles that become available in emerging markets.