Your CV's 60 Second Pitch
For something so important, it’s amazing how little time hiring managers can spend making decisions on candidates. All that time spent rearranging verbs on your CV and practising potential interview questions may all amount to nothing if you don’t grab your interviewer’s attention from the get go.
But don’t take it personally; it’s a fast world out there, and most hiring managers don’t have enough hours in the day. All you need to do is tweak your job hunting strategy slightly and you’ll have employers eating out of the palm of your hand.
This strategy re-think starts with your CV. Rather than trying to cram in every detail of everything you’ve ever done, think from the perspective of someone in a hurry. Imagine you’ve got five or six - frankly pretty boring - documents to read (no offence). Will you feel better about the succinct 2-pager bullet-pointed with essential and intriguing information, or the six page dense document where you have to read between the hyperbole to find the information you actually want? Thought so.
Not sure where to start? Imagine you happen to find yourself at the bus stop with Richard Branson, and the bus is coming in one minute. You have 60 seconds to tell him how great you are any why he should offer you a job.
Chances are you won’t start a sentence with… ‘Did you know, I am a highly motivated, results driven individual with strong communication skills?’. You would say something more like, ‘I have always wanted to work for Virgin Atlantic, I love what you do. I’ve increased sales at my company by 30% and I’d jump at the opportunity to do the same for your business’.
So rather than beginning your CV with a meaningless profile because ‘that’s what you put on a CV’, start it with your 60 second pitch. Include the top three achievements of your career that will really grab the reader’s (or Richard’s) attention. Think keywords rather than verbs; your audience is looking for your CV to match the job description in front of them, so talk about all the things you’ve done, not how you did them. And finally, don’t forget to be eager about the company. A tailored CV makes all the difference; put in the introduction how much you love the company and the reader will sit up and read on.
Don’t feel you have to spill your guts on your CV. There’s a temptation to throw down every scrap of potentially relevant information in the hope that something will hit home. But if you do that, there’s nothing left to wow them with during your interview. Your CV is a sneak peek at the person, your headlines, your greatest hits – you just need enough to hook someone. Use the interview to really push your examples home.
Hey, you’re a digital professional, you know all about producing content for smartphone-era attention spans. Simply apply that knowledge to your CV. Likewise, as you keep the customer at the heart of what you do in your day job, keep the reader at the heart of your CV writing. It’s not an ego trip for you, it’s a tool to get an employer to meet you. So be mindful of how busy they are, make your CV a delight and relief to read and make sure you live up to your pitch in the interview.
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