What a good CV looks like
So you want to land a great job?
It’s simple. Master your CV writing.
You see… It does not matter how experienced you are…
How ideal your fit for the position is…
How badly you want it…
Even your motivation is secondary… yet.
If your CV sucks, you won’t get the job.
WHICH IS GREAT.
Yes. I meant it.
Your competition is lazy.
Most people don’t even take the time to research what a good CV looks like…
And all complaining that ‘the job market is hard’.
You are here. You take it seriously. That alone might be your BIGGEST advantage.
Yes, they might have MORE experience… They might be a BETTER fit…
It does not matter.
If your CV works, you work. If your CV doesn’t work, you don’t work.
Your CV is the only measurement that counts in the beginning.
So it is simple, isn’t it? Master your CV writing!
Now, what is a good CV and how do I get one?
Gone are the days that you could land on a job just by grabbing a newspaper and sending a general letter to each company you liked.
We are living in a world where the internet is full of job boards. Everyone is applying online… with your CV as the only differentiator.
Your CV is the most important - and only - cover page of your application.
In such a flooded market, you have to impress the recruiter immediately. There is no second chance.
Let me tell you a funny story that explains the power of the first impression.
A recruiter in Toronto needed to interview candidates for a sales and marketing position.
It was a newly opened business segment that involved creating, designing and manufacturing educational toys and games for kids.
The recruiter had a deadline on Friday but really didn’t have time to go through all the candidates…
So he invited EVERY candidate he liked at first impression.
A week goes by and the interviews begin.
After interviewing several candidates the recruiter felt like he met the perfect man for the job.
The guy showed excellent communication skills and his education and work history seemed perfectly compatible.
But then he started reading his CV in-depth…
He had a great passion for firearms and even mentioned a great collection of guns being stacked up in his basement.
Remember that the companies target audience is CHILDREN.
Unfortunately for the guy, the company rejected him.
Apparently, he went on submitting the same CV to a dozen other companies. Recruiters hardly ever give any feedback on CVs.
Why am I telling you this story?
There are two lessons where you can learn from:
- An attractive CV optimised for first impression works
- Targeting your CV to the company is essential (at least re-read your CV to ensure there’s no adverse information in it).
By the way, the lack of feedback is one of the core reasons why I started CV-Template. How can you possibly improve your CV if you do not know what you are doing wrong?
This CV test to will provide you with personal feedback.
Recruiters don’t read your CV anymore
The example above might be a bit extreme, but it is how recruiters operate.
They don’t read your CV anymore… they SCAN.
Today, duplicating your CV is as simple as control C + control V…
Which is why everybody is doing EXACTLY that.
On average, 100 candidates apply for every job opportunity.
That means 100 CVs… 100 Cover Letters… and 100 emails…
For a SINGLE recruiter.
Recruiters are flooded with digital CVs.
Your CV needs to be SCANNABLE or you are done. Recruiters just don’t have the time to search for relevant information.
You have to think like a top performer.
Your CV has to be so good that there is NO WAY the recruiter can ignore you.
Top performers structure their CV to be easily digestible.
Looks matter. The overall structure of your CV must clear in a split-second.
Think headlines, bullet points and rich markup.
But they don’t stop there.
They use a CV Format that is OPTIMISED for the first impression.
Imagine that you receive two documents…
The first document contains a big chunk of information… Just a single text block that is all over the page.
The other document is beautifully structured, guiding you through the CV without thinking… hitting every checkmark you need.
You know what. It’s not that hard…
With the right perspective and a few psychological tricks, you can write your effective CV in a few hours. You just need the how-to.
Include a sidebar in your CV
You’ll never hear this somewhere else. One of the secrets I teach my trainees is to include a sidebar in their CV.
Why? Because it is one of the best ways to set your CV in the right context while making a great first impression.
How? By highlighting your greatest added value to the company.
While everybody talks about themselves, YOU impress immediately with relevant qualities the recruiter is already looking for.
In those first 3-5 seconds, you immediately set the focus for the rest of your CV. You determine how the recruiter will look at your CV.
The rest of your CV is to back those expectations up.
What should I highlight in the sidebar?
So you need to impress immediately with your greatest added value to the company. This can be your skills / competences, achievements or personal interest / motivation.
While the sidebar set the context of your CV within the first 3-5 seconds, your CV summary is there to back those expectations up.
Have you impressive achievements that will blow the recruiter away? Then the performance-focussed summary is the best CV format for you.
Do you possess a relevant skill set? Choose the Skill-based CV format.
Do you have to work with people or is your personality important? Go for the personality-focussed CV.
Each CV format has a different, optimised CV summary that is based on your strengths. The CV summary post explains how to craft an effective summary.
Moreover, you can download PDF examples of all these CV formats here.
Learn how to write your CV for MAXIMUM IMPACT!
Your CV is about THEM. Your opinion is irrelevant.
Are you hard-working, motivated and enthusiastic?
Great. EVERYONE IS.
Recruiters have seen it hundreds of times… it tells exactly NOTHING.
They are EMPTY STATEMENTS without EVIDENCE.
Are you hard working? Show it!
PROOF to the recruiter that you are disciplined to run the marathon. Show them that you worked 2 jobs of 40 hours a week.
Are you ‘seeking a new challenge’ or ‘want a part-time job to pay for your study’?
You just screwed up the interview… with ONE SENTENCE. Especially when this is the opening sentence of your CV summary… which happens… A LOT.
Think from the recruiters’ perspective…
He has seen hundreds and hundreds of CVs. I have met multiple recruiters that have reviewed more than 5500 CVs in their career.
You are just ‘another one’. There is NO EMOTIONAL CONNECTION.
And that’s a good thing.
Just… keep it professional and clear.
Show the recruiter what you’ve got. Show how THEY can benefit from you, instead of wasting space telling what you want from them.
Don’t even consider telling them what you WANT to tell them.
Your CV should SCREAM that you are the ideal candidate. It should be packed with benefits to the company. Nothing less. Nothing more.
The sole purpose of your CV is to get you the interview. You want the recruiter to DREAM what you can do for THEM after reading your CV…
Imagine just that…
A CV so strong that they literally DAYDREAM about how you can take their business to the next level…
I would love to watch your job salary negotiation!
So write solely about the benefits to the company instead of what you seek or want to tell. There is plenty of time to do that within the job interview.
Be short and effective
I keep saying it. But EVERY WORD on your CV should earn its place.
If a word doesn’t add value, immediately remove it.
It will only weaken your position. Either you have nothing better to show, or you don’t know how to write a CV.
That means no more endless lists of job responsibilities. They are useless.
Go for the few hard facts that will make a difference. Be precise and use percentages and numbers. Be SPECIFIC.
The company is hiring because of a SPECIFIC problem. Be their solution!
Would you hire a general doctor to perform an open heart surgery? Hell no!
Make sure everything in your CV is focused on a specific branding. Instead of ‘just’ a marketer you are a ‘psychological email marketer’.
You are not a Business Intelligent Analyst. You are a BI expert in Data Warehousing, Data Modelling and Data integration.
Be PRECISE and TARGETED. It will pay off.
Actually, I transformed this guys CV last week and it WORKED like a charm. The reaction?
“It was the first time in my whole career that I was satisfied with my CV when I created it using your guide and template. But now you took it to an entirely new level. Now I can clearly see what you meant in your guide by "Let every word earns its place". You very cleverly incorporated my strengths in the summary section. I feel the summary is now perfect.”
Two days later, I got this email:
“I will also tell you an interesting incident - I shared my new CV with a friend to forward it in his organization for which I created this CV (Lead BI Architect at [company]). His response was "Your CV seems to be too good to be true. Sometimes recruiters reject such CVs which seems perfect." I took his feedback as a compliment :)”
That’s what you want. Target everything in your CV. Be specific. Cut the fluff.
Free CV Templates that will do the job
Are you serious about your future and do you want to invest some time to write a CV that actually works? Free Online CV Builder Then my CV templates are for you.
Go to the CV builder, choose your professional design and create your CV using my highly effective CV format.
My mission is to help 1.000.000 people get their dream job. If you are fully committed, read my free CV course. It is the best time investment you can make.
To your best job yet!
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