The Human in your CV

Picture it.

You’ve been appointed as a marketing and brand ambassador… to your very own self. You freeze. Your thoughts betray you. This is no longer an interview. This is you being the editor-in-chief of your skills and assets. It’s like the first day of class and you’re asked “Introduce yourself and tell us something that makes you unique”, sheer pandemonium sets in and your heart makes the ‘thump thump thump’ hollow beat in your chest.

The human mind operates on two basic instincts – fight or flight. We’re not going to pull out our arsenal and demand a job. You must now become strategic in assessing your very own brand and ascertain a level of honesty regarding your strengths and weakness before submitting your next application.

1. What’s your unique selling point?

2. Why should I review your CV?

3. Why are you the right candidate for the job and not the other 200 other applicants?

4. Am I qualified for this job or am I giving a “Hit send and hope for the best”?

5. What stands out in your CV? (Hopefully not typos)

So how do we brand ourselves and put the best representation of our skills, capturing years of experience or academic pursuits on two pages? We’ve been always taught in essay writing, ‘More is better’. However, you should be mindful during your resume preparation – recruiters and hiring managers value quality over quantity.

Measure and quantify.

Avoid the branding phrase “I am the best sales rep”. Quantify and justify what makes you the best sales rep.

Offer to tell in a few lines what justifies such a description of your success. In marketing, you must do what a competitive brand does for their product and services – your goal is to convince the buyer/ reader that your product (your CV), is the best. Beth Brown in her book, “The Damn Good Resume Guide, Fifth Edition: A Crash Course in Resume Writing” (2012) underscores “In marketing, the thing is to identify as clearly as possible who your target audience is and what they need to know.”

How well you’re able to narrate your skills and experience is where you become a true brand ambassador for yourself.

Zombie terms: Top Sales Lead

– Made the highest earnings for the company over a ten-year period consistently that saw the growth of the company’s brand and profits for shareholders.

Your pitch: Sales Lead

– Direct management and oversight for amassing 40% increase in sales over 3 month period

– Lead sales team of 15 personnel to generate net profit of 200 million- 25% increase from previous year

– YOY top performing sales team across Latin America

A great place where you can start to tell your story is on LinkedIn, a social media platform built and designed for professionals networking from entry-level to senior level. It’s the perfect storyboard to list and feature more information about you as a potential candidate, employee, and student in real time. Consider it your digital CV.

Bonus: Be sure to include your LinkedIn profile link in your CV

So, let’s wrap up with some TIPS and not TRAPS for your next CV submission.

a) Start in chronological order

b) Use measurable facts for each position you’ve held.

c) Share accomplishments versus tasks. Allow the reader to have a vivid idea of what you’ve achieved rather than listing your job description.

d) Be selective about the amount of content you place on your CV. It’s very easy to oversell yourself and add too much information so that your key highlights are overshadowed. Prioritize based on importance and relevance.

e) Gaps are not important as you think they are now. 2020/2021 has been tough on both the job seeker and the employer. Be honest in the interview about your career breaks or economic downturns and employment status.

f) Can you read it? Use readable font and size that allows your reader to read and understand at a first glance. Are my words readable?

g) Use simple terms and avoid overly technical terms and jargon in your CV. Most times HR sifts through the CVs and are not the subject matter experts in your field.

h) Aim for 2-3 pages in length. Equally, don’t try to overstuff information.

You’ve got this!