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					                                CV Confidence




© Clare Jaques 2003-2006

All rights reserved. You may circulate this book, free of charge, to friends, family and work
colleagues, as long as you do not edit it in any way.

All contents remain copyright of Clare Jaques and Interview Stuff.




© Clare Jaques 2006 Interview Stuff             1
Table Of Contents


      1. What A Great CV Or Resume Can Do For You.............................................................. 5
               Evaluate My Current CV...................................................................................... 6
               Get Someone Else To Write It?......................................................................... 10

      2. The 12 Powerful Questions........................................................................................... 12
               What Is My Unique Advantage?........................................................................ 18

      3. Why Should I Customise My CV / Resume? ................................................................ 23
               Who Am I Writing This CV For? ........................................................................ 26

      4. Do Your Homework ..................................................................................................... 30
               Where Can I Look?............................................................................................ 36
               What The Recruiter’s Really Looking For ......................................................... 39
      5. What The Recruiter ReallyLooking For ......................................................................... 39
               Reading Between The Lines ............................................................................. 42
               Collect Ingredients For My Master CV .............................................................. 47
      6. Collect Ingredients For My Master CV .......................................................................... 47
                 Main Elements Of Your Master CV ................................................................... 48
                 CVs Use Unique Grammar................................................................................ 56
                 Common CV Problems...................................................................................... 69
      7. Common CV Problems ................................................................................................. 69
              How To Handle Problems ................................................................................. 70
      8. The Worst CV Mistakes And How To Avoid Them ....................................................... 77
               The Worst 5 CV Clichés .................................................................................... 77
               Top 10 CV Mistakes .......................................................................................... 79

      9. Getting The Words Right............................................................................................... 84

      10. Finishing Touches ....................................................................................................... 89
                Keys To An Easy-To-Read CV.......................................................................... 90
                What To Include ................................................................................................ 95
                Which Bits To Chop Out.................................................................................. 102
                Pulling It Together ........................................................................................... 104
                Getting A Second Opinion............................................................................... 105

      11. Compelling Cover Letter ........................................................................................... 107
              Excellent Cover Letter Resource..................................................................... 115

      12. Application Checklist ................................................................................................. 118

      13. And Finally… ............................................................................................................. 121

      14. Exercise Templates................................................................................................... 123
                Sample CVs And Resumes............................................................................. 140

It’s up to you whether you work through CV Confidence in sequence or just pick the exercises that
seem most relevant to you. Bear in mind that some of the exercises build on previous topics, so you
may need to go back and do some background thinking. The instructions make it clear where this is
the case.




© Clare Jaques 2006 Interview Stuff                               2
Introduction                                             CV Confidence takes you through the four
                                                         basic stages for writing an interview-winning
                                                         CV:
By being focused and having a structured
approach to writing your CV, it can be much
easier and less stressful than the traditional           Lay the foundations
last-minute panic at 2 a.m., the night before
                                                             Review your current CV (if you have one),
the submission deadline.
                                                             work experience and qualifications from
                                                             the point of view of your target audience
                                                             (the recruiter). Learn how to predict what
You can find the evidence you need to support
                                                             a recruiter’s really looking for.
your job application – even if you need to get
creative and look outside of your standard
work experience.
                                                         Pull together your Master CV

                                                             This document will be like the store
CV Confidence takes you through a structured                 cupboard of ingredients for any job
process for creating your interview-winning CV               application. It makes it much quicker to
and starting your interview preparation.                     pull out the relevant evidence for each job
                                                             you apply for. This section also covers the
                                                             typical mistakes people make that cost
Although the term “CV” is used, most of the                  them interviews and show you how to
information applies equally well to a resume or              avoid them.
job application form.


                                                         Finishing Touches
Where specific resume resources might be
                                                             If you’ve laid the foundations and pulled
useful, we’ve included links to relevant
                                                             together your Master CV, then tailoring
websites.
                                                             your application for a specific role
                                                             becomes an easy process. This section
Interview Stuff Supports Action Against                      gives you advice on how to select what to
Hunger                                                       include and what to chop out.

                      “CV     Confidence”    is
                      available free of charge.          Creating a Compelling Cover Letter
                      It's important to us that
                                                             Many a CV has been let down by a bland,
you can get hold of the advice you need,
                                                             formulaic cover letter. This single-page is
whenever you need it.
                                                             your chance to create a great first
It's also important to us to support our                     impression and get the reader interested
nominated charity, Action Against Hunger.                    in you. That gives you a huge advantage
So if you've find this guide useful, we invite you           over other candidates.
to make a donation to Action Against Hunger.

Of course, it's entirely your decision and
there's no pressure. We simply offer this option
because some people like to "pay it forward".



© Clare Jaques 2006 Interview Stuff                  3
                                                              1
                                          What A Great CV Or Resume
                                                     Can Do For You

                                          Your CV is so much more than 2 sheets of
                                                             paper or 1000 words.

                                          Make it do its job and get you the interview.




© Clare Jaques 2006 Interview Stuff   4
                                                         role your own. A generalist CV won’t do this



                                       1
                                                         for you.
What A Great CV Or
                                                       • Your CV helps you prepare for the
Resume Can Do For You
                                                         interview.
It gets you the interview.
                                                         As you read through it beforehand, you can
                                                         pre-empt the questions they will ask. You
                                                         can influence this further by deliberately
                   Why it’s so much more                 writing your CV to provoke certain
                   than 2 sheets of paper                questions! This helps you prepare for the
                   and 1000 words                        interview and feel more confident. It often
Your CV will introduce you to your potential             becomes a script that forms a basis for
new employer and get them interested.                    interview discussion.

It will get them curious before the interview.
They read hundreds of CVs. Make sure yours             • A great CV can cut weeks or even
is one they will remember! It can get you onto           months off your job-hunting process.
the “A” list as the number 1 preferred
                                                         It saves you not just time, but effort, money
candidate, before the interview.
                                                         and painful disappointment. You will only
What will this do for you?                               be applying for jobs you really want and will
It can make the interviewer positively biased            stand a much greater chance of getting
towards you. They are more likely to look for            them. If your current CV hasn’t got you the
the positives in your interview, overlooking the         job you want, then it’s costing you cash;
negatives.                                               both in lost pay rises and in attending
                                                         interviews for jobs you’re not getting.
Isn’t this the kind of competitive advantage
you’d like to have?

Your CV is designed to get you an interview.           • When you get the job offer, you can use
But its impact can reach so much further:                your CV as leverage to optimise your
                                                         position, once negotiations start.

                                                         A great CV could even lead to a 10%+ pay
• Your self-confidence will soar…
                                                         rise and an increase in benefits package. A
   … as you start to focus on what you have              poor CV has been shown to lead to a
   done well, rather than dwelling on                    smaller pay rise. Can you afford to have a
   negatives. This can also help you improve             poor CV and throw away that extra
   your working performance, getting you                 income?
   even better annual reviews.

                                                               Your CV is an investment in
• Your customised CV will show your                                   your future.
  potential employer how you can meet
                                                             A great CV can help you create
  the needs of their organisation.
                                                                  the future you want.
   It will demonstrate what you can add to the
                                                             Are you ready to start creating
   role. It will also give them an idea about
                                                                    your future now?
   how you would fit in with the team and how
   you can rise to the challenge of making the


© Clare Jaques 2006 Interview Stuff                5
                                                     What is a CV for?

                                                     • Marketing your strengths, not shouting your
Evaluate My Current CV
                                                       weaknesses
Time to be objective
                                                     • Making the most of what you have
                                                       achieved

                                                     • Getting you the number one position on the
What is a CV?                                          interview pile. Don’t just aim for an
                                                       interview. Why not aim to be the number
• Curriculum Vitae = Latin for “Course of
                                                       one preferred candidate at the start? It
  Life”
                                                       makes an amazing difference.
• “A brief account of one’s education,
                                                     • Giving you confidence when applying for
  qualifications and previous occupations”
                                                       jobs, because you know you’re suitably
  (Oxford English Dictionary)
                                                       qualified
• An employer’s first contact with you. (Note:
                                                     • Inspiring you to perform at your best in
  their second is often your voicemail, so
                                                       interview, where your CV will often be used
  check out your message!)
                                                       as a basis for discussion
• A 1-2 page summary of the key skills,
                                                     • Encouraging the interviewer to be curious
  achievements and competencies you have
                                                       about you and wanting to get to know you
  developed so far, tailored to the job for
                                                       better; inspiring the recruiter to want you on
  which you are applying
                                                       their team
• A summary of your professional history
                                                     • Giving the recruiter strong enough evidence
• An honest, free-flowing, positively phrased          that you could do the job they’re offering
  account of your suitability for a particular
  position

• A tool to sell you to the recruiter



What a CV is NOT

• Your entire life history

• All the details about every job you’ve ever
  had

• A novel

• A boring and predictable list of events

• A blanket, formulaic, “one size fits all”
  application




© Clare Jaques 2006 Interview Stuff              6
Do you already have a CV? For the purpose of the next exercise it doesn’t matter if it’s a bit out of
date. The point of this is just to get a sense of what it’s like to review a stranger’s CV, so you can start
to rewrite your CV from the recruiter’s perspective. This means you’ll be including the information they
need in the way they want to see it. It gives you a big head start over other candidates.

You may find it easier to have a trusted friend or colleague review your CV for you – it can be quite
difficult to step outside ourselves and review a document about our personal history.



Exercise 1: Evaluate Your Current CV

Don’t worry if some of your answers to these questions leave you feeling your CV needs to improve:
it’s going to! These questions are simply designed to help you see where you need to make changes
and to help show you how much your CV will have improved, by the end of this process. Just give the
exercise your best shot – whichever questions you complete, they will help you improve your CV.



                              Imagine yourself as the recruiter or HR executive.

                   Imagine opening the email or envelope and starting to read your CV.

                    Bear in mind that it has a matter of seconds to make an impression.

Click here for a blank form



What would your first impression of the candidate be?




How easy is it for you to find the information you’re looking for in the CV?




What does the CV show as the candidate’s strengths?




                                                                       Exercise continues on next page…




© Clare Jaques 2006 Interview Stuff               7
   As a potential employer, what might your concerns be?




   How would you rate this CV? (Marks out of 10)                     /10



   What would your overall impression of the CV be?




   How likely would you be to remember this applicant, in general?




   What is the 1 thing you would remember about the applicant?




   Would you call the candidate for an interview? Why is that?




Well done for completing this exercise.




© Clare Jaques 2006 Interview Stuff            8
Some people find this the hardest exercise in         Are there any areas on your CV that you want
this book, because you have to be objective           to pay particular attention to, when we get to
about a document that you have spent hours            the next phase of preparation? Write them
preparing – and we’re often not used to               here, to make it easy to remember.
critiquing a CV. It can be difficult for us to
accept that our hard work in pulling the
document together might be hindering our
chances of getting interviews and job offers.
Accepting that you need to improve your CV is
the first step towards creating a great CV that
will get you the job you want.



It’s useful to capture what you have learned
from this exercise, before moving on to the
next section. So spend a few moment
answering the next two questions.



What surprises or insights did you have from
this exercise?



                                                      Would you like a second opinion?



                                                                         Steve Holmes from CV
                                                                         Services offers a free CV
                                                                         review to job hunters.




                                                      Career Assist offer a resume review service.



                                                      Having reviewed your current CV, we’re ready
                                                      to move on to structuring the new, improved
                                                      version.




© Clare Jaques 2006 Interview Stuff               9
                                                         6. Expect to pay for quality. You should get at
                                                            least 30-60 minutes on the phone, so they
Get Someone Else To Write It?                               can get to know you and your experience.
Tough Decision                                           7. If you’re not happy with the results, use the
                                                            company’s refund guarantee and go
                                                            somewhere else. Never send off a CV
Writing your CV or resume yourself is
                                                            you’re not happy with.
undoubtedly the best option.


                                                         Steve Holmes from CV Services is an expert
However, there are times when you want or
                                                         who has written thousands of job interview
need outside help.
                                                         winning CVs.

                                                         His approach can be somewhat blunt and is
           The positive side of using a                                    definitely down-to-earth,
       bespoke CV writing service is that                                  but he knows what he’s
       you will get a CV that does justice                                 doing.
          to your experience and could
        increase your chances of getting
                  an interview.
                                                                                  Ryan Healy is from
                                                                                  Professional Resume
The potential risk is that your CV or resume                                      Writer has a proven
isn’t written by an expert, but is churned into a                                 track     record   in
formulaic template by a typist.                                                   creating resumes that
                                                                                  get job offers.

Here are some top tips for using a CV /
resume writing service:



1. Ask to see samples of the company's work.             At the end of the day, only you can decide who
2. What background does the writer have?                 to ask to write your CV / resume. Trust your
   Make sure it’s not just typing, but includes          instincts!
   copy-writing or recruitment, if possible.

3. Make sure you understand how they create
   your CV. Bear in mind the finished product
   will only be as good and interesting as the
   information you provide.                              The next section takes you back to basics;
4. Make sure you know your CV inside out. It             thinking about your key strengths and helping
   could be really embarrassing to get to the            you uncover what you have to offer a future
   interview and be "found out" for not having           employer. These questions can be quite a
   written your own CV.                                  confidence boost, as they allow you to focus
                                                         on the positive aspects of your career to date,
5. Get advice on how to tailor / customise your          writing about your achievements and what
   CV for each role. If the agency doesn’t               value you added.
   recommend this, don’t use them!

© Clare Jaques 2006 Interview Stuff                 10
                                                           2
                                                 12 Essential Questions

                                           The 12 powerful questions that make CV
                                                                     writing simple

                                            How to include your “spark” and get the
                                                                 reader’s attention.




© Clare Jaques 2006 Interview Stuff   11
                                                         how you do this; your own, personal spark



                                          2
                                                         might be work related or to do with your
The 12 Powerful Questions                                hobbies. The next few sections will help you
That Make CV Writing Simple                              identify it and include it professionally in your
                                                         CV.

(and they’re great for interview preparation)
                                                         The following 12 questions make writing your
                                                         CV much easier and faster. It is worth
                Most people write their CVs by
                                                         spending time thinking about your responses,
                producing a list of relevant
                                                         because you will find they form a fundamental
                jobs,     responsibilities and
                                                         part of writing your CV.
qualifications and trying to squeeze them onto
two pages.
                                                         By knowing the answers to these, you will find
                                                         yourself easily able to identify key
That’s ok, as long as you don’t mind having a
                                                         achievements for your CV and being able to
CV that looks the same as the other 100 the
                                                         give quick, compelling answers in an interview.
recruiter is reviewing.


                                                         Just imagine never again having to endure the
Time and again we ask recruiters what they’re
                                                         embarrassing silence, as you desperately rack
looking for in a CV, when deciding who to
                                                         your brains for an example to illustrate your
interview. The answer comes back:
                                                         skills!


                    A spark
                                                         Think about being able to impress the
        … something that gets them                       interviewer, as you clearly stay relaxed under
       intrigued; makes them want to                     pressure, where other candidates would be
                 find out more.                          fighting for answers.



In fact, even a candidate who doesn’t have the
textbook experience for the role might get an
interview if their CV gets the reader hooked.



Recruiters tell us they’re often prepared to
consider taking on someone who is under-
qualified, if it’s clear they’ll add something to
the team or develop their role.



Aside from the function-specific skills and
experience you will be expected to
demonstrate, recruiters are looking for a more
general understanding of your personality and
character. But it’s important to be subtle about

© Clare Jaques 2006 Interview Stuff                 12
Exercise 2: The 12 Questions

Take a few moments to think about your responses. You may need more space than is provided.

Click here for a blank form

1. Outline of my career so far:




2. My strengths are…




                                                               Exercise continues on next page…




© Clare Jaques 2006 Interview Stuff         13
3. My development areas / weak points are…




4. Which key things have I learned (either concrete skills or about my personal attributes)?




5. What have been my biggest achievements?




6. What wouldn’t have happened, if I hadn’t worked in my current / previous roles?




                                                                   Exercise continues on next page…




© Clare Jaques 2006 Interview Stuff            14
7. What do I have to offer my next employer?




8. What evidence can I provide to back up my claims?




9. What will my current boss miss about me when I leave?




10. What will my colleagues say about me when I leave?




                                                           Exercise continues on next page…




© Clare Jaques 2006 Interview Stuff            15
11. What will my direct reports say about me?




12. Why do I want to change jobs?




The answers you have given will have started              Make sure you have focused on positives for
to trigger thought processes that will make               this exercise.
writing your CV much easier and faster. They
can provide a framework for the examples you
want to give, illustrating what you bring to your         There may be some negative aspects that
new employer.                                             have surfaced, but the aim here is to
                                                          concentrate on identifying what you are doing
                                                          well, to make it easier to get the job you want.
At this stage, it’s a good idea to reflect on your
responses.
                                                          If you find you have written down too many
                                                          negative things (i.e. you aren’t feeling
Go back through the previous 12 questions                 confident and optimistic at the end of the
and use a highlighter or coloured pen to mark             exercise), then re-do it, only writing down
any significant points or surprises.                      positive, supportive comments.



Think about how you might want to weave                   Notice how much difference that makes.
some of these into your CV or cover letter. As
you are marking the key points, keep in mind
the context of the industry or profession in
which you want to work and think about which
parts of what you have written would
particularly appeal to potential employers.



© Clare Jaques 2006 Interview Stuff                  16
What’s next?                                             The next exercise guides you through this
                                                         process.

The next stage is to pull out what it is that
you have to offer that separates you from
other candidates.



In today’s competitive job market, applying for
a job is just like marketing a product. As top
marketers say, you have to “differentiate”
(prove how your product is different from your
competitors’) or your product doesn’t stand a
chance.



In this case, the product you are marketing is
you.



If you can’t show that you are different from the
other candidates, you are less likely to get the
job. You need to be able to quickly and easily
show what you have to offer the company that
no one else has.




                And it’s a fact:



         you have a unique blend of
          experience, job skills and
          personal characteristics,

         which no one else can offer.



       That’s your Unique Advantage.




So how can you work out what your Unique
Advantage is?




© Clare Jaques 2006 Interview Stuff                 17
                                                          through-out your application, so it’s worth
                                                          giving them some thought.
What Is My Unique Advantage?
How to capture that “spark”
                                                          How do I work out my Unique Advantage?



                                                          You need to work out what it is that makes you
Imagine you bumped into the manager                       the person that you are. And how you are
recruiting for the job you want in a lift or on an        different from other people.
escalator. You have 30 seconds to explain why
they should recruit you, rather than all the
other applicants.                                         It’s not always easy to work out, if you’re just
                                                          sitting and thinking, so the next exercise
                                                          guides you through a process that produces
What would you say? The last thing you want               results. There are many ways to find your
to be is tongue-tied.                                     Unique Advantage, but this is one of the
                                                          simplest.

These days, with fierce competition, you need
to differentiate yourself from other applicants.          You may find it easier if you have trusted
There’s a strong chance that a number of                  friends or colleagues to ask, to help stimulate
candidates will have suitable qualifications and          ideas. You could also refer back to previous
experience for the job, so how can you make               appraisals or performance reviews.
sure they choose you, above the others?


                                                          Think back to feedback you’ve had from
                                                          people. What did they say when they told you
      Help them see the advantages of                     that you were doing well?
              recruiting you.




What is it that makes you different?



When you distil these advantages into a
phrase or a few short phrases, they can guide
you through the CV and cover letter writing
process. It’s critical that these concepts are
captured in the words of your application.



These essential words will potentially form part
of the opening paragraph of your CV. They
may appear in your cover letter and they can
be the essence of you that is cleverly woven


© Clare Jaques 2006 Interview Stuff                  18
Exercise 3: Unique Advantage

•   Go through the 12 questions from the last exercise (2: The 12 Questions) with a coloured pen
    and mark the things that are unusual in your skills. What sets you apart from other people?

•   What in your history could provide that unique spark that will catch the recruiter’s attention?

•   When you have pulled out the key points, jot them on index cards or in the boxes below.

Click here for a blank form


    If you employ me, you get…                                    If you employ me, you get…




    If you employ me, you get…                                    If you employ me, you get…




    If you employ me, you get…                                    If you employ me, you get…




    If you employ me, you get…                                    If you employ me, you get…




                                                                     Exercise continues on next page…




© Clare Jaques 2006 Interview Stuff             19
•   When you look at the boxes of your differentiating attributes, which seem most compelling?

Note: it may be different for different jobs, so you may need to revisit this exercise for each
application.



•   Relax and jot down some short sentences or phrases that would capture the key points you have
    highlighted.



Phrases that capture the “real me” and my talents:




•   Which of these phrases grab your attention? Which sum you up the best? These are the features
    that form your Unique Advantage. If you want, you can distil them into a single phrase or
    sentence.

•   Write them in the box below or on a separate card. Keep them in front of you whenever
    you are working on your CV.

    They will help you keep focussed on the real you, which will help your key selling points shine
    through every section of your CV and will get you closer to the job you want.


© Clare Jaques 2006 Interview Stuff            20
My Unique Advantage is:




Keep this in front of you whenever you’re
working on your CV or interview preparation.




© Clare Jaques 2006 Interview Stuff            21
                                                             3
                                           Why Should I Customise My
                                                                CV?

                                           Sure-fire strategies to make sure your CV
                                                            doesn’t end up in the bin.

                                            … And it only takes a couple of hours…




© Clare Jaques 2006 Interview Stuff   22
                                                        company and the specific role’s requirements.



                                         3
                                                        Almost all of these made it into the “consider
Why Should I Customise                                  seriously” pile.
My CV / Resume?
                                                        Some applicants had sent blatantly “standard”
How to max your interview chances                       CVs and cover letters – even addressed to
                                                        “Dear Sir,” although the female HR advisor’s
                                                        name was in the job advert.

                By this stage, you should have          Many applicants were interested in Marketing,
                a clear idea of the kind of role        rather than Market Research, and had no
                or the type of company you              relevant experience – they hadn’t bothered to
would like to work for.                                 check the job description in the advert. They
                                                        had simply seen “Market” in the job title and
                                                        probably wanted to work for the company,
There are two main ways of submitting your              rather than do that particular job.
CV for a job application:
                                                        None of them got interviews. Yet, had they
                                                        explained why they wanted to transfer into
                                                        Market Research and highlighted their relevant
1. Have your CV on a CV database (usually
                                                        experience, they might have got through.
   through a recruiter or job search engine),
   so the same CV is sent for all applications.         One candidate included an opening paragraph
                                                        that included the sentence, “I’ve always
2. Submit a unique, tailored CV for each job
                                                        wanted to work in IT procurement…” Instant
   application, which highlights your specific
                                                        rejection.
   experience that’s relevant for that role.
                                                        This type of mistake is not uncommon, when
                                                        “blanket” applying for jobs. If you won’t go the
If you have the choice, we recommend option             extra mile to check and subtly tailor your CV,
(2) – tailoring your CV for a particular                then a potential employer won’t believe you will
application.                                            put in the extra effort if you worked for them
                                                        and you’re less likely to get the job.

Why?
                                                        Employers want to feel that you’re interested
                                                        about them and their business; and not just
Because each job is different, requiring
                                                        trying your luck with every job ad you come
different skills and experience. If you subtly
                                                        across. You can make things much harder for
include the most relevant information in your
                                                        yourself by giving the impression you can’t be
application, you increase your chances of
                                                        bothered to make even an hour’s effort to fine-
getting an interview.
                                                        tune your CV.


We were involved with the recruitment process
                                                                   “If they’re not taking us
for a Head of Market Research vacancy with a
                                                              seriously, why should we bother
major household brand. The job advert
                                                                          with them?
attracted over 100 responses, which was high
for that level of position. Some applicants had                  … was a quote from one HR
sent relevant CVs, clearly focusing on the                                 manager.


© Clare Jaques 2006 Interview Stuff                23
Even with option (1) – database submission,              In today’s tough job hunting world, there can
there’s more flexibility now than there used to          be hundreds of applicants for each position.
be. Many sites will allow you to submit multiple
CVs, because they understand that you want
to bring out the best in your experience for             Employers aren’t just looking for someone with
each role you apply for.                                 the right skills and experience. They also want
                                                         someone who will fit in to the company’s
                                                         culture and who is enthusiastic about working
If the agency you’re applying through requires           there. If they see a “standard” CV and cover
a “standard” CV, remember that this to makes             letter, it means your CV will have to work even
their job easier and speed up the recruitment            harder to overcome the less favourable first
process. If they’ve got a client banging on the          impression.
door for CVs now, then they might not want to
hang around for you to spend a week polishing
your best prose.                                                 Spending a little time preparing,
                                                                before writing your CV, can make
                                                                the difference between ending up
In this case, the best start is to customise your               on the “maybe” reserve pile or the
CV as much as possible for the industry and                     “must interview” list. Where would
types of role for which you want to apply.                                you rather be?



If the recruiter comes to you with a particular          But doesn’t tailoring my CV take time?
job in mind, you can usually persuade them to
                                                         Yes.
accept a tailored CV by explaining to them that
it is in their best interests: they get paid for         The solution? Only apply for jobs you
filling the vacancy – if you provide a tailored          actually want.
CV, you are more likely to get the job and they
are more likely to get their fee.
                                                         It may sound strange, but thousands of people
                                                         apply for jobs they don’t really want. It can
By completing the “Pull Together Your Master             happen quite easily.
CV” sections of this book, you’ll be in a
                                                         When job hunting, you can get into a frame of
position to produce a professional, well-tailored
                                                         mind where you think that the more roles you
CV in just a couple of hours, so you won’t be
                                                         apply for, the more job offers you will get.
slowing down the recruitment process.


                                                         In the unlikely event that this happens, you’ll
                                                         probably get offers of jobs you don’t really
Will they really notice?                                 want. And the time you have spent at
                                                         interviews for these positions is time you could
We recommend you write your CV with a
                                                         have spent focusing on and following up
specific role or company type in mind. Why?
                                                         applications you were excited about.


Because a recruiter can spot a “one size fits
                                                         This is a particularly common theme when job-
all” CV from a great distance.
                                                         hunting via the internet. Often you can’t even


© Clare Jaques 2006 Interview Stuff                 24
tell which company is offering the vacancy. In            suitable for you. It’s been developed by MAPP
these situations, it pays to try to find out more,        at Assessment.com.
before applying.



Usually, if you contact the agency direct and
can show you’re a highly suitable candidate,
they will give you more information.



Sometimes they have had to introduce a policy
of not telling candidates the company’s name,
because people have bypassed them, by
applying direct.                                          All you have to do is fill in a questionnaire and
                                                          they’ll email you a free report on the career
                                                          and roles that would most suit you.
In these situations, you should use your best
influencing skills to reassure the recruiter and
find out who the company is. After all, no
matter how attractive the description, you
wouldn’t agree to buy a house without seeing
exactly where it is. Similarly, the most
appealing job at the wrong company won’t
meet your needs.



You will save yourself so much time, worry and
energy by only applying for jobs that you are
interested in and where you can demonstrate a
number of the skills required.



Do you really want to have to keep taking days
off to go to interviews, only to find you are
wasting your time?



Selecting which jobs to apply for takes a little
time, but it pays dividends because you will
have a more enticing CV, get more interviews,
perform better in those interviews and get job
offers for positions that you actually want!



How can I work out which jobs to apply for?

There is a great online test you can take, to
help you decide which jobs would be most


© Clare Jaques 2006 Interview Stuff                  25
                                                      We don’t recommend writing a generalist “I’ll
                                                      do anything” CV. If you’re still not sure what
Who Am I Writing This CV For?                         you want to do, then it’s worth having some 1:1
Writing for your audience is                          coaching to help you discover the types of role
essential                                             you would enjoy and which would move you
                                                      closer to your dream job.

                                                      Even if your generalist CV is excellent, there
                                                      will be plenty of other applicants who have
• Are you writing a CV with a particular              written their CV with a specific role or at least
  position in mind?                                   job function in mind. Do you really want to
• Are you writing a CV with a general job             give them a head start?
  function or category in mind, to tailor if
  necessary?




Are you writing your CV in response to a              What Do I Do If I Haven’t Found An Ad Yet?
particular ad?
                                                      Before writing your CV, you should at least
If yes, then work through the next sections as        have a good idea of the type of position you
they are written, based on the job advert you         want to apply for (e.g. finance, marketing,
have chosen.                                          sales, manufacturing, engineering design,
                                                      management), or it’s more difficult to write a
                                                      good CV.



                                                      You can use the rest of the exercises in this
                                                      section to find out more about the
                                                      qualifications, experience and characteristics
                                                      required by key employers for these markets.
                                                      This is a great start for preparing your Master
                                                      CV, prior to job hunting.



                                                      With each exercise, think more generally about
                                                      the profession you want to work in. Apply the
                                                      questions to your ideal company. This will help
                                                      you prepare your CV and will be good
                                                      background research for interviews.



                                                      It’s a good idea to read through the company-
                                                      specific sections anyway, as these will help
                                                      you prepare for your job interviews.




© Clare Jaques 2006 Interview Stuff              26
You have seen an advert or job specification that interests you. What next?



Exercise 4: Vetting A Job Advert

Make a note in the table below of what specifically excites or intrigues you about the role. This may be
something about the function, the challenges offered, the benefits package, having a team to manage
or the company’s image, or many other reasons.



Would this job move you closer towards your outcome? It’s important to ask this particular vetting
question, because you can almost guarantee that, at some point, the interviewer will ask you where
you see yourself in 5-10 years’ time. They want to see how this role fits into your career plan. If it
doesn’t, they might think you’ll only do the job for a short time, before leaving to work elsewhere. This
is likely to reduce your chances of getting a job offer.



Click here for a blank form



 What, specifically, interests, intrigues or excites me about this role?




 Is there anything I don’t like or disadvantages about this role?




                                                                       Exercise continues on next page…

© Clare Jaques 2006 Interview Stuff              27
 Being honest, is this role a good match for what I wanted to do next?




 How does this position fit with where I want to be going long-term? Would this choice support my 5-
 10 year vision? *




Do I still want to apply for this job?        Yes                      No              Not sure



Be honest with yourself! If this job won’t move          Once you have decided you want to reply to a
you closer to your outcome and doesn’t                   job advert, many people would draft a quick
support your 5-10 year vision, then you need             cover letter and send off their CV. You can
to review what it will give you. Or maybe you            dramatically improve your chances by doing
need to reconsider what you’re looking for?              some detective work first.

* This is a critical question, because it should
be the driving force of your applications.
                                                         It’s time to research the company.
Review it for every application. It’s effectively
your long-term goal.”




© Clare Jaques 2006 Interview Stuff                 28
                                                                4
                                                           Do Your Homework

                                             Why researching the employer is so vital to
                                                                  your job application.

                                           How to use the information to help you get an
                                                                              interview..




© Clare Jaques 2006 Interview Stuff   29
                                                          4. You can get more excited about your



                                           4
                                                             application and put more energy into it,
Do Your Homework                                             if you have researched the company and
Why doing your homework is so                                really decided you’d like to work there. This
important                                                    will shine through in your CV, cover letter
                                                             and any contact you have with the
                                                             company. Employers like people who are
                                                             enthusiastic about their business.

               You’ve decided to apply for a
               position in a particular company.          5. Understanding more about the company
               You have the job advert or                    culture can even influence the layout of
               description and could start to                your CV. Some companies want a more
               write your CV now.                            conservative layout than one for, say, a
But spending a little time finding out more                  graphic design agency. Bear in mind the
about the company will deliver seven main                    culture   and      expectations    of   any
benefits:                                                    intermediary (e.g. a recruitment agency).



1. Help you better understand what the                    6. Knowing more about the company can
   company’s ideal employee would be                         influence how you handle the interview
   like, so you can make sure your CV                        and the types of questions you will ask the
   illustrates your suitability (big head start!).           interviewer. It gives you a head start over
                                                             other candidates, because you will be able
                                                             to give examples that are relevant to the
2. It can help you decide whether you want                   company’s       market   and    competitive
   to work for the company.                                  environment. Showing an understanding
                                                             of the company’s potential business
                                                             challenges is one of the easiest ways to
3. You should have a good idea what’s                        impress in a cover letter or an interview.
   important to you about a working                          It shows enthusiasm and business insight.
   environment. It’s important to check out
   whether a potential employer will be able to
   satisfy these needs, before you apply.                 7. The interviewer will expect you to have
   Imagine     going   through     the    whole              “done your homework”, if you are
   recruitment process, being offered the job,               applying for a professional position, for
   then realising you don’t want it. That would              which there has been much competition.
   be a waste of time, effort and money, which               You can disadvantage your application by
   could have been better spent chasing a job                claiming to be passionate about the
   you actually want. Worse still, you might                 company and it’s brand, but not even
   even accept the job and quickly find you                  bothering to look through its website.
   weren’t happy, causing you to start the job
   hunting process again and have an
                                                          8. You never know when your CV might
   awkwardly short job to explain on your CV.
                                                             lead to an impromptu telephone
                                                             screening interview – so, if you’re serious
                                                             about a job, it’s worth being prepared!


© Clare Jaques 2006 Interview Stuff                  30
Exercise 5: How much do you know about                Don’t worry if you can’t answer all the
the company?                                          questions. Some of them may not be relevant
                                                      to the industry you work in. It’s a good idea to
Depending who you’re hoping to work for,
                                                      refer back to this exercise and add to your
chances are you already know quite a lot
                                                      answers, as you discover more about the
about them.
                                                      company or industry.
Maybe they are a “household name”. Maybe
they’re a local employer and you know people
who work there. Whatever your level of                If you don’t know much about the company
awareness of the company and its market, it’s         yet, potential research sources are given later
worth spending a few minutes brainstorming            in this chapter.
what you already know.

The questions below are a starting point. Feel
                                                      Click here for a blank form
free to add questions of your own.


  What is your current impression of the company? What do you like or dislike about it, based on
  your current level of knowledge?




  What is the public reputation or image of this company?




  What is the main business of the company?




© Clare Jaques 2006 Interview Stuff              31
  Do you know anyone who works there who you could talk to about the company? Do you know
  anyone who knows anyone who works there? Make the most of your contacts!




  What size is the company? (number of employees, turnover, international subsidiaries, etc)




  How is the company currently performing? (e.g. market share, profits, other relevant measures,
  are there any plans for expansion / takeovers)




  Where would the advertised role fit within the company’s structure and plans?




© Clare Jaques 2006 Interview Stuff           32
  What do you know about its culture?




  Does the company have a published “vision” or “mission statement”?




  What do you know about what it’s like to work there?




  What is the likelihood of your top values being satisfied by working there?




© Clare Jaques 2006 Interview Stuff             33
  How would the company describe its “ideal employee”? What types of skills and characteristics
  would they have?




  Are there any “buzz words” that the company or industry uses in its literature. (You might include
  these in your interview).




  What would be the pros and cons of working for this company?




Question: Do I still want this job?

                 Yes

                 No

                 Not sure

                                  Be honest with yourself!


© Clare Jaques 2006 Interview Stuff              34
                                                        Nice to have:

What Do I Want To Find Out
The importance of narrowing your
research




Do you want to find out more about the
company, before making a decision?

What did you learn from completing the
previous exercise?

You don’t need to know everything, before
applying for a job or going for an interview.
Time is often a constraint, so it’s important to
find a balance between researching the
company, preparing for the next stage of
your application and maintaining your
performance in your current job.

Go through your answers to Exercise 5 with a
highlighter pen – highlight the questions that
particularly interested you or were important
for the job application.

Do you have adequate answers to all the
                                                                 Remember you’re only at the
questions you highlighted?
                                                                     application stage.
List below the areas you still want to research.
This will help you maintain focus and make
sure your research doesn’t turn into too large a                 You want to find out about the
project!                                                         company, but you may want to
                                                                wait until you’ve actually had an
                                                               interview offer, before you go into
Essential:                                                              too much detail.




© Clare Jaques 2006 Interview Stuff                35
                                                         These may be available in magazines and
                                                         newspapers, in the shops, from their website
Where Can I Look?                                        or by phoning their customer services team. If
Essential sources of information                         it’s a company that markets directly to the
                                                         public, then friends and family may have seen
                                                         adverts or sales letters and might be able to
                                                         help.
With the internet, finding out about a company           The company’s own website is often your best
has never been easier. This section covers               initial port of call. Most large companies have a
some of the sources of information that are              press office, which will send out relevant
readily available. If you don’t have internet            background information, if you call them. Bear
access at home (and can’t surf to research               in mind, however, that their response can be
future employers at work…), then it is available         slow.
at internet cafes and in local libraries.

                                                         What Do I Do With The Information?
Research Resources

• Contacts who work at the company
                                                         • Decide whether you still want to go ahead
• Family & friends                                         with your application? Is the company one
• Telephone the recruiter                                  you want to work for?

• Company reports                                        • Go through your research notes and pull
                                                           out any information that you think is not
• Company website & Specialist websites                    “common knowledge”. These facts may be
• Newspapers and magazines                                 useful in a cover letter or interview
                                                           situation, because they will help you give
• Mystery shopping (e.g. in-store / telephone
                                                           more relevant replies to questions and
  / product research)
                                                           show your business intelligence.

                                                         • Use the information to conduct a SWOT
Telephone The Recruiter                                    (Strengths / Weaknesses / Opportunities /
It’s perfectly acceptable to phone the recruiter,          Threats) analysis (or similar) of the
before applying for a job or going for an                  company or the market. This will help you
interview. If you’ve applied through a                     turn the information you have researched
recruitment agency, they may well have good                into insight and will put you head and
insight into the recruiting company. However, if           shoulders above other candidates.
you can, it may be better to talk directly to the
prospective employer.

                                                         In summary:

                                                         Researching the company you want to work for
Company Literature & Website                             is easier than ever before. It doesn’t have to be
• Brochures                                              in great detail, prior to applying, but it is useful
                                                         to complete properly, if you are offered an
• Sales letters                                          interview.
• Adverts


© Clare Jaques 2006 Interview Stuff                 36
By learning more about the company and the
market, it enables you to subtly include the
right “buzz words” in your CV and show a
greater understanding of the contribution you
could make, when writing your cover letter. It
gives you an advantage over candidates who
haven’t bothered to find out about the
company.



Researching a company (and subtly showing
your knowledge) demonstrates that you are a
motivated self-starter with plenty of initiative:
characteristics valued by the majority of
employers. Showing you have these skills is
important and compelling to a future employer,
rather than just writing them as potential
clichés in your CV.



Small companies are well worth researching
too, as you are likely to know less about them
and will want to decide whether you really want
to work for them. So much less is publicly
known about them that few candidates will be
able to show the knowledge you will
accumulate. This will count positively for you in
your CV and at an interview.



What’s next?

You’ve decided to apply for the job and have
researched the company. Now it’s time to
discover how to work out what the recruiter is
really looking for.




© Clare Jaques 2006 Interview Stuff                 37
                                                            5
                                           What’s The Recruiter Really
                                                        Looking For?

                                           Find out how to second-guess their needs.

                                                Make it easy for them to choose you.




© Clare Jaques 2006 Interview Stuff   38
                                                          to a list of facts, with no human side).

What The Recruiter’s
Really Looking For
Make it easy for them to choose you
                                           5              The key to a great CV is being both
                                                          professional and human, whilst subtly telling
                                                          the compelling story of why you are right for
                                                          the job.



                    Who is the recruiter?

                    The “recruiter” in this                        Recruiters want to see the real
                    context is the person who is                   you; not hype, exaggeration or
                    vetting your CV. It might be                               image.
                    someone in a recruitment
                    agency, drawing up a short-
list of candidates. Or it might be someone in
the potential employer’s Human Resources
team, your potential future manager or even
the person you are replacing. Or it can be all of         Recruiters, like most of us, don’t like
these.                                                    making decisions.



                                                          It can be a difficult and stressful process. The
                                                          recruiter is choosing a single person from
What are recruiters really looking for?
                                                          many applicants and is responsible for
                                                          choosing the right person. They have to live
                                                          with that decision. Many people don’t like
                                                          making decisions and recruiters are no
         Despite what candidates might                    exception.
          think, recruiters are human.

                                                          Make it easy for them to choose you for
                                                          interview! Help them easily assess your
                                                          suitability and show them quickly how you
They want to work with real people, not robots.
                                                          match the profile they are trying to recruit.


As well as the deciding whether you’re the
                                                          How?
right person for the job, a recruiter will want to
like their chosen candidate. This may not be a
conscious need. But they’ll be reading
between the lines of your CV to assess
whether they would want to work with you.                        By writing your CV from their point
                                                                       of view, giving them the
                                                                  information they need, in a way
That’s why it’s such a waste that so many CVs                     that’s easy for them to pick out..
make their owners look either unprofessional
(due to careless mistakes) or like robots (due


© Clare Jaques 2006 Interview Stuff                  39
What are the big questions a recruiter will
be asking themselves, during the 30
                                                      The exercises in this book will help your CV
seconds in which they scan your CV?
                                                      achieve that for you.


• Do you demonstrate the skills and
                                                      Your aim is not just to secure an interview, but
  characteristics the position needs? It’s not
                                                      to reach the preferred candidate position, prior
  enough just to write the keywords in your
                                                      to the interview, to be at the top of the “A” list.
  CV, you need to prove that you have those
  skills, through the examples you give.



• Do you have relevant experience?                    Why is the “A” list position so important?

                                                      Research has illustrated this.

• Can you back this up with evidence?                 Two classes of average-grade students were
                                                      picked for this experiment. One class was
                                                      given to a teacher who was told they were the
• What other transferable skills do you have?         brightest, highest potential students in their
                                                      year. The other class was given to a teacher
                                                      who was told they were under-performing, low
• What value did you add in your previous             achievers.
  roles?
                                                      At the end of the school year, the “higher”
                                                      class had dramatically out-performed the
• Will you fit in with the team and the               “lower” set.
  company?

                                                      Why is that?
• Can you adapt to the role?

                                                      Our brain receives an estimated 2 million
• What benefits will you bring with you?              pieces of information at any time: from the stuff
                                                      we consciously notice, through to things like
                                                      the air pressure and our breathing rate. It has
• Will people like working with you?                  to filter this information to prevent us from
                                                      being overwhelmed.

                                                      These filters operate at many levels – from the
• What makes you different from other
                                                      physical data the body collects through to the
  candidates?
                                                      words people use. It impacts the way we think
                                                      and the way we feel about others, too.
Nobody is a perfect candidate. And if your CV         Once you have formed a belief or opinion
made out that you were, the recruiter would           about something or somebody, your brain
probably be suspicious. Most recruiters are           tends to filter out or dismiss the information
looking for someone who can grow and adapt            that doesn’t support that belief. This impacts
to the role, who shows a “spark” that makes           what we think and how we behave.
them different to the other candidates.



© Clare Jaques 2006 Interview Stuff              40
So in the example of the school teachers, they            No matter how hard a recruiter tries to be
had been given beliefs or opinions about the              objective and unbiased in an interview, these
ability of the students. Their brains then started        subconscious filters will be running.
noticing things that confirmed these beliefs, so
the situation became a self-fulfilling prophecy.
                                                          We have actually seen this happen.

A similar thing can happen in job interviews.
                                                          During the CV screening process in a major
                                                          British manufacturing company, the manager
                                                          of the vacant role came across a CV that had a
                                                          spark.
            If a recruiter is interviewing
        someone whose CV put them on                      The candidate had some unusual work
          the “reserve” list or a CV with                 experience that made him memorable and
            careless mistakes in it, the                  interesting, convincing the manager he would
           candidate has to work much                     fit well in the company and role. His
              harder to avoid rejection.                  qualifications and skills weren’t the strongest in
                                                          the pile, but he still entered the interview
                                                          process as the preferred candidate – on the
                                                          “A” list.

This is because the recruiter has a less-than-            In the interview, he performed well. However,
wonderful impression of the person and will               all three short-listed candidates failed the
probably be less well-disposed towards them               assessment centre.
than other candidates.
                                                          The recruiting manager was so convinced that
They might not even be consciously aware of               his preferred candidate was ideal for the role
this. They will be more likely to notice the              that he called him back for a second
“wrong” answers and “mistakes” you make,                  assessment centre, whilst the other applicants
out-weighing the positives.                               were rejected. The “A” list candidate got the
                                                          job.



         Similarly, recruiters will normally
            have a short-list of “A” list
          candidates to interview; their
       “favourites”, who have a head start
            in the interview process.




The recruiter is more likely to feel relaxed,
curious and positive towards you. Any
“mistakes” you might make are more likely to
be dismissed or given the benefit of the doubt,
while positives are amplified. You are more
likely to sail your way into the job.


© Clare Jaques 2006 Interview Stuff                  41
                                                          Exercise 6: How To Read Between The
                                                          Lines Of A Job Advert
Reading Between The Lines
How to decode a job advert
                                                          What are the key skills / talents / experience
                                                          they are looking for?


How to read between the lines of an advert                There are key words or phrases that a recruiter
and pull out what they’re really looking for.             will be looking for in your application. In an ad,
                                                          these give hints as to the skills that are needed
                                                          and the evidence they might want to see. Re-
How do you know what they want and what
                                                          read the job advert, your notes from your
evidence do they want to see?
                                                          research phone call and your company /
                                                          industry research.
The following exercise helps you see through
the jargon and hype of a job ad and work out
                                                          If you don’t have a specific job advert in mind,
what the recruiter is really looking for.
                                                          research the function you are interested in and
                                                          find out information about potential employers.
It means that you will have the opportunity to
demonstrate the competencies and experience
                                                          Use this information to make a list of the key
they want, whilst other candidates are merely
                                                          characteristics and experience the job
regurgitating the clichés from the job
                                                          requires. Brainstorm a list of the key skills,
description, with little evidence to back up their
                                                          qualifications, experience and characteristics,
claims.
                                                          then complete the exercise below.


The exercise ties together both the job advert
and the research you have done on the
company and its market.



         It forms the basis for deciding
      which information and examples to
      include in your CV and cover letter,
       meaning the reader will be drawn
               to your application.



You will be one of the few candidates who is
actually writing from the recruiter’s perspective,
rather than the candidate’s.




© Clare Jaques 2006 Interview Stuff                  42
Skill                            Essential / Optional   Key Words / Phrases     What Evidence Are They   How Can I Demonstrate These Skills?
                                                                                     Looking For?
                                                        to include in your CV

1.




2.




3.




4.




5.




6.




7.




© Clare Jaques 2006 Interview Stuff          43
Skill                            Essential / Optional   Key Words / Phrases     What Evidence Are They   How Can I Demonstrate These Skills?
                                                                                     Looking For?
                                                        to include in your CV

8.




9.




10.




11.




© Clare Jaques 2006 Interview Stuff          44
When you have completed this exercise,                   which information to highlight in your CV and
imagine you are the recruiter and critically             cover letter, ensuring it makes compelling,
review your “Evidence” column.                           relevant reading; speaking to the recruiter.



Would the recruiter        agree    with    your
conclusions?
                                                         Congratulations on finishing laying the
                                                         foundations for your CV. The next stage is to
                                                         compile all the information you need for your
      This exercise is a good way to pull
                                                         Master CV, to make tailoring job applications
        out the needs of your potential
                                                         painless.
       future employer and think about
      how you can prove you meet those
                     needs.



Most candidates don’t bother to do this,
instead sending off a CV that is their “best
guess”.



There are few things more flattering than
someone who has taken the time to
understand what you really want and then
shows how they can meet those needs.
Wouldn’t it be great to do that for a recruiter?



There’s a lot of truth in the saying, “They don’t
care how much you know, until they know how
much you care.”



By working out how you can help them, you
are showing them you care and getting them
emotionally hooked, wanting to meet you.
People buy on emotion and support that
decision with logic.



The output from this exercise enables you to
confidently create a CV that will arouse
curiosity in the reader, making them want to
know more and putting you on the ‘A’ list.



We will come back to this later in this book,
when you will use your thoughts to decide


© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006                 45
                                                                  6
                                                         Collect My Master CV
                                                                   Ingredients

                                            How to make it easy to tailor your CV to each
                                                                               application.

                                           Spend an evening – it’ll save you days of work!




© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006   46
Collect Ingredients For My
Master CV
Make it easy to customise quickly
                                            6
How do I pull together my Master CV?



We’re going to do this section by section,
including all the major topics you would
typically be asked for in your CV, to allow you
to pick and mix for any job application.



The order in which the sections are covered
works well as a CV format. However, there are
no strict rules and the best format will depend
on the type of role for which you are applying,
as well as your level of experience and your
personal preference. After all, it’s your
document.



For example, some people prefer to include
the “Achievements” section within their career
history, whilst others like to separate it, to give
it greater prominence.



For the purposes of compiling a Master CV, we
have included it under the career history,
because it is easier for you to work with it in
that format, during the drafting stage.



You can pull out key achievements to include
as headlines earlier in the CV, if you want to.



If you choose this option, make sure you
remember to provide a context and evidence
for each achievement and make them relevant
to the application.



© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006                   47
                                                                               Neil Williamson’s Resume
Main Elements Of Your Master
                                                                               Layout Pro will help you
CV
                                                                               with your resume design.
Essential items to include




Main elements of your Master CV

1. Page Header
2. Contact Details
                                                        Quick reminder: what a CV is NOT
3. Personal Summary
4. “Career History” / “Professional
   Background” / “Professional History” /               • Your entire life history
   “Professional”
                                                        • A novel
5. Skills and attributes
                                                        • A boring and predictable list of events
6. Training
7. Professional Memberships and                         • A blanket, formulaic, “one size fits all”
   Qualifications                                         application

8. Education and Qualifications                         • Difficult to write
9. Additional Skills
10.Personal
11.References


                                                        What’s my objective?
Note: If you’re doing a resume instead of a
CV, you might want to check out these                   This won’t be included in your CV, but it’s
online resume format resources, then return             useful to have it at the top of your Master CV,
to this document to find out what to put in each        to remind you what you’re aiming for and help
section.                                                you stay focused on what’s relevant. You can
                                                        use input from all the previous exercises to
                                                        help you write your objective.
                 Ronan Kennedy’s resume and
                 cover letter samples.
                                                        For example, say you don’t have the textbook
                                                        perfect skills for a role, your objective might be
                                                        to convince the reader that you area a fast
                                                        learner and would soon pick up what you
                                                        needed.



                                                        If, on paper, you’re over-qualified, your CV’s
                                                        objective might be to show how your additional
Career Assist offers resume templates.                  skills could support the team in the role.



© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006                48
                                                          want to avoid the risk of confusion between
                                                          your CV and another candidate’s.
         My objective for my CV is

                                                          There is no need to add the words “Curriculum
                                                          Vitae” or “CV”, because it is obvious what the
                                                          document is for.




                                                          2.   Contact Details

                                                          Make sure your contact details are on both the
                                                          front page of your CV and in your Cover Letter.
                                                          Many people like to put these at the bottom of
                                                          the second page. However, you want a
Remember: the purpose of your CV is to                    recruiter to be able to contact you easily, to call
arouse curiosity and get you a preferred                  you for interview, so save them the effort of
candidate interview. Be genuine, human and                turning pages and include your address,
ruthless – your CV is not the place to start              email and phone number at the top of the
practising your novel-writing skills: not even in         front page. You can save space by avoiding
the Master CV.                                            the “standard” address format and writing it in
                                                          one line.

                                                          See the example on the next page.


       If it’s not relevant, don’t include
                         it.                              It’s worth avoiding using your work email for
                                                          contact, as this can be perceived as
                                                          unprofessional and catch you out if your email
                                                          is monitored. Hotmail, Yahoo and other email
                                                          accounts are free and easy to open. Make
The wording you use in your Master CV will be
                                                          sure your email address conveys a sense of
used in your final CV, so this is the point where
                                                          professionalism.         For         example,
you take the time to get it right.
                                                          JohnSmith@mail.com would be fine, but
                                                          Funky123@yahoo.com might convey the
                                                          wrong impression       in   a   professional   job
1.   Page Header
                                                          application.
Your page header needs to include your full
name, in a bold font, typically 2 points bigger
than your main text.                                      If you’re giving a phone number with voicemail,
                                                          do a quick check on your outgoing message
                                                          and make sure it’s one you’d want a potential
It’s up to you whether you align it left, right or        employer to hear! Make sure anyone you
centre. Make sure your name is shown in the               share the phone with (e.g. at home) knows you
same way, in the same place of both pages of              might be getting a call from a recruiter, so they
your CV. Although you might send it in stapled,           can answer the phone appropriately.
it is highly likely to be photocopied and you


© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006                  49
John Smith
Home Address 22 My Street, Anytown, Midfordshire, GL51 4XX

Direct Lines     01285 XXX XXX / 07735 XXX XXX

Email            JohnSmith@XYZ.com




3.    Personal Summary

This section is optional. Some people like it,            This is the point to let your true communication
others hate it.                                           skills shine through.

However, whether or not you include it in your
final CV, it’s worth drafting for your Master CV.
                                                                 Distilling your Unique Advantage
It might help you with your cover letter and is
                                                                   into 4 or 5 inspiring lines is a
certainly useful for interview preparation.
                                                                   challenge that illustrates your
Many recruiters find it useful, giving them an                   skills much more effectively than
overview of the candidate, before they read on                       the phrase “I’m an expert
into the detail. However, it must be well-written                    communicator” ever could.
and avoid using clichés (see the section in this
book on the Top 5 Clichés and How To Avoid
Them).

The personal summary is the opening                       The summary needs to flow and have
paragraph of your CV and is a 4-5 line                    memorable “hot buttons” in it, to grab the
synopsis, selling your Unique Advantage. It’s             recruiter’s attention and make them want to
effectively a mini advert for you. Its purpose is         know more.
to get the reader hooked, before they even get
to the detail of your CV.
                                                          One option you have in this section is to
                                                          consider writing it in the 3rd person (as though
This summary is written from the preparation              someone else were talking about you). Most
you did in the sections:                                  people currently use 1st person (“I am; I did;”
                                                          talking about yourself). This is entirely personal
     • The 12 Questions That Make CV Writing
                                                          preference. It’s important that you are
       Simple (Exercise 2)
                                                          comfortable with this paragraph, or it won’t flow
     • Unique Advantage (Exercise 3)                      properly.
     • Values

     • Your recent work appraisals                        Recruiters can get bored of reading “I” and
                                                          “my” all day, causing all CVs to blend into one.
                                                          If they haven’t consciously registered your
You include the top selling point(s) that make
                                                          name at the top of your CV, there is a risk that
you ideal for the job. It is worth spending time
                                                          days later they will attribute your excellent
getting this right; drafting and editing it. Ask a
                                                          summary profile to another candidate.
trusted friend or colleague for their opinion.


© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006                  50
By writing it using your name, rather than “I”, it            Professional
helps them remember who you are. It also
                                                          The title given to this section can be quite
saves you having to include the item “gender”
                                                          varied. The examples above are typical
in your personal information section.
                                                          choices.

                                                          Whilst deciding what to include in this section,
You can also use the present tense for much               you should remember that some people prefer
of this paragraph, particularly when describing           to include the “Achievements” section within
your personal qualities. This gives the reader            their career history, whilst others like to
the subliminal (and true) impression that these           separate it, to give it greater prominence. For
are characteristics you still possess, which will         the purposes of compiling a Master CV, we
be transferable to your new role with them,               have included it under the career history,
rather than being restricted to your current              because it is easier for you to work with it
company.                                                  during the draft stage.



For example:                                              Many CVs are too function- and duty-based,
                                                          focusing on the day-to-day content of the
                                                          historical roles.
     I did this, I did that, I am the other. My
                                                          Recruiters often aren’t as interested in your job
     achievements are…
                                                          title as they are in what you actually added to
                                                          your company. This is because the job
… could become…                                           functionality might not be transferable, but your
                                                          skills and attributes are. The exception to this
                                                          rule is recruitment where specific functional
     John did this, he did that and John is               experience is expected. The readers of your
     the other. His achievements are…                     CV are interested in what you achieved,
                                                          delivered, learned and added to your team, as
                                                          well as what was written on your business
           You don’t need a title for this                cards. Be aware of this when writing your
                     paragraph.                           career section.



Opinions are mixed on the use of titles such as           Another challenge is that job titles can be
“Personal Summary”, “Objective” or “Profile”.             confusing.
Some think they’re modern, others think
                                                          For example, the term “Executive” can be used
they’re clichés.
                                                          for anyone from a Chief Executive to a Sales
So it’s probably best to avoid using a title. It’s        Executive    and       no longer   gives   an
obvious to the reader that it’s an introduction           understanding of the true nature of the role
and summary, so save yourself a line and miss             and its responsibilities.
out the title.
                                                          Someone working as a “manager” in one
                                                          company may be called a “director” or a
                                                          “technical expert” in another.

                                                          Therefore it is important to briefly explain what
4.    Career   History   /   Professional
                                                          your role was, if there is any possibility of
      Background / Professional History /


© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006                  51
confusion.                                               • Company outline. For a lesser-known
                                                           company or a division of a well-known
Don’t expect a recruiter to be able to mind-
                                                           company, it can be helpful to set a context
read or understand the jargon specific to your
                                                           by briefly telling the reader, for example,
previous employers.
                                                           the company’s main product, its annual
                                                           turnover and the number of staff. Keep this
Chronological vs. skills-based CV?                         to one line, maximum.

If you are writing a “traditional format”                • Functional description: what, specifically,
chronological CV, i.e. one where your skills               were you responsible for? What was the
and achievements fall under the Career                     context of your role?
History section, then this will be the longest           • Achievements. Make sure you provide
section of your CV.                                        context, evidence and relevance; written
                                                           in punchy bullet points.

A traditional format CV is easier to write if you
are continuing with your current career and              It doesn’t have to be daunting.
want your CV to tell a chronological story.



However, if you are writing a “skills-based” CV,
your Career History will just include the outline
of your positions, as the majority of your skills
and achievements will already have been
listed in a separate section. A skills-based CV
is useful if you are changing career direction
and want to illustrate your transferable
competencies, or if you have considerable
work experience and want to pull out your key
achievements more obviously.



Click here for example CVs




The key items you could include in your career
history section are:



• Job title or role description (subject to
  the comments above)

• Date job started and finished. Month and
  year are sufficient. For a long career, often
  just the year will suffice.




© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006                 52
                                           Exercise 7: How To Select Your Evidence



                                           Look at each of your historical jobs or positions
                                           with a company in turn, starting with the most
                                           recent.



                                           If you had more than one role within a
                                           company over time, split the jobs into whatever
                                           chunks seem most appropriate.



                                           Stand back and ask yourself the questions
                                           below, providing evidence for your claims,
                                           wherever appropriate.



                                           This will give you a great head start in writing
                                           your Master CV, allowing you to market your
                                           skills and achievements in a way that is
                                           relevant and compelling to a future employer.




© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006   53
Click here for a blank form

    Job Position & Company          e.g. Director of UK Marketing, XYZ Widgets




    How did my involvement add      Developing team to self-sufficiency in advertising
    value   to    my  team    /     procurement, from briefing to campaign evaluation.
    organisation?



    What changed as a result of     New strategy for print ad space buying, leading to 20%
    me being there?                 reduction in costs.




    Which major challenges /        Launch of new brand XYZ. The brand manager was working
    achievements was I involved     for me. I took the role of mentor.
    in?     What   was       my
    contribution?

    What were my (team’s)           Innovative TV ad campaign came in 10% under-budget,
    greatest successes?             increased brand awareness 8%, grew market share by 20%.
                                    Initial TV idea was mine. My role: developing / supporting
    What was I accountable for?
                                    team to implement project. Responsible for final approval.

    Which skills did I develop in   Budget management, mentoring and coaching, departmental
    that role?                      strategic planning, team succession planning.




    What was I the driver for?      Challenging assumptions and bringing in systems to measure
                                    the impact of our work on market share and bottom line profit.




    Where did I excel?              Staying calm and level-headed in a crisis.




    Which personal attributes did   Dealing with politics, evaluating my personal performance
    I develop?                      with minimal feedback, delegation.




                                                                   Exercise continues on next page…




© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006             54
    How did I shape my role?            Started as a marketing manager with 5 direct reports and
                                        finished as a Director, with a team of 15, due to 2 promotions.




    Which of these are most             Marketing Director:
    relevant to the positions for       TV ad campaign
    which I am applying?                Strategic planning
                                        Mentoring & succession planning

    Headline (see the next page         Developed the marketing team from tactical thinkers on a
    for help on writing this)           declining brand to strategic planners, producing increased
                                        market shares in all segments, in a challenging consumer
                                        environment.



You should complete this exercise for each                  Practise writing headlines that get the reader
of your major career roles.                                 interested enough to want to read the rest of
                                                            your paragraph. They don’t have to be as short
                                                            as a newspaper headline. It’s more important
It takes a little time, but will give you almost all        that they’re interesting and convey the
the information you could possibly want to                  essence of what benefits you bring to your new
include in your Master CV, making job                       employer, as a result of that role. 17-21 words
applications and interviews easier and less                 is a useful maximum length.
stressful.

                                                            An example of a headline for the example in
Once you have compiled this information (also               the last exercise is:
great interview preparation!), it is useful to
write a headline, to summarise the value you
added to each role. You can then follow this                   Developed the marketing team on a
with a few bullet point lines, giving more detail.             declining brand from tactical thinkers to
                                                               strategic planners, producing increased
                                                               market shares in all sectors.
Why do I need a headline?

Recruiters often scan your CV in less than 30
                                                            What would your headline be for the job you
seconds. They make a preliminary interview
                                                            worked with in Exercise 7? There is no right or
decision in that time. Giving them clear
                                                            wrong. It’s just a way of grabbing the reader’s
headlines will help them scan your CV,
                                                            attention, making them want to find out more.
meaning they at least catch the key benefits
you offer.




© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006                    55
                                                          For example,

                                                             I ran a customer satisfaction survey that
CVs Use Unique Grammar
                                                             measured the change in levels of
Know when to bend the rules                                  customer satisfaction after we had
                                                             made a product instruction manual
                                                             change.

It’s easy for a CV to end up full of “I” and “my”,
which can be repetitive. The good news is that            … could become…
CVs are allowed to bend some of the grammar
rules that apply to other business documents.
                                                             Designed and implemented a customer
                                                             satisfaction study, which quantified the
In your CV, it is quite acceptable to use bullet             impact of improved communication
pointed lists with incomplete sentences, to                  materials.
avoid the repetition of “I” and to save space.
The key to giving these impact is to start the
bullet point with a verb (an action).                     How would this change your impression of the
                                                          candidate?


Your bullets need to provide:
                                                          This type of change will make the recruiter ask
                                                          questions, which they can follow up in
                                                          interview. You can pre-empt these questions,
                                                          which will give you more confidence in the
                     Context
                                                          interview.
           What was the situation /
          environment? Where? With
                 whom? Why?                               It also shows the skills you demonstrated as
                                                          being transferable. This helps the recruiter
                                                          start to imagine how you could apply them
                   Relevance                              within their company, rather than thinking your
                                                          skills are only relevant to, in this case,
       Does it add to your application? If
                                                          instruction manuals.
                  not, ditch it.


                                                          Once they can imagine you working for their
                    Evidence
                                                          team, you’re half-way to the job offer!
            How can you prove your
       contribution? Can you measure it?
          Is there evidence? Can you
                 demonstrate it?




© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006                  56
Exercise 8: Bullets And Headlines



What bullet points could you write for the job you worked with in exercise 7?



        •




        •




        •




        •




What headline would you write to capture the essence of what benefits you bring to your new
employer, as a result of that role?




Complete this for each of the roles on your CV.         interview . Preparing in this way means you
These answers will allow you to quickly and             can answer much more confidently, giving
easily pick the relevant points from your               more relevant examples than other candidates.
Master CV to produce a tailored CV for each
application.

Keep copies of your notes, because they are
great for revision, prior to interviews. You can
almost guarantee that the type of questions
asked in these exercises will come up in your


© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006                57
5.   Skills and Attributes                             • Coached the team to develop and
                                                         implement Brand Y’s 2002 TV advertising
What are the key competencies, skills or
                                                         campaign, leading to an 8% increase in
attributes required by the role for which you
                                                         brand salience1 and a 20% growth of
are applying? (Review Exercise 6). These are
                                                         market share.
the critical characteristics or types of
experience that an employer is hoping to find          • Introduced structured marketing planning
in the person they recruit.                              and budget review processes, which
                                                         directly contributed to a 20% reduction in
                                                         print ad space costs and allowed for
For a chronological CV, these should be                  departmental succession planning.
covered in your opening summary paragraph
and throughout your career history.



It’s worth ticking them off on a list, as you
cover them in your CV, to make sure you
haven’t left any out.
                                                                         Remember:


For a skills-based CV, these can be listed as a
                                                                           Context
separate section, in which case they usually
come before the Career History. You want to
pick the top 3 to 5 competencies. You can                                 Evidence
present them in whatever format seems best
for you.

A typical format might be:                                               Relevance



Skill / Attribute

Headline (optional)

• Supporting bullet 1

• Supporting bullet 2

• Supporting bullet 3



Skills-based CV example:

Team   Development           And      Strategic        1
                                                         Note: “brand salience” is used in marketing to
Management
                                                       describe “brand awareness”. It is an industry-
• Developed the marketing team on a                    specific word. It is up to you whether you
  declining brand from tactical thinkers to            include this type of word or rewrite them in
  strategic planners, producing increased              “common English”. Bear in mind, however, that
  market shares in all segments, in a                  a marketing director may take words such as
  challenging consumer environment.                    “salience” as evidence that you are
                                                       comfortable with industry terms.


© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006               58
Remember the guidelines about context,
relevance and evidence. This is a great
                                                           Six Sigma Black Belt Training, XYZ
opportunity to show the transferable qualities
                                                           Company, 4 months, winter 2000.
you would bring to your new role.

                                                           Space is limited on your CV, so beware of
Make sure you avoid clichés: if you think                  falling into the trap of listing every course you
laterally (or use a thesaurus), there is always a          have ever attended. Providing evidence of the
way to rewrite a sentence, avoiding overused               new skills you gained from the training creates
phrases. See section The Worst 5 Clichés And               a much stronger CV than one that is light on
How To Avoid Them for hints on steering clear              achievements and high on training.
of the clichés that make recruiters cringe.

                                                           Remember to be strict about what you include.
                                                           No matter how interesting it was for you, a
                                                           recruiter doesn’t want to know about the ½-day
6.   Training
                                                           health and safety induction you did when you
This is your opportunity to tell a recruiter about         started your first job!
any significant training you have completed.
The key is to present only training that is
relevant to the position.                                  Be ruthless and apply common sense to
                                                           this section.

For soft skills training (e.g. interpersonal skills
or meeting facilitation), simply stating that you                 Only include what is going to add
have been on the course is unlikely to be                                 value to your CV.
enough to “tick the box”, as most recruiters will
have had experience of colleagues getting
through training courses without actually                  If there are courses which are “expected” in
changing their behaviour afterwards. If you list           your industry, they should included. Bear in
such courses, it is worth backing them up with             mind that talking about training takes up space
evidence in your Skills / Attributes section or            on your CV, so make sure it adds to your
subtly illustrating your use of them in your               appeal.
achievements.



The best courses to list are those that led to
qualifications, particularly if these are
recognised outside your current organisation.



When listing training, you can give the topic,
the key skills, the training provider and the
course date and duration (if 3 days or more).



For example:



© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006                   59
7.   Professional        Memberships           And          8.   Education and Qualifications
     Qualifications
                                                            The longer you have worked, the less detail
Many professions have professional governing                you need to include in this section.
bodies.

If you are a member of any of these, it is
                                                            The guidelines are:
essential to list them in your CV, along with
your membership level, as it gives the recruiter            • Put your major qualification first.
an indication of how seriously you take your                • Highlight the subject and education level in
career.                                                       bold.

                                                            • Include the awarding school or college, the
If you have any non-academic qualifications                   date of the qualification and the grade.
that are pertinent to the role, this is the place to        • Include the title of any thesis or research
list them.                                                    only if it is relevant to the position for
                                                              which you are applying.

For some careers, these qualifications are
essential or at least highly advantageous, e.g.             It’s important to be consistent. For example, if
Chartered Accounting qualifications, CIM                    you include your ‘A’ level grades, but miss out
exams for marketing professionals, CIPD                     your degree grade, it will probably make a
qualifications for HR professionals, Chartered              recruiter suspicious.
Engineer status for engineers.

                                                            You would normally write the subjects you
Make sure you have done your research, so                   studied back as far as ‘A’ level, but unless your
you    understand   which     professional                  work experience is less than 3 years, you
memberships might be expected in your                       would not normally include your GCSE / ‘O’
chosen profession.                                          level subjects, instead just stating the number
                                                            of passes.



Education

BA (Hons)        Business Studies and French

                 University of Cardiff (with study year in Lyon, France)

                 1992, Class 2.1



‘A’ Levels       German (A), French (B), Maths (B)

                 Anytown Sixth Form College, Anytown, Midfordshire. 1988



GCSEs            9 Passes at grade A-C

                 County High School, Anytown, Midfordshire. 1986




© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006                    60
9.   Additional Skills                                   CV writing. Opinions vary on the inclusion or
                                                         exclusion of the topics below.
Most people have other skills, relevant to their
job application. These could include:

                                                         Date of birth

Driving licence                                          Sometimes people are concerned that their
Useful to mention for roles which state they             age might influence their application (either too
require travel, such as sales positions.                 young or too old). Whilst you can omit your
                                                         age from your CV, a recruiter can usually work
                                                         this out from your work experience and your
Computer literacy                                        school dates. So it’s up to you. If you want to
                                                         include it, then write it as a date of birth, rather
Include the names of the packages and your
                                                         than giving your current age.
skill level. Make sure you spell the software’s
name correctly – it’s common for candidates to
claim to be expert at Excel, but spell it without
the “c”, which can cause a recruiter to doubt            Gender
your ability.
                                                         Again, people can be nervous about how their
                                                         gender will influence their application. If you
                                                         have a name whose gender is not obvious, it
Languages
                                                         can be useful to include your gender, simply to
Include languages that you speak at a                    save embarrassment later in the process.
functional level –                                       However, if you have written your summary
                                                         paragraph in the 3rd person, then there is no
                                                         need to include this extra information.
          3 words of Greek learned on
         holiday doesn’t count and you
           never know where a “little
                                                         Marital status
           exaggeration” might lead!
                                                         There is no need to include either marital or
                                                         parental status on your CV.
You can classify your proficiency as fluent,
excellent, good or basic knowledge.

                                                         Nationality

Use your common sense to decide which                    Again, you are not obliged to include your
Additional Skills to include. If there are               nationality. However, if you require a work
competencies that you identified in Exercise 6           permit or visa to work in the country in
but haven’t yet demonstrated in your CV,                 which the job is based, you should mention
check whether there is anything you can add              this at some point in either your CV or your
to this section.                                         cover letter.



                                                         Relocation
10. Personal
                                                         Willingness to relocate either nationally or
This is one of the most contentious sections in
                                                         internationally can be a useful addition on your


© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006                 61
CV, if it’s relevant to the job. Use your                      Hobbies
judgement to decide whether you should                         Mountain bikes, reading, travelling, yoga,
include this. If it is a selling point, then it may fit        photography.
more comfortably in your cover letter. Only
write it if you mean it.
                                                               This list may arouse curiosity in the mind of the
                                                               reader, but doesn’t really tell them much about
                                                               you and may be considered a waste of two
Current Salary                                                 precious lines of space.

Don’t include your current salary or future
salary aspirations in your CV, unless
                                                               It’s much more effective if you use your
specifically requested in the job advert. In this
                                                               hobbies to demonstrate key competencies
case it may be appropriate to include it in the
                                                               required by the position for which you are
cover letter. Be aware that many employers
                                                               applying.
check with your old HR department what your
current salary is, so don’t exaggerate. But do
include all benefits and bonuses.                              How do I decide which of my hobbies to
                                                               include?

Hobbies

To include or exclude? Debate rages. There
are those who say that work (CV) and home
(hobbies) should be separate and that extra-
curricular activities play no role in the
recruitment process. However, they can start
to show your human side and can be an ice-
breaker in an interview. We recommend
completing Exercise 9, to help you decide
which hobbies to include and how to make the
most of them.



If you’re going to include your pastimes, then
you should make it deliberate and use them to
your advantage, rather than just writing a
potentially dry list of words. The reader may
make assumptions about your personality,
based on your hobbies, so be aware of this
before you write.



How can I make my hobbies work for me on
my CV?

The traditional way to write about hobbies in
your CV is usually:



© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006                       62
                                           Exercise 9: Getting Value Out Of Your
                                           Hobbies

                                           This exercise helps you identify the skills you
                                           have developed in your extra-curricular
                                           activities and use them to your advantage in
                                           the job-hunting process.



                                           Review Exercise 6 “How to read between the
                                           lines of a job advert” and review the key skills /
                                           competencies required for your job application.
                                           Pay particular attention to any which are in
                                           need of a bit more evidence. List them in the
                                           table on the next page.



                                           Then think about what you enjoy doing outside
                                           work. What exactly do you do? Which skills do
                                           you use? Write them in the table on the next
                                           page. For example, your mountain biking might
                                           actually involve organising weekend trips for
                                           friends to try out new routes.



                                           Reading might actually be a way of proving
                                           your language skills, if you regularly read
                                           foreign language books and magazines. This
                                           can be particularly useful if you learned the
                                           languages after leaving school and hold no
                                           formal qualifications in them.



                                           Being treasurer of a local club or society could
                                           be the key to proving your commercial and
                                           financial awareness, if you haven’t had the
                                           opportunity to demonstrate this in any of your
                                           formal work experience.




© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006   63
Job Competency                                       Hobby




The next step is to look across and see which hobbies fill in the skill gaps from the rest of your CV.
Draw lines to link them.



See the next page for an example:




© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006             64
Job Competencies                                       Hobby

                                                       Mountain biking

Staying calm in a crisis                               Running competitions

                                                       Arranging weekends away for friends and the
                                                       France trip for the last 3 years.

                                                       Photography: taking & printing black & white
                                                       photos
Organisational skills
                                                       Patience

                                                       Creativity

                                                       Attention to detail



Financial & commercial awareness                       Reading: English, German and Spanish novels

                                                       Cricket

Fluency in European languages                          Treasurer of local village club

                                                       Playing in the team

                                                       Yoga

                                                       Meditation

                                                       Physical fitness

                                                       Concentration



Review the list and rewrite your hobbies in a similar manner to the Skills and Attributes section.



So, for example, if your evidence of organisational skills needs a boost, look at which of your hobbies
show those missing skills:




          Mountain biking



… could become…

          Mountain biking: organising and competing in off-road events and co-ordinating European
          trips.




© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006               65
The key is to take a fresh perspective on your         unfairly) interpreted as meaning you don’t
hobbies and be subtle in how you link them to          spend enough time thinking about work!
the job’s skills, or the impact will be lost.



A word of warning: beware the urge to
                                                       11. Referees
exaggerate.
                                                       “Details of referees available upon request.”

It will make you nervous in the interview and
could cost you the job! If you include items           You shouldn’t include the contact details for
such as “reading”, “cinema” or “theatre”, then         referees, unless specifically required in the job
be prepared to be asked what you last saw /            advert, in which case it is appropriate to
read and what your opinions are about it.              include them at the end of the cover letter,
                                                       saving space on your CV.

“Err…” would not be a useful answer!
                                                       It is perfectly acceptable to provide details only
                                                       once you have been offered the position.
      This method is particularly useful if
       you are looking to change career
        or maybe on paper are “under-                  However, every company has its own
       qualified” for a role, maybe at the             preferences, so make sure you have asked
         start of your career or after a               your referees’ permission to use them, in case
                 career break.                         they are contacted sooner than you expected.



It’s an opportunity to prove your suitability                     It can be useful to give your
through the transferable skills you have                      referees a copy of your CV and let
developed outside work. So although it takes                    them know which jobs you are
up more space than a traditional list of                        applying for, so they can tailor
hobbies, it can add significant value to your                    what they say to support your
CV.                                                                       application.



Another good reason to include a hobby is if it
is unusual.



It can give your application a “spark”, helping
you stand out from the other candidates and
making the reader more likely to remember
you. However, do bear in mind the possible
negative impact of some hobbies!



Be cautious about including too many extra-
curricular pastimes, as this can be (usually


© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006               66
These 11 sections form the basis of your
Master CV. Once you have completed this, the
task of tailoring your CV and cover letter for
each specific job application becomes simple.
It is worth spending time getting the phrasing
right on your Master CV, so you don’t have to
rewrite anything when you pull together your
custom CV.




Congratulations!



You’ve completed most of the work needed to
pull together a Master CV.

By now, you should have a comprehensive
document, which you can easily tailor for
individual job applications.




To help you create an even more powerful
Master CV, the next few sections cover some
techniques for getting the words right:




    •   Common CV problems and how to
        handle them

    •   The worst 5 CV clichés and how to
        avoid them

    •   The 10 most common CV mistakes




© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006              67
                                                                 7
                                                Common CV Problems And
                                                    How To Handle Them

                                           Make sure you avoid the CV-trashing mistakes
                                                       that could cost you the interview.




© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006   68
Common CV Problems
And how to handle them                   7
No one has a perfect CV history.



Most of us have either had something about
our working career that we want to brush over
or a skill we couldn’t demonstrate as well as
the recruiter might wish. This section covers
the most common CV problems and discusses
what you can do about them.



The key tips for this section are honesty,
combined with common sense. There’s no
point in lying on your CV.

Even if you don’t get found out, it’ll make you
nervous in the interview and you’re likely to
ruin your chances of getting the job.

The way to get round CV problems is to avoid
putting up signposts to help the reader find
them. There’s a lot you can miss out, if you
need to. Or you can include “problems”, as
long as you have a plausible explanation.



The main areas covered in this section are:

• Too little experience for the role

• Too much experience for the role

• No degree or low grades

• Gaps in working history

• Currently out of work

• Redundancy

• Fired from a previous job

• Career history not obviously relevant (e.g.
  change of career)




© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006               69
                                                       Emphasise other characteristics that are
                                                       desirable for the role and don’t shout about
How To Handle Problems                                 your perceived lack of experience. If you get
Essential Not-To-Be-Missed Advice                      an interview, you are in a strong position to
                                                       justify why they should consider you.



                                                       Think about other areas of your life where you
                                                       can exhibit the skills required, such as socially,
Too little experience for the role                     at school or college or at home. You’ll be
                                                       surprised how easy it is to demonstrate
                                                       worthwhile skills, if you use a little lateral
                                                       thinking.
Maybe you think you’re too young or too
inexperienced to apply for a job that you want.
                                                       In situations such as this, it may be advisable
                                                       to use a “skills-based” CV, which focuses on
Rather than worrying about this, submitting            your attributes and skills as opposed to your
your CV anyway and having it rejected, take a          work history. A “chronological” CV (time-based
moment to step back and objectively review             description of your working history) would
the situation.                                         emphasise the gaps you are trying to cover up
                                                       and is not advised. (See examples).

• Am I really too young?
                                                       This strategy works.
• What is it that makes me think that?

• Is the experience required in the job advert
  reasonable? (Sometimes the required                  We worked with someone who had 10 years’
  years of experience can be flexible).                experience in Finance, who wanted to move
                                                       into Strategic Planning. He had no formal
• What makes me want this job, even though
                                                       experience, so knew he would have to give a
  I suspect I might not be considered?
                                                       compelling reason to be considered. By
• Can I demonstrate having previously risen            following the steps outlined above, he
  to a challenge that people thought was               successfully applied for a managerial role.
  beyond my experience level, yet
  succeeding?



If, after answering these questions, you really
want to apply for the role, then contact the
recruiter and ask them whether they would
consider you.



If you do decide to apply, there are plenty of
tips” on “hobbies”, which will help you show
how transferable your skills are, despite the
potential lack of formal experience.

© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006               70
Too much experience for the position                      No degree or low grades




There can be many reasons for feeling you are             Some        professions   require   university
over-qualified for a position. Sometimes it’s             qualifications. Obvious examples are medicine
personal choice, e.g. wanting to improve work-            and dentistry.
life balance, other times it’s not. Either way,
this shouldn’t be a barrier to getting the job you
want.                                                     However, sometimes a degree is requested
                                                          because it is “usual” in that company. The
                                                          requirement may or may not be flexible. The
       The key in this situation is to pre-               recruiting manager may be open to employing
        empt the recruiter’s questions,                   someone with great experience and skills but
          concerns or objections and                      no degree or a degree grade below the
       address them either in your CV or                  threshold requested.
                   cover letter.

                                                          Follow a similar approach to the “too little
It is critical that you explain why you believe           experience” section.
you are suitable for the role and why your
additional level of experience makes you the
ideal candidate. You should also explain why                      Look for what you can offer the
you want the job.                                                company instead of a degree and
                                                                  contact the recruiter to discuss
                                                                         your application.
Maybe you’re looking to spend more time with
your family and therefore want to step down
from an executive position? Maybe you’re
looking to change industries and want to
cement your skills? You know why you are
choosing to apply for the job, so make sure it is
obvious to the recruiter.

They might be worried that you will accept the
position as an interim solution and keep job
hunting, leaving them in the lurch a few
months down the line.



Or maybe they’re concerned about how you
would work with a line manager and peer
group which is potentially younger and less
qualified than you. Be prepared to have strong
answers to these questions in an interview.



© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006                  71
                                                         Redundancies at all levels mean that more
                                                         people have experienced unemployment in
Gaps in working history
                                                         this challenging job market.



                                                         The key is to show what you did with your
For whatever reason, gaps in career history              time. Think about the new skills you learned.
can feel awkward on a CV.                                There will be some: just think laterally. What
      The worst thing you can do is try to               added value or personal characteristics can
      hide them. Recruiters aren’t stupid                you offer an employer as a result of being out
          and they can add up. It’s a                    of work?
       guaranteed way to miss out on a
                  job interview.
                                                         Work through Exercise 7 “How To Select Your
                                                         Evidence”.

If you get the job and they subsequently find
out, then falsifying information on a CV may be
                                                         Although it is suggested as a tool to identify
used as grounds for failing a probationary
                                                         what you achieved in your different jobs, the
period and hence dismissal.
                                                         exercise can be successfully used for drawing
                                                         out what you have gained from being out of
                                                         work, to show your situation in a more positive
So what can you do?
                                                         light. It may also do wonders for your self-
                                                         esteem.
One option, which works for a long career with
only a few months of non-working time, is to
miss out the months on your career history,
showing only the years. This instantly conceals
short gaps. However, be prepared to be
challenged on this in an interview.



If the gaps are legitimate, you could simply
explain them. Think about what you were
doing during that time. Were you developing
any new skills that might be of benefit to future
employers?



Work gaps or career breaks are more
acceptable in today’s commercial climate than
in the past.

It is becoming common to take a sabbatical to
travel or study.

Women routinely return to work after maternity
breaks.


© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006                 72
                                                       The suggestions above for “gaps in working
                                                       history” apply equally well to currently being
Currently out of work
                                                       out of work and can show an employer how
                                                       you are making constructive use of your time.


This is something that you need to be honest           There are plenty of things you can
about.                                                 demonstrate you were doing. Maybe you were
                                                       self-employed, if you have been doing
                                                       temporary contracts. Just think about the
You don’t want your CV to shout it from the
                                                       adaptability you had to show to make the
rooftops, but if you do the “standard fix” of
                                                       contracts work!
writing “start date to present”, you will get
caught out at some point..
                                                              The key is to think laterally about
                                                              the extra benefits you could bring
Depending on how long you have been out of
                                                                to the company, as a result of
work, this technique can make your CV seem
                                                                  having been out of work.
dated and may count against you. This
becomes more obvious if your CV includes lots
of dates for your achievements and they
suddenly dry up.



We once reviewed a CV from a lady who
claimed to have been working as a buyer for a
major supermarket at the time of writing her
CV. Her credentials were excellent and she
was invited for interview. At the time, the
supermarket was under threat of a
controversial take-over by one of its
competitors. During her interview, when she
was asked how it was affecting morale, she
gave convincing answers.



However, when she was asked to comment on
how she thought it had impacted her
department’s buying strategy, she admitted
that she hadn’t worked there for six months,
since before the take-over news. Employers
like to recruit people with integrity, who they
can trust. She didn’t get the job, mainly
because she had covered up the truth.




© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006               73
Made redundant                                           Fired from a previous job




Whatever you may feel, there is no shame in              Having been fired doesn’t need to be
this.                                                    mentioned in your CV or cover letter. However,
                                                         it may come up in interview. If it does, it’s
                                                         important that you have a good explanation.
Some people feel there is a stigma attached to
redundancy. The only way this will be a
problem in job hunting is if it is a problem for                  Most people are fired due to
you.                                                            personality conflict. If this was the
                                                                case for you, then be prepared to
                                                                 show a recruiter how you have
        There is no need to mention it in                       objectively analysed and learned
            your CV or cover letter.                                    from the situation.



Be prepared to talk about it, if asked, during an        If you were fired for a reason such as gross
interview, but make sure you have a positive             misconduct, then you need to think carefully
attitude   and      explain    the     situation         about the events that led to the situation and
objectively.                                             be able to convince a recruiter that it won’t
                                                         happen again.

This can actually show high levels of
commercial awareness and maturity, which are             There is no point in trying to cover up being
skills valued by employers.                              fired, because your future employer will check
                                                         out references and probably find out.



                                                         Even if they don’t, industry is a small place and
                                                         interesting news travels fast. You never know
                                                         just who your future employer knows.




© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006                 74
                                                          These are the main CV problems. The
                                                          common theme is that by staying positive and
Career history not obviously relevant (e.g.
                                                          thinking laterally about the skills you have
change of career direction)
                                                          developed as a result of the “problem”, none of
                                                          these need to be an issue on your CV. A bit of
                                                          lateral thinking usually provides an answer.

Do you want to convince the recruiter that they
should give you a chance to apply your skills to
a new career? This is easier now than it used
to be, but still requires some subtle influencing.



The main advice would be:



• Thoroughly research the potential
  occupation, so you have a good
  understanding of the skills, qualifications
  and characteristics required.

• Assess which transferable skills you have
  developed in your career to date and
  emphasise these with a skills-based rather
  than chronological CV.

• If you can, get yourself some official
  training in the profession – even if it means
  home study. It shows your commitment.

• Make it easy for the recruiter to see why
  they should consider you.

• Provide evidence of being adaptable and a
  quick learner.

• Show your compelling motivation in your
  cover letter, where you should explain why
  you want to change career and illustrate
  your commitment to your new direction.

• Use the word “because…”, rather than “but”
  or “despite”. Convince them why they
  should give you a chance because of your
  unusual background, rather than despite it.

• Believe in yourself and your ability to take
  on your new career.




© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006                  75
                                                                 8
                                               The Worst CV Mistakes And
                                                     How To Avoid Them

                                           Make sure you avoid the CV-trashing mistakes
                                                       that could cost you the interview.




© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006   76
                                                          Use with care!

The Worst 5 CV Clichés
And How To Avoid Them                     8            2. Team player
                                                          What does this actually mean? Do you
                                                          expect a recruiter to suddenly believe this,
                                                          just because you have used the words?

                                                          They will be looking for examples that show
What do we mean by clichés?                               you are a team player. Make the most of
                                                          your achievements as an opportunity to
                                                          illustrate this.
Clichés in CVs are phrases that any candidate             Or maybe you play a team sport outside
could use to mean almost anything.                        work? It’s also useful to balance it with
                                                          proof that you can work independently, if
                                                          the role requires this. Think, before you
They are often copied from the job advert and
                                                          throw in this phrase.
are rarely substantiated with evidence. They’re
overused and they don’t do you justice.                3. Good communicator
                                                          This one’s a bit like marking your own exam
                                                          papers! The recruiter doesn’t care how
This section covers some of the most
                                                          good a communicator you think you are.
commonly overused clichés and gives tips
                                                          They want to be convinced. The problem is
about how you can show you have that
                                                          that many people think they have good
characteristic, but without getting your CV
                                                          communication skills, but the people they
marked down.
                                                          are communicating with might disagree.

                                                          The best way to show your communication
                                                          skills is with a beautifully-written CV and a
                                                          great interview performance.
     The top fix for removing CV clichés is:

              Don’t say it, show it!                   4. Self-starter
                                                          Again, this one is a bit too much of a self-
                                                          evaluation. How do you know you’re a self-
                                                          starter?
1. Responsible for                                        Yet it’s easy to prove it, through subtle hints
   This is overused and can often be                      given in the main body of your CV. Allow
   meaningless. “Responsible for…” what?                  the recruiter to draw this conclusion from
   Did you really do it all on your own? It can           reading your CV and meeting you, rather
   make you look like you’re taking the credit            than writing it on a poster for them.
   for your team’s work. If you led the team,
   then that’s a more powerful statement to            5. Highly motivated
   make.                                                  If this description has been used on your
                                                          performance review, by all means quote it.
   Only use “responsible for…” if you back it
                                                          Otherwise, avoid this cliché.
   up with proof. It can be a useful phrase
   when setting the context for your                      Your motivation and enthusiasm should
   achievements and showing your role in the              shine through, from your CV and cover
   project.                                               letter. You shouldn’t need to say it..


© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006               77
Can you think of any more clichés that you           note of them here and think about your plan to
have seen or used in job applications? Make a        avoid them.



Clichés I want to avoid:




© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006             78
                                                        here will make you look lazy, careless or
                                                        poorly educated.
Top 10 CV Mistakes
That most applicants make…
                                                        Typing errors may not be picked up by your
                                                        computer’s spell-checker. Common examples
                                                        are “form” instead of “from” and “off” instead of
                                                        “of”. The only remedy is to proof-read your CV
How many of them does your CV have?
                                                        before sending it.

                                                        A good way to proof-read a document you are
      The majority of CVs have at least one             familiar with is to read it backwards, sentence
     mistake in them. This can be the fastest           by sentence, so you aren’t tempted to skim
          way to get your CV rejected.                  over it. It works!



This section includes some of the most                  If these are areas you find difficult, you should
common mistakes that recruiters spot in CVs.            make full use of grammar and spell-checkers
                                                        and then ask someone you trust to proof-read
                                                        your CV.
Simple mistakes irritate recruiters.

                                                        These mistakes can send your CV on the fast-
They expect candidates to be professional               track to the shredder.
when applying for a job. That means careful
proof-reading and attention to detail.


                                                        2.   “Phonological ambiguities” or words
If you make any of the 10 mistakes listed here,
                                                             that sound the same, but have different
you may be judged accordingly.
                                                             meanings


Some recruiters will give you the benefit of the
                                                        Spell-checkers won’t spot words that sound
doubt if you have made one or two small
                                                        the same, but mean different things. Make
mistakes. Others have strict rules about
                                                        sure you proof-read carefully. Common
rejecting CVs that include even one mistake;
                                                        problem words are:
particularly if the particular role requires
attention to detail.                                    • where / were / wear

                                                        • their / they’re / there

                                                        • hear / here

1.   Spelling mistakes, sloppy grammar                  • its / it’s
     and inconsistent punctuation.                      • see / sea
When applying for a professional position,              • piece / peace
basic spelling, grammar and punctuation are
expected to be good, particularly if you have           • some / sum
used a computer to type up your CV. Mistakes



© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006                79
3.   Inconsistent Formatting                            6.   Hard to work our why you’re best for
                                                             the job
Choose a format for your CV and stick to it.
                                                        You may have only 30 seconds to make your
Make sure your margin sizes are the same
                                                        impression and a recruiter is unlikely to go
throughout the document and that your layout
                                                        through your CV in great detail on the first
makes it easy to read.
                                                        reading. They’re more likely to be scanning it,
If your CV appears to be disorganised, it will          looking for key skills and “hot buttons”.
be harder to follow and understand.
Remember, you may only have 30 seconds to
impress.                                                Make it easy for them to put you in the “A list”
                                                        pile. Remember: when buying a product or
                                                        service, “a confused mind always says no”.
Check your use of capital letters, for example,
in titles. Decide how you will use capitals and
be consistent – use them correctly. Also be             Make sure your CV makes it clear why you’re
consistent on whether you put full stops at the         a good candidate to interview.
end of bullet points. Inconsistency shows a
lack of attention to detail and a hurried,
carelessly written CV.
                                                        7.   Generalised, not customised for the
                                                             role

                                                        The best way to get your CV dismissed as
4.   Format gone AWOL
                                                        having insufficient experience is to send a
Some formatting can print out differently on            “standard” CV for every job. Sometimes it will
different computers.                                    work. But usually it won’t.

Consider saving your CV in an earlier version           You know that your skills haven’t been clearly
of Word, rich text format or even Adobe                 communicated when you don’t get an
Acrobat (free trials on their website), to              interview, even though you thought you were
preserve your formatting. Using indents or              perfect for the job.
tables, rather than spaces, to create layouts,
                                                        It’s always worth spending half an hour
can help preserve a professional format..
                                                        checking your CV contains evidence of the
                                                        requirements listed in the job ad, even if you
                                                        don’t spend time researching the employer.

5.   Vague with details
                                                        The other option you have is to at least make
Recruiters read hundreds of CVs and become
                                                        sure your cover letter is customised, explaining
experts at spotting what you’re trying to make
                                                        why you are suitable for that particular role.
disappear.
                                                        If you don’t do either of these, then the
Obvious cover up strategies include inaccurate
                                                        recruiter may perceive you as someone who
or missing dates and inconsistently omitted
                                                        sends out blanket applications on a “random”
exam grades, e.g. giving your ‘A’ level results,
                                                        basis. They might assume that you don’t care
but not your degree classification. It can look
                                                        about their company. And employers like to
like you’re hiding something.
                                                        recruit people who are enthusiastic about their
                                                        organisation.


© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006                80
8.   Under-qualified candidates                            pass down the generations in your family, so
                                                           only include what is relevant to the person to
Recruiters can spot under-qualified candidates
                                                           whom the application is addressed. But avoid
at a great distance.
                                                           just regurgitating phrases from the job advert.
They know that, for every job they advertise,
they will get a pile of people with little relevant
experience, who haven’t even made the effort               Your CV should go beyond the job description
to explain how their transferable skills would             and restating the words in the ad. It should
make them a suitable candidate. This wastes                make it easy for a reader to understand what
recruiters’ time and can make them annoyed.                you would bring to the role and how that meets
                                                           their needs. This is a chance for you to shine
                                                           and show off your excellent written
A Blue Chip UK brand was trying to recruit                 communication skills.
researchers into its Market Research team. Of
the 100 applications they received, 60 of them
had no relevant experience, having marketing,
IT or sales backgrounds. They had never been
                                                           10. Rushing it
to a focus group, let alone managed research
projects.                                                  It really shows when you pull your CV together
                                                           in super-quick time. Think about the
They didn’t even make an attempt to explain
                                                           consequences…
this in their CV or cover letter and the
applications showed a complete lack of
understanding of the profession.                           If you have completed the Master CV, then it’s
Their CVs went straight in the reject pile.                realistic to edit your CV and cover letter in less
                                                           than an hour. Otherwise, it will usually take
It was clearly a case of applying for any job at
                                                           much longer.
the company, because they wanted that brand
in their career history and would probably want
to move within the organisation, as soon as a              Recruitment agencies may need to demand
more suitable post came up.                                your CV “now, or you’ll miss your chance”.
                                                           This may not actually be reality. Job
                                                           applications tend to have set closing dates
If you suspect you might be under-qualified,
                                                           which rarely run to half hour accuracy.
read the section on for effective strategies.
Above all, be realistic.
                                                           If you need a few extra hours, ask for them.

                                                           The deadline may even have been created by
                                                           the agency, rather than the recruiting
9.   Too job-ad focused
                                                           company. We all have deadlines to work to,
Recruiters get thousands of CVs that focus on              but most people will find slack in their timetable
the candidate’s needs, rather than the                     for a strong candidate.
recruiter’s.
                                                           Even if you want an extra evening, which
                                                           means you would miss the deadline, try
                                                           contacting the company directly and explain
Think about who your audience is, when you
                                                           that you have just seen the job advert and
write your CV. It’s not an autobiography to
                                                           would like to email / fax / post your CV the next


© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006                   81
day. You’d be surprised at how often they say
yes, particularly if you do a good job of
arousing their interest on the phone.

Recruiters aren’t stupid: if they think they can
get their ideal candidate by waiting an extra
day, they normally will.




Now you know the 10 mistakes, you can be
prepared. You know what you’re looking for!
So there’s no excuse to include any of them in
your CV or cover letter. This gives you an
advantage over other candidates.



You can concentrate on avoiding these
mistakes and have the opportunity to use this
list as a checklist, prior to sending off your
application.



Top tip: Proof read your CV one last time
before you send it off – even if you’re already
bored of reading it. That way you’ll know you
haven’t let yourself down by making any of
these mistakes!




© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006                82
                                                       9
                                           Getting The Words Right

                                           Using the right language in your CV.




© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006   83
                                         9
                                                       Which one do you want to be in?
Getting The Words Right
Make your CV easy to read
                                                       Having sorted out your content with your
                                                       Master CV, what can you do to increase your
Have you ever had the experience of reading a          chances of getting in the “yes” pile?
book and realising you have read a particular
paragraph 3 times, but still not understood it?
                                                       The first step is to put yourself in the position
                                                       of the reader, even if it means you have to sit
It can be frustrating, because the language            in a different chair and use a posture you
used is perfectly simple, but it just doesn’t          wouldn’t normally use!
seem to go in! Do you want your CV to be like
that?
                                                       Why?

Often the cause of the problem is the use of
long paragraphs and over-long sentences,               Because this will help you keep your focus on
which may be spell-binding for the writer, but         their needs, rather than yours.
require considerable concentration from the
reader.
                                                       This subtle change of emphasis can make
                                                       your CV dramatically more appealing, because
But before we go any further, we want to               you are writing from their perspective. Very few
dispel a common myth about CV reviewers.               candidates do this. Most are writing from their
                                                       own perspective, thinking about what they
                                                       want and need, with little thought for the end
    Will your CV be reviewed by someone                reader and recruiter.
    carefully reading every word, giving it
              their full attention?
                                                       The language tips in this section are designed
                      No.
                                                       to help you automatically tell your story the
        Is it more likely to be reviewed by            way the reader wants to hear it. However, it is
        someone with a desk drowning in                always worth taking a step back in your final
   paperwork and a phone that never stops              review, to notice how the recruiter will perceive
     ringing? Or maybe someone who has                 your application. You’d be surprised what
   taken 100+ CVs home, to review in front             changes when you do this.
                     of the TV?

                     Yes.



The first reading of a CV is usually a 30
second scan, which puts candidates into one
of three piles:

           yes     no       maybe



© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006               84
                                                        So how can I do all that?

Language                                                There are 5 main things you can include:

                                                                  Headlines
                                                                  Concise, appropriate language
                                                                  Short sentences and paragraphs
The language you use in your CV should be
                                                                  Relevant industry terms
intelligent and elegant. It should have impact,
                                                                  Answers from the CV preparation
telling your story in a way that grabs the
                                                                  exercises
reader’s attention.

                                                        What you want to avoid:
It’s not a Booker Prize entry, which makes
                                                                  Verbose and boring paragraphs
things easier, because you can use
                                                                  Formulaic, meaningless clichés
abbreviated sentences to keep it simple and
                                                                  Overuse of “I” and “my”
punchy.
                                                                  Irrelevant details


It should subtly explain why you are the                Remember:
candidate they need, without seeming to be
arrogant or overly confident. It needs to arouse
curiosity in the mind of the reader, rather than               A confused mind always says no.
making them want to yawn.



Your CV is your chance to share your
                                                        So your number one priority has to be
individuality, your unique creativity and your
                                                        communicating in a way that is so easy to
excellent communication skills. Don’t say it,
                                                        understand, it leaves no room for confusion.
show it! You can express your abilities and
demonstrate your true potential.

                                                        The good news about using the right language
                                                        for your CV is that you’ve already done most of
                                                        the preparation, if you’ve worked through the
                                                        exercises in this book.



                                                        All you should need to do at this stage is a little
                                                        brushing up of key phrases and headings. Do
                                                        all of this in your Master CV, so that the
                                                        changes will automatically carry through to
                                                        your tailored CV.




© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006                85
Headlines                                              Concise, appropriate language




Headlines catch the attention of the person            Your CV isn’t the place to be demonstrating
scanning through your CV.                              your ability to write poetic prose or technical
                                                       reports.

Headlines in a CV aren’t like those in a
newspaper. They are actually short sentences           Avoid over-use of adjectives and flowery
that you put in bold font, to make them easy to        descriptions of achievements.
find.

                                                       A CV is a business document that is read by
As a rule of thumb, they shouldn’t be more             the hundred, so the recruiter won’t thank you if
than 21 words long. Your headlines are your            you make them wade through pages of
chance to distil your main messages into               verbose commentary, no matter how
concise statements that you know will be read,         interesting or relevant it is.
even if the person only spends 30 seconds
looking at your CV.
                                                       Your language should be:

                                                       Concise      chopping out words makes it
Practise writing them and ask an appropriate
                                                                    easier to read; also saves space!
friend or colleague for feedback.
                                                       Factual      imagine your CV is a legally
                                                                    binding   document –  avoid
A good headline is interesting enough to make                       ambiguity
the reader want to read the following
                                                       Focused      be ruthless about only including
paragraph.
                                                                    what is strictly relevant


You should have all the headlines you need, if
                                                       A concise, yet informative, CV is the ultimate
you have worked through Exercise 8 in the
                                                       demonstration of your ability to assimilate and
section on Master CV preparation.
                                                       summarise     information,    combined      with
                                                       excellent   written   communication       skills.
                                                       Employers value these skills highly.




© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006               86
Short sentences and paragraphs                           Relevant industry terms




If you think a sentence might be too long, it is.        Subtle use of this terminology can show
Find a way to split it in two.                           knowledge of the field, but overuse could worry
                                                         a recruiter, as they might think you can’t
                                                         communicate using “normal” English. So don’t
For fast, easy reading, sentences should                 overdo jargon and do explain any
average about 17 words.                                  abbreviations you use.


Paragraphs should be short, consisting of no             The first person to scan through your CV might
more than 3-4 sentences.                                 be someone in, say, the Human Resources
                                                         team, who might not be familiar with the
                                                         acronyms that are common in specialist roles.
Where possible, break up information with
bullet points, to add impact to your comments.

Bullet points can break the traditional rules of         However,     some     companies  even      do
English grammar by starting the phrase with a            computerised searches for key words, to filter
verb (action word), rather than “I” or “my”. This        through large numbers of applicants, so you
makes them easier to read, understand and                have to include them.
remember. (See Exercise 8).



At all times, bear in mind the short attention
span of the person reading your CV for the first
time, as they are wading through the pile of
applications. Do everything you can to make it
easy for them.




© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006                 87
                                                        10
                                                         Finishing Touches

                                           How to make your CV look professional and
                                                                       easy to read.




© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006   88
Finishing Touches                          10
Nearly there!




Congratulations on completing the Master CV
section. You’re now in a position to quickly pull
together an interview-winning CV for any job
you want to apply for.



This section shows you how.



It covers:

     •   Top tips for an easy-to-read CV

     •   What to include

     •   Which bits to chop out

     •   Pulling it together

     •   Getting a second opinion




© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006                 89
                                                           help you make sure you never put the recruiter
                                                           in that position.
Keys To An Easy-To-Read CV
Make it easy to understand
                                                              1. Layout
                                                              2. Fonts
                                                              3. Shading and borders
Many a great CV is disadvantaged by being                     4. Sample formats
hard to read. It doesn’t matter how amazing                   5. Paper
your achievements were or how great your
personal qualities are; if the recruiter can’t read
them easily, they might never find them and
you won’t get the job.



In the last section, we covered the language
tips that give a CV impact, making it
compelling reading. In this section, we’re
concentrating on the way your CV looks on the
page. This has almost as much influence over
readability as the words you use.



Have you ever experienced reading a book
that was printed on that rough, slightly grey,
cheap feeling “toilet paper”, where the Times
New Roman type font seems to smudge into
the page? Did you find that book easy to read?



Or maybe you’ve come across a report that
was written in such a small font and cramped
style that there were no spaces between the
very long paragraphs and the sentences were
really long with improperly long words and by
the end you felt like you needed to come up for
air because it was all so hard to understand?



How would you feel if you only had 30 seconds
to make a major decision, based on something
formatted like either of those examples? Would
you like to avoid your future employer being
put in that position?



The five top tips for an easy-to-read CV will


© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006                   90
Layout                                                     Bullets




Your CV should be no more than 2 pages (plus               Bullets should have the same indentation
1 page cover letter), unless it makes                      throughout.
compelling reading and you really have more
                                                           Choose a format that looks elegant,
to say. If a third page will make it clear that you
                                                           professional and clean, which flows well, being
have had a long career and have the skills and
                                                           easy on the eye. Keep your paragraphs short
experience for a job, then use it. Otherwise
                                                           and use bullets to break up blocks of
don’t!
                                                           information.


It’s tempting to over-run, but being able to pull
out the core information and summarise it
succinctly is a skill valued by employers. A
cramped CV is hard to read and may be                      Indents
rejected.



Decide on your CV layout and stick to it.
                                                           If you are using indents regularly in your CV,
                                                           consider using the “indent” button on “Word”,
Make sure it’s appropriate to the role /                   rather than spaces, as these can produce
profession. For example, some occupations or               strange results when printed from someone
companies might prefer a more conservative                 else’s computer.
layout whereas others, for example where                   You might even consider using a table, if you
you’re expected to show your creativity, might             are having problems with formatting.
require something more unusual.




Margins



Your margins should be the same width
throughout. They would typically be 2.5cm (1
inch), but this isn’t compulsory.

You’re unlikely to want them to be larger, as
this costs you space. But make them much
smaller and the page might feel cramped.




© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006                   91
Email Considerations                                       Fonts




If you send your CV by email, you can either               Your CV is not the place to get creative with
do it as a file attachment (most likely to                 fonts. Simple and readable are the keys here.
preserve formatting, but may get lost) or send
it in the main body of the email.
                                                           Choose at least 10 point font. 11 point can be
                                                           easier to read in some fonts. If your CV is likely
If choosing the attachment option, consider                to be faxed, go up 1 point size.
saving your CV in an earlier version of “Word”
(check the “Word” help file), as this is then
more likely to be supported by the recruiter’s             There is no “approved” font for a CV. However,
PC.                                                        “simple” sans serif fonts, such as Arial, are
                                                           easy to read and some say it can photocopy or
                                                           fax more effectively than Times New Roman.
     Make sure your filename includes your                 It’s down to personal choice. Some more
                     full name                             “modern” fonts, such as Tahoma, aren’t
                                                           available on everyone’s PC and can format
                                                           differently on different computers, meaning
 – it’s easy to forget to do this, but helps the           your hours of careful formatting suddenly look
recruiter. It’s also useful to include the                 awful on someone else’s screen.
company name, so you can keep track on your
system of which CV you sent to whom!
                                                           You might want to avoid using italics, as some
                                                           people find these difficult to read. It can better
If sending your CV in the main body of your                to use bold or underlined type face to
email, this can be easier for the recruiter, as            highlight key phrases.
they don’t have to open a file. However, it is
likely to destroy your formatting, which makes
it harder for the recruiter to read.                       If you use bold or underlining to highlight key
                                                           points, this can make your CV easier to read.

                                                           However,      use     them     sparingly     and
Your lines should be no more than 60
                                                           deliberately.
characters long, or they will truncate, with full-
line-partial-line being separated by “>” signs. It
can look terrible and be difficult to read. If this        Make sure you have a “scheme” for how you
is the route you need to take, then design your            use them and stick to it. For example, don’t
format for this, rather than trying to adapt a             use bold for one headline and underlining for
carefully honed document retrospectively.                  the next. It looks messy and shows poor
                                                           attention to detail.




© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006                   92
                                                          format CV, but thousands of others are also
                                                          using it.
Shading and borders


                                                          The key is to pick something that works for you
                                                          and the information you want to include.
Opinion is divided on this, with some people
feeling that “clever formatting” is trying to hide
poor content, whilst others believe it shows              Here are some useful, up-to-date online
computer literacy and creativity.                         resources.



There is no reason why you shouldn’t use                                      Steve     Holmes       offers
shading and borders on your CV, if you have                                   sample CVs, complete
time to play with the formats and you feel more                               with a really useful critique
comfortable with its appearance. It is one way                                and explanations of how
you can make your CV stand out visually.                                      to do things better.



Bear in mind that your CV will be photocopied
for interviewers, so make sure that any
shading doesn’t make the text illegible, once it
has passed through several iterations of                                                        Car
copying or even fax machines. This also                                                         eer
applies to coloured fonts: be aware that they             Assist offers both resume and cover letter
may not copy well.                                        templates.




                                                                           Neil    Williamson         has
                                                                           developed     these      useful
Sample formats
                                                                           resume layout tools.




There are many sample CV formats available
from books, the internet, recruitment agencies,
your local employment office or careers
advisory centres. You can even turn to the
“Resume Wizard” in “Word”.
                                                                            Ronan      Kennedy    offers
                                                                            plenty of sample resumes to
Use these for inspiration, to create your own                               provide inspiration.
style. Some of these may be over 10 years
old and you don’t want your CV to look
dated. Also, blatantly copying them may mean
you may have what you think is an “unusual”



© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006                  93
                                                         Armed with these simple CV tips, combined
                                                         with the preparation you have put into your
Paper
                                                         Master CV, you’re now ready to complete the
                                                         final phase: writing your CV.


Always print your CV on good quality paper               The work you have already put in means this
with a good printer.                                     becomes a simple, potentially fun task, pulling
                                                         out key points from your Master CV and
                                                         tweaking them to flow well in your final version.
There are those who say that it’s the content
that counts, but first impressions are important
and show that you are taking the application
seriously.



Coloured or highly textured paper can be
difficult to photocopy, so it’s worth restraining
yourself and use 90-100g/m2 non-textured
white or pale cream.




© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006                 94
                                                        By allocating them space first, it makes sure
                                                        you don’t spend ages composing your main
What To Include                                         body, only to find it’s too long.
The final edit

                                                        Which sections might fall under the “essential”
                                                        information category? Review the list of
                                                        generic items below and tick those which are
As a reminder from “Collect My Master CV
                                                        “essential”, needing to be included in your CV.
Ingredients”, here are the typical sections you
might use in your CV:

1. Page Header (your name)                                      Page header (your name)
2. Contact Details                                              Your contact details
3. Personal Summary                                            Professional         memberships    and
4. “Career History / “Professional Background”                 qualifications
   / “Professional History” / “Professional”
5. Skills and attributes
                                                        Education and Qualifications
6. Training
7. Professional Memberships and                                 University
   Qualifications                                               College
8. Education and Qualifications                                 School
9. Additional Skills
10.Personal
                                                                Additional skills
11.References


The first thing you should do when writing your         Personal Details
final CV is decide on your layout. This may                     Date of Birth
change, as you complete your CV, but it gives
                                                                Gender
you a framework to start with, which will impact
your decisions on what to include or exclude.                   Marital status

                                                                Nationality

The next step is to decide what information                     Relocation
you must include, but which isn’t specific to                   Current salary
the job application you are working on. For
example, contact details and personal                           Hobbies
information fit in this category. Type this                     Other
information in your CV first.

Why? So you know how much space you have
                                                        References
left.
                                                                “Available on request”
The 2-page rule isn’t a law, but it’s strongly
recommended, unless you have a long career.                     Referee contact details

You can only squash the “essentials” so much.                   Put these in the cover letter


© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006                95
Copy and paste these items from your Master             unchanged on all future applications, so you
CV into your tailored CV. Take a moment to              only need to do it once.
make sure they are not taking up too much
space and that you are comfortable with your
chosen layout. It is worth spending time getting        At this stage your CV might look something
this section right, because it can remain               like the one below:



                                                                                      John Smith
Home Address 22 My Street, Anytown, Midfordshire, GL51 4XX
Direct Lines    01285 XXX XXX / 07735 XXX XXX
Email           JohnSmith@XYZ.com




                        MAIN BODY OF CV
               (Work experience, achievements, etc.)



Professional Membership
CIM             Member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing


Education
BA (Hons)       Business Studies and French
                University of Cardiff (with study year in Lyon, France)
                1992, Class 2.1


‘A’ Levels      German (A), French (B), Maths (B)
                Anytown Sixth Form College, Anytown, Midfordshire. 1988


GCSEs           9 Passes at grade A
                County High School, Anytown, Midfordshire. 1986


Additional Skills
Languages       French (fluent), German (excellent), Spanish (basic knowledge)
Computer        Good working knowledge of MS Office packages and industry databases




© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006                96
Personal Information
D.O.B.          08.08.72                           Nationality      British
Gender          Male                               Marital status   Single
Relocation      Willing to relocate worldwide


Hobbies
Mountain biking: organising and competing in off-road events and co-ordinating club European tours.
Cricket: Team member for league matches. Treasurer of village club; responsible for financial planning
and maintaining management accounts.
Reading: French, German and Spanish novels and magazines.
Travelling: recent trips include Argentina, China and New Zealand.


Referees
Details available upon request.




How much space do you have left?                         He could also compress his “personal
                                                         information” into 1 line, by using 3 columns
                                                         and assuming that the reader will know his
Are you comfortable about your “essentials”              gender from his opening summary paragraph.
taking up as much space as they do?                      His willingness to relocate (assuming this is
                                                         relevant to the position) would have more
                                                         impact if mentioned in the cover letter, than in
Is there anything you want to change, before
                                                         his CV.
you move on? If you look at the format in John
Smith’s CV, there are things he could
compress, if he needs to. For example, he                Further space could be saved by cutting some
could make his education take up less space              of the detail from his hobbies. For example,
by combining lines.                                      does he need to include his mountain biking, if
                                                         he can also illustrate his organisational skills in
                                                         his cricket hobby?
Instead of using 10 lines for education, the
reformatted version could use 5 lines, with 2 of
them having ½ line spaces after them, to help            These are the types of questions you can ask
break up the text, making an equivalent of 6             yourself, to make sure your CV is elegant, but
lines.                                                   concise, making it easier to scan read.
This means John has 4 extra lines spare,
which might allow him to include 2 extra
achievements in the main body of his CV.




© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006                97
John’s “space       saving”    essentials    could
become:

                                                                                             John Smith
Email           JohnSmith@XYZ.com Phone 01285 XXX XXX / 07735 XXX XXX

Home Address 22 My Street, Anytown, Midfordshire, GL51 4XX;




                                  MAIN BODY OF CV




                              EXTRA SPACE SAVED BY REFORMATTING

                              NOW AVAILABLE FOR OTHER INFORMATION




Professional Membership           CIM       Member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing


Education
BA (Hons)       Business Studies and French, 1992, Class 2.1
                University of Cardiff (with study year in Lyon, France)
‘A’ Levels      German (A), French (B), Maths (B); Anytown College, Midfordshire. 1988
GCSEs           9 Passes at grade A; County High School, Anytown, Midfordshire. 1986


Additional Skills
Languages       French (fluent), German (excellent), Spanish (basic knowledge)
Computer        Good working knowledge of MS Office packages and industry databases




© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006                  98
Personal Information British


Hobbies
Cricket: Team member for league matches. Treasurer of village club; responsible for financial planning
and maintaining management accounts.
Reading: French, German and Spanish novels and magazines.
Travelling: recent trips include Argentina, China and New Zealand.


Referees        Details                   available                   upon                    request.



By keeping the tab formatting consistent, John         It can be useful to complete the sections on
has saved 10 lines of space, but kept a                your career, skills and training, before editing
readable CV.                                           your personal summary (3). This is because
                                                       you will often find inspiration in sections 4, 5
                                                       and 6 that would change what you write in 3. If
Once you are happy with the format of your             you put the finishing touches to your summary
“essentials”, you can decide which other               first, you are likely to want to change it
headings you want to include.                          anyway.


Which extra items from the list below do you           To decide what to include in sections 4, 5 and
want to include?                                       6, it’s time to review some of the CV
                                                       preparation exercises.

    1. Page Header

    2. Contact Details                                 The best exercises to revisit are:

    3. Personal Summary

    4. Career History / Professional                   Research phone call
       Background / Professional History /             Company research
       Professional
                                                       How to read a job ad
    5. Skills and attributes
                                                       How to select your evidence
    6. Training

    7. Professional Memberships and
                                                       As you go through these, make a note of any
       Qualifications
                                                       important points you want to make sure you
    8. Education and Qualifications                    include in your CV, to save you worrying about
    9. Additional Skills                               remembering them. These might be key
                                                       achievements, main competencies, industry
    10. Personal
                                                       terms or good phrases.
    11. References

    12. Other




© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006              99
Exercise 10: Deciding What To Include



Important items I want to remember to include:




Having reviewed the job you are applying for against these exercises, print out your Master CV and go
through it with a coloured pen or highlighter, marking the elements you want to include.



Copy and paste these across to your tailored CV file.




© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006              100
Exercise 11: Identify Potential Gaps

Scan through your CV against the criteria you analysed in the exercises. Is everything covered? Are
there any potential “gaps”?




What could you do to fill those gaps?




Add any extra evidence you need to, to ensure          changes that only apply to this particular CV,
you are demonstrating the benefits of                  or whether it would be wise to make them on
employing you as clearly as possible.                  your Master CV, too, to save doing them again
                                                       next time.

If you make any changes to the text of your CV
at this stage, consider whether they are


© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006              101
                                                        If you spot any duplicated examples of
                                                        experience or skills, think carefully about
Which Bits To Chop Out                                  whether you need both of them. Do they add to
Or how to be ruthless!                                  each other, reinforcing your message? Or do
                                                        they make your CV seem repetitive?



                                                        If they are repetitive, take one of the examples
At this stage, your CV may be too long.
                                                        out - or see if there is some way of combining
                                                        them.
The next step is deciding what you could miss
out.
                                                           Remember that you can always fall back
                                                             on your additional examples in your
   This is possibly one of the hardest things                              interview.
   to do, because all the achievements and
       characteristics you have included
                                                        It makes a much stronger impression in an
    required so much hard work, that it can
                                                        interview situation if you can come up with
    be frustrating, not to be able to include
                                                        examples that aren’t on your CV. It makes the
                     them.
                                                        interviewer realise that your CV is the “tip of
                                                        the iceberg” of your abilities and the
But they don’t have to end up on the cutting            interviewer will start to automatically expand
room floor. You can use these extra gems to             your answers.
make your cover letter compelling.

Rather than deleting them, simply paste them            Review what you have included under training,
into a separate file, so they’re there when you         hobbies and additional skills. Can you justify
come to write your letter. Or you can refer to          everything you have written as being relevant
them in your interview.                                 to your application?



How do I decide what to miss out?

There are three reasons to cut things from
your CV:

    1. Not relevant to the application

    2. Duplicated elsewhere

    3. Need to save space / it’s getting long-
       winded



The first thing to do is to scan your CV for
duplication. The reason for “scanning” rather
than “depth reading” is because it’s easier to
spot duplication at an overview level, than
when working with detail.


© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006               102
                                                           cluttered and difficult to read.

How to be ruthless                                         If your career has been more than 10-15
                                                           years, then you may feel you need a third
                                                           page. If this is the case, then consider it a last
                                                           resort.
One way of helping yourself to do this                     It is, however, better to use 3 pages than to
objectively is to imagine that every word in               compress your CV into 2 pages that are hard
your CV costs you money, say £1, and you                   to read.
only have £1000 to spend. It’s up to you how
you spend it.

Your aim is to maximise the power and impact
of your CV. So is there anywhere that you
could save £50, to better spend it somewhere
else?



Can you really justify every single entry?



Are your Duke of Edinburgh Silver Award from
20 years ago and your school violin exams
really relevant to the job? Be strict with
yourself over this.



If you’re still struggling, then go through each
of your examples and rate then from 1 to 5,
with 1 being a poor example and 5 being
outstanding.



Don’t include any example that scores less
than 3/5. Remember that the purpose of your
CV is to highlight your strengths, not lay open
your weaknesses.



If you still need to cut space, then go back to
the “essentials” section. Is there anything here
that could be abridged or deleted?



If you have tried all this and your CV still won’t
fit on 2 pages, then consider altering your
format, to give yourself more space.

But beware making your CV look cramped,


© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006                  103
                                                            The final step of pulling together your CV is to
                                                            tweak your personal summary.
Pulling It Together
Making it flow
                                                            You should have drafted this in your Master
                                                            CV preparation, but you may wish to change it
                                                            slightly, to illustrate the qualities you bring to
                                                            the specific job for which you are applying.
The next step is to critically review the flow of
your CV.
                                                            What impression would the recruiter have of
                                                            you, if this were the only section they read?
      Reading it out loud is a great way of
                     doing this.
                                                            If you notice anything that doesn’t work as a
                                                            section in your CV, then remember to change
If you find you are stumbling over words or                 it in the Master CV, too, so you don’t have to
phrases, then the recruiter will, too.                      rework it again next time.
Does it make sense?

Do you need to make any changes, to make it
easier to scan?
                                                            When you have finished your tweaks, save
                                                            your CV, print it out and take a break.
Is it interesting?

                                                            You will need a fresh mind for the final
Are your headlines           and    bullets   still         reviews.
appropriate?



This is the stage to be brutally honest with
yourself – or ask a suitable friend or colleague
for input.



The flow of information should be logical, not
jarring.



When you have tweaked this, re-read your CV,
paying attention only to the headlines
(imagining you’re scanning it for the first time).
Do the headlines make sense? Do they flow?
Do they convey your key selling points? If not,
then work out where the gaps are and consider
editing them.




© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006                   104
                                                            Aoccdrnig to rseearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy,
Getting A Second Opinion
                                                            it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a
How to spot mistakes                                        wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt thnig is taht frist
                                                            and lsat ltteer is in the rghit pclae. The rset can
                                                            be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit
                                                            a porbelm. This is bcuseae we do not raed
Getting A Second Opinion                                    ervey lteter by itslef but the wrod as a wlohe.



Now you should have a CV that meets the
needs of the recruiter, looks great and fits tidily
on 2-3 pages.
                                                            So how can I spot the mistakes in my CV?

                                                            Do this from a printed version of your CV,
So surely you just send it off?                             rather than a computer screen.


Not quite.                                                  One technique that works well is to read it
                                                            backwards, sentence by sentence. Start at the
                                                            end and read each sentence in turn. Why does
Remember The CV-Shredding Mistakes?
                                                            this work? Because it breaks the pattern of
Check your CV in detail for these. Ask a
                                                            “auto-pilot” scan reading of a document we are
trusted friend, relative or colleague to do the
                                                            familiar with, which can trick us into missing
same, if possible.
                                                            errors.


You could throw away your hours of hard work
and your chance of getting the job you want,
just because you didn’t spot careless mistakes.



It can be really hard to see them, because our
mind naturally skips over mistakes and                       Once you have done this, you
corrects them for us. An extreme case of this
                                                                have finished your CV!
was proven by a British University.


                                                                       Congratulations!
Read the paragraph below for an insight into
how readily our mind compensates for
mistakes.

                                                            Time for a short celebration, then you can put
                                                            your CV on one side and move on to write your
                                                            compelling cover letter.




© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006                   105
                                                             11
                                                How To Write A Compelling
                                                              Cover Letter

                                            Your cover letter is the most important part of
                                                                      your job application.

                                            How to use it to make a great first impression.




© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006   106
                                                          interview.

Compelling Cover Letter                     11            The good news is that a cover letter is simple
How to make a great first
impression                                                to write, if you have completed the preparation
                                                          in the earlier sections of this book.




                                                          What is a cover letter?
             In this section you will cover:



                                                          Your cover letter introduces you to the reader.
• What is a cover letter?

• Why is it so important?
                                                          It gets them curious to read your CV and can
• How do I prepare my cover letter?                       help switch on their positive filters (see "What
• What should it include?                                 The Recruiter's Really Looking For").

• Great cover letter language

• Mistakes to avoid                                       It’s so much more than “Hi, my name’s John.
                                                          I’d like to apply for the job; CV attached.
• How to add extra finesse                                Thanks.”


   If this is all too much at this stage, check           Why is a cover letter important?
   out Jimmy Sweeney’s really useful cover
                                                          It is usually a recruiter’s first contact with you.
                 letter resource.
                                                          It’s your first chance to market yourself.

                                                          It should speak directly to them, treating them
Imagine receiving a piece of advertising
                                                          as a person, selling the benefits of employing
through the post. The deal they’re offering you
                                                          you at both the logical, rational level and at an
might be great, but unless they have written it
                                                          emotional level.
in a letter that grabs you and makes you
realise how much you need and want their
product, their offer will go straight in the bin.



Your cover letter faces a similar challenge.



It includes a powerfully written description of
why you are ideal for the job. But if you send it
with a formulaic, uninteresting cover letter,
then you’ll be making the job harder for
yourself and cutting your chances of getting an



© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006                 107
                                                         My Unique Advantage is:

How do I prepare my cover letter?




Start by thinking about your objective for your
cover letter? What do you want it to do for you,
in relation to this specific job application?



My objective is:




What’s your Unique Advantage? Review your
answers to Exercise 3 and write your Unique
Advantage for this role. Make sure it is truly
relevant to the position for which you are
applying.




© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006                108
Exercise 12: Three Reasons To Consider
Me



Imagine the ideal person they are looking for
and show how you fit their needs. What are the
top 3 reasons why they should consider your
application for this particular role?




   1.




   2.




   3.




© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006              109
Preparation completed!

                                                          Avoid using “Dear Sir / Madam”, as this can
                                                          imply a lack of interest in the recruiter.
Now it’s time to move on to writing the content
of your cover letter.

                                                          You should make an effort to find the name of
                                                          the recruiting manager or contact and use their
What should my cover letter include?
                                                          name, as it is given to you. If you can’t get their
A cover letter typically includes 5 sections:             name, then feel free to be creative and
1. Correctly addressed to the named                       address your letter to “Dear Recruiting
   recruitment contact                                    Manager”, or similar.

2. Job reference and source of advert

3. A strong opening                                       For example, if they say they are called Jeff
                                                          during previous conversations, then write
4. An explanation of why you are interested in
                                                          “Dear Jeff”.
   and suitable for the position

5. An action close
                                                          If they call themselves Mr. Jeff Morgan, then
                                                          write “Dear Mr. Morgan”.



                                                          It is safer to err on the side of caution and
1.      Addressed         to     the      named           use the title and surname, rather than risk
recruitment contact                                       offence by being overly familiar. Use your
                                                          judgement, based on your knowledge of the
                                                          company.


The format of your letter should match your CV
(e.g. font, margins, line spacing, etc).

Start by including your contact details in
standard business letter format at the top of
the letter. You could either include these
centred or left aligned at the right hand side of
the page.



Then write the title and address of the
recruitment contact, usually left aligned at the
left hand side of the page.



Open the letter with:



Dear ……………



© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006                 110
                                                         If you have already spoken to the company
                                                         about the position, then feel free to mention
2.      Job reference and source of advert
                                                         that in your opening.

                                                         Openings you could adapt include:


After the greeting, you should include the job
                                                         “Further to our telephone conversation on
description, reference number and source,
                                                         XX.XX, I am pleased to enclose my CV for
usually as a bold heading.
                                                         your attention.”
                                                         (Safe, but friendly)
Bear in mind that a company may be recruiting
many positions at any one time, so make sure
                                                         “Following our conversation on Monday XXth, I
your application ends up on the right pile.
                                                         suspect I may be just the candidate you are
                                                         looking for.”
Including the source where you saw the advert            (Slightly cheeky and arouses curiosity)
is courteous, but not compulsory. It helps the
recruiting department evaluate the success of
                                                         “I read your advert in The Daily Telegraph this
different advertising, to make future campaigns
                                                         morning and I am excited at the opportunity of
more effective.
                                                         bringing my experience to this role.“
                                                         (This shows enthusiasm and quick turnaround
                                                         of work. Add to this an obviously tailored CV
                                                         and they’ll be impressed! “Excited” may be too
                                                         strong a word for you – be creative and use
3.      A strong opening                                 what feels right.)



                                                         “I would like to be considered for the exciting
                                                         opportunity we discussed on the telephone on
Don’t state the obvious in your opening
                                                         Monday.”
sentence. It is a waste of an opportunity to
                                                         (A different slant on a safe bet)
make an impact. Avoid clichés such as:


                                                         These are just ideas and there are hundreds of
“I am writing to apply for…” - that’s obvious
                                                         ways to open your letter. Our aim here is to
“In reference to your ad…” - you’ve just                 provide examples, so you can see the contrast
referred to that in the line above                       between a clichéd opening and an original first
“I would like to be considered…”          - this         sentence.
can be interpreted as submissive

                                                         If this is something you find difficult, then keep
Try to avoid the first word of your letter being         an eye open for strong opening sentences in
“I”, unless the sentence refers back to the              any letters you receive. If you see one you like
recruiter. There is an example of this below.            that works, write it down and keep it in your CV
                                                         preparation file!




© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006                111
                                                            they facing any important challenges or
                                                            preparing for exciting opportunities that aren’t
4.     Explain why you are interested in
                                                            common knowledge, which would affect this
and suitable for the position
                                                            role? If relevant, you could mention these in
                                                            this section.


This is where you use one or two paragraphs                 As a guide, this main section would typically be
to summarise your Unique Advantage and the                  less than 200 words.
3 reasons why they should employ you for this
position.

Make sure you strike a balance between your
skills and what you could do for the company.

You need to make sure they can see how you
match the “filter” criteria from the job advert,
i.e. the basic qualifications or experience,
without which you are unlikely to be a suitable
candidate.



This section should show you are enthusiastic
and genuine.



It should be relatively easy to write, given the
preparation you have already completed.



It is perfectly acceptable to use bullet points, to
make information easier to read. Make it
simple for them to see why they should choose
you.



Make sure this section is interesting and
compelling. Avoid the temptation of trying to
regurgitate your entire CV in just 10 lines! This
is a great opportunity to add those extra points
that had to be cut from your CV to get it down
to 2 pages, or to add highly relevant
information that there wasn’t space for within
your CV.



To add a little extra finesse, you could
reference some of the understandings you
have gained from your company research. Are


© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006                   112
                                                            (Focuses them on action)

5.      An Action Close

                                                            “I would welcome the opportunity to meet you
                                                            and your team.”
                                                            (Shows you are interested in them)
What is an “action close”?

                                                            “I am available for interview at any stage in the
It avoids your letter “fizzling out” and losing the         next 4 weeks.”
positive ground you have gained.                            (Shows flexibility, but also instinctively
                                                            encourages a fast decision)

It’s a way of closing your letter with energy and
positive momentum, to keep the reader curious               “The easiest way to contact me is via my
as they move on to your CV. Use a verb                      personal mobile: 07735 XXX XXX“
(action word) to instinctively start the reader             (Shows you are thinking about making things
focusing on doing something about your CV,                  easier for them and gives them the message
rather than just putting it down in one of the 3            that they want to call you)
piles and moving on. It has a future-focused
element and adds a punch to the end of your
letter, which will differentiate it from other
candidates’ letters.

                                                            Sign off
There is no right or wrong for the closing line,
just high vs. low impact. Experiment until you
find a sentence you are comfortable with.
                                                            You have the option of formal or informal sign-
                                                            off. Use your judgement, based on what you
Examples of closes to avoid:
                                                            know about the company, to decide which to
“Thank you for your time.”                                  use.
(This reminds them of the effort involved in
recruiting and may affect their mood!)
                                                            The general rules for a formal sign-off are:

“Thank you for considering my application.”                 If you have used the person’s name in the
(Very polite, but not distinctive)                          letter’s greeting, sign off with “Yours sincerely,”

                                                            If you don’t know their name, sign off with
                                                            “Yours faithfully,”
“Please feel free to contact me if you want any
further information.”
(Although this is polite, it is overused and                For a less formal sign-off (be cautious if you
states the obvious)                                         use this, depending on the company’s culture),
                                                            consider “Kind regards,”

Examples of action closes:

“I look forward to hearing from you soon.”                  It is perfectly acceptable to use a formal sign-


© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006                   113
off for a job application.




Extras




If the employer has requested contact details
for referees or information about your current
package, then separate it out from your “sales”
section, by adding it at the end of your letter.




Proof-reading

All the general proof-reading and error
avoidance tactics covered in sections CV-
Shredding Mistakes and Getting A Second
Opinion are just as important for your cover
letter as they are in your CV. Make sure you
go through it carefully, checking the flow and
correcting any mistakes.



Finally, print your cover letter on the same type
of paper as your CV.



Proof-read it one last time, then sign it. It may
seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how
many candidates forget to sign their cover
letter, which immediately shows a lack of
attention to detail and lets down their
application.




See the next page for an example of a cover
letter.




© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006                 114
                                                          He's a marketing and copy-writing expert with
                                                          over 20 years' experience in selling other
Excellent Cover Letter                                    people's products. He's turned his expertise to
Resource                                                  the field of helping people sell themselves - for
The instant cover letter creator                          job applications.




                                                          He's developed the Instant Cover Letter
Your cover letter is often seen as the "poor              Creator to help you write an excellent cover
relation" of your CV / resume. Yet it's a vital           letter in (he claims!) just 3 1/2 minutes.
part     of     the    application    process.
                                                          Jimmy says:

In fact, there are techniques you can use to at
                                                          Here's a sad fact: Less than one tenth of one
least double your chances of getting a job
                                                          percent of all the cover letters I've ever read,
interview, just by tweaking your cover letter.
                                                          has piqued my interest enough where I said to
                                                          myself, "Jimmy, you must call this person for
The good news (for you!) is that very few job             an interview right now, before it's too late!"
hunters bother to focus on their cover letter.
                                                          That is a RARE cover letter indeed!
They rattle off the usual "Dear Sir / Madam"
with a few awkward paragraphs, to fill the                Most cover letters make employers work way
space. For them, a cover letter is secondary to           too hard trying to figure out whether they
the CV.                                                   should call a person for the interview.



Yet a strong cover letter acts as a mini                                       He's developed tools to
marketing tool for your CV. It can get the                                     help you create a cover
reader hooked - and draw their attention to the                                letter that does justice to
3 reasons why you're a strong candidate for                                    your skills and experience,
the role.                                                                      rather    than    being    a
                                                                               potentially      forgettable
                                                          introduction to your new employer.
It   helps   show   your   "spark",   get   them
interested and make them want to meet
you. It's really tough for a CV to do this on its         So if you'd like to find out more, it's worth
own.                                                      checking out his Instant Cover Letter
                                                          Creator. He's so confident it will help you get
                                                          more job interviews that he even offers a 100%
All this might sound a little daunting. You might         money back guarantee.
be asking yourself, "Where do I start?".

                                                          We've thoroughly reviewed this product and
Fortunately Jimmy Sweeney has jumped in to                are confident you'll find it useful.
help.




© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006                 115
Example of a cover letter:
                                            John Smith
                   Email : JohnSmith@xyz.com 01285 XXX XXX / 07735 XXX XXX
                             22 My Street, Anytown, Midfordshire, GL51 4XX
Lucy Jones
Human Resources Manager
XYZ Widgets
Newhampton Industrial Estate
Oddington
Surrey. GU45 3XL

Dear Ms Jones,


Ref: 0312AX             New Business Manager, Daily Telegraph on 15.12.2005


Following our conversation on Monday 19th, I suspect I may be just the candidate you are looking for.




Main body constructed from answers to Exercise 12 & explaining why you are interested.




I would welcome the opportunity to meet you and your team, to find out more about this exciting
opportunity.


Yours sincerely,
John Smith


Current Package         Basic salary £xx,xxx. Benefits: company car, health insurance, contributory
                        pension, 25 days’ vacation.


References              Mr. Peter Brown (current line manager)
                        Design Quality Manager, Anytown Components, Glebe Road, Cheltenham,
                        Gloucester. GL5X 4XX.


                        Mrs. Emily Tanner (my IMechE mentor)
                        34, High Road, Stroud, Gloucestershire. GL5X 3XX




© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006              116
                                                          12
                                                       Application Checklist

                                            Make sure there’s nothing you’ve forgotten.




© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006   117
Application Checklist                 12
Make sure you’ve remembered
everything                                          As you do your final checking, here is a
                                                    reminder of some of the top tips:



                                                    1. Target your CV and cover letter to the job
                    Congratulations!  You
                                                       you are applying for. Be ruthless about
                    have finished your CV
                                                       what you include and what you leave out.
                    and cover letter!
                                                       Write for the reader, not for yourself.
                    It’s time to go through
                    the final application
                    check list.                     2. Use an elegant layout that you are
                                                       comfortable with and which is appropriate
                                                       for your CV’s content.



                                                    3. Avoid the 10 most common CV mistakes



                                                    4. Use enough industry-specific vocabulary
                                                       to show expertise, but without filling your
                                                       CV with incomprehensible jargon. Think of
                                                       it as being like using herbs and spices in
                                                       cooking: a little makes a big difference; too
                                                       much makes it inedible. Include the key
                                                       words they’ll be looking for. You want your
                                                       CV to talk to the recruiter at an instinctive
                                                       level.



                                                    5. Provide evidence of your achievements
                                                       and tell the truth.



                                                    6. Review and rewrite your Master CV
                                                       every 6 months. Not only does this mean
                                                       you’ll always be ready, should that
                                                       opportunity suddenly come up, but it is
                                                       great for your annual review and salary
                                                       negotiations!




© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006           118
Application Checklist
Before you send everything off




        Is it addressed to the correct person? Check spelling.

        Have you checked it for errors?

        Is it focused on the employer’s needs?

        Does it show clearly what you can offer?

        Does it arouse curiosity?

        Does it have an easy to read layout?

        Is its appearance consistent with the type of role you are applying for?

        Is it concise and punchy?

        Does it have a strong, positive cover letter?

        Would you call yourself for an interview?




Re-read your application one final time.                  If emailing your application, put your cover
                                                          letter and CV in a single file, so they don’t get
                                                          separated. It’s a good idea to send a hard copy
Then send it!                                             too. Tell them to expect this, in your email.
                                                          Even if your email gets through, so many
                                                          people have email backlogs these days that
It goes without saying that you should send
                                                          you can never be sure when they will read
your CV in a high quality envelope (preferably
                                                          your application.
A4, so it doesn’t need to be folded. Folding is a
good way to guarantee that it will look tatty
when it’s been photocopied a few times).                   Congratulations! How are you
                                                               going to celebrate?
Also, address it neatly & correctly, checking
spelling and post codes (written, typed or
printed: doesn’t matter). Above all, use a first
class stamp!!! A second class stamp doesn’t
say much for your enthusiasm.




© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006                 119
                                                           13
                                                                    And Finally…

                                            Top tips to help you double your chances of
                                                                    getting an interview.




© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006   120
                                                           If they tell you they haven’t made any
                                                           decisions yet, then ask them when would be a
And Finally…                                13             good time to call back, to find out more. And
What’s next?                                               don’t call them again before that time.



                                                           Once you’ve got your interview date, then
                                                           you’re in a perfect position to move onto
                       So you’ve completed
                       your        background
                       thinking, written an                                Interview Stuff
                       interview-winning CV
and created a compelling cover letter.
                                                           It’ll take you through top interview preparation
                                                           techniques, as well as how to calm nerves and
Your application is in the post (be it electronic          maybe even enjoy the process. See you there!
or snail mail).



So what’s next?




          Waiting for an interview…



If you’ve already spoken to the recruiter, then
you may know what their timings are. It can
often take weeks from the application closing
deadline until a company makes decisions
about who to interview, but that doesn’t mean
you have to sit and twiddle your thumbs.



As long as you’re not hassling the recruiter, it’s
ok to call them, to find out when decisions will
be made. :You can always use an excuse such
as “I’ve got a lot of business trips coming up,
so I wanted to check whether I might be called
for interview with you, so I can plan around
that.”



Recruiters like applicants who are keen, but
don’t step over the line and start bothering
them.




© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006                  121
                                                            14
                                                            Exercise Templates

                                            Blank copies of the exercises. Easy for you to
                                                                        print out and use.




© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006   122
Exercise Templates                                    14
Blank forms to use whenever you
want




Print these forms out to complete the exercises as often as you need to.




      Exercise 1: Evaluate Your Current CV............................................................................ 124
      Exercise 2: The 12 Questions ......................................................................................... 126
      Exercise 3: Unique Advantage........................................................................................ 130
      Exercise 4: Vetting A Job Advert..................................................................................... 132
      Exercise 5: How much do you know about the company? ............................................. 134
      Exercise 7: How To Select Your Evidence ..................................................................... 138
      Sample Chronological CV : Applying for “Director of International Marketing” ............... 140
      Sample Skills-Based CV ................................................................................................. 142




© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006                             123
Exercise 1: Evaluate Your Current CV



What would your first impression of the candidate be?




How easy is it for you to find the information you’re looking for in the CV?




What does the CV show as the candidate’s strengths?




As a potential employer, what might your concerns be?




How would you rate this CV? (Marks out of 10)                      /10




What would your overall impression of the CV be?




                                                                      Exercise continues on next page…



© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006               124
   How likely would you be to remember this applicant, in general?




   What is the 1 thing you would remember about the applicant?




   Would you call the candidate for an interview? Why is that?




                                                                     Back to Evaluate Your Current CV




© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006             125
Exercise 2: The 12 Questions



1. Outline of my career so far:




2. My strengths are…




                                            Exercise continues on next page…




© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006   126
   3. My development areas / weak points are…




   4. Which key things have I learned (either concrete skills or about my personal attributes)?




   5. What have been my biggest achievements?




   6. What wouldn’t have happened, if I hadn’t worked in my current / previous roles?




                                                                  Exercise continues on next page…




© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006            127
   7. What do I have to offer my next employer?




   8. What evidence can I provide to back up my claims?




   9. What will my current boss miss about me when I leave?




   10. What will my colleagues say about me when I leave?




                                                              Exercise continues on next page…




© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006          128
   11. What will my direct reports say about me?




   12. Why do I want to change jobs?




                                                    Back to The 12 Questions




© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006           129
Exercise 3: Unique Advantage



Use the boxes below or you could use index cards, if you’d like more space.




    If you employ me, you get…                                  If you employ me, you get…




    If you employ me, you get…                                  If you employ me, you get…




    If you employ me, you get…                                  If you employ me, you get…




    If you employ me, you get…                                  If you employ me, you get…




                                                                  Exercise continues on next page…




© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006             130
•   When you look at the boxes of your differentiating attributes, which seem most compelling?

Note: it may be different for different jobs, so you may need to revisit this exercise for each
application.



•   Relax and jot down some short sentences or phrases that would capture the key points you have
    highlighted.

Phrases that capture the “real me” and my talents:




•   Which of these phrases grab your attention? Which sum you up the best? These are the features
    that form your Unique Advantage. If you want, you can distil them into a single phrase or
    sentence.

•   Write them in the box below or on a separate card. Keep them in front of you whenever
    you are working on your CV.



Back to Unique Advantage



© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006             131
Exercise 4: Vetting A Job Advert

 What, specifically, interests, intrigues or excites me about this role?




 Is there anything I don’t like or disadvantages about this role?




 Being honest, is this role a good match for what I wanted to do next?




                                                                       Exercise continues on next page…




© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006                132
 How does this position fit with where I want to be going long-term? Would this choice support my 5-
 10 year vision? *




Do I still want to apply for this job?      Yes                     No              Not sure



                                                                         Back to Vetting A Job Advert




© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006             133
Exercise 5: How much do you know about the company?



   What is your current impression of the company? What do you like or dislike about it, based on
   your current level of knowledge?




   What is the public reputation or image of this company?




   What is the main business of the company?




   Do you know anyone who works there who you could talk to about the company? Do you know
   anyone who knows anyone who works there? Make the most of your contacts!




                                                                 Exercise continues on next page…




© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006             134
   What size is the company? (number of employees, turnover, international subsidiaries, etc)




   How is the company currently performing? (e.g. market share, profits, other relevant measures,
   are there any plans for expansion / takeovers)




   Where would the advertised role fit within the company’s structure and plans?




                                                                  Exercise continues on next page…




© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006             135
   What do you know about its culture?




   Does the company have a published “vision” or “mission statement”?




   What do you know about what it’s like to work there?




   What is the likelihood of your top values being satisfied by working there?




                                                                    Exercise continues on next page…


© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006              136
  How would the company describe its “ideal employee”? What types of skills and characteristics
  would they have?




  Are there any “buzz words” that the company or industry uses in its literature. (You might include
  these in your interview).




  What would be the pros and cons of working for this company?




Question: Do I still want this job?

                 Yes

                 No

                 Not sure

Back to Research The Company




© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006             137
Exercise 7: How To Select Your Evidence

    Job Position & Company




    How did my involvement add
    value   to    my  team    /
    organisation?



    What changed as a result of
    me being there?




    Which major challenges /
    achievements was I involved
    in?     What   was       my
    contribution?

    What were my (team’s)
    greatest successes?

    What was I accountable for?


    Which skills did I develop in
    that role?




    What was I the driver for?




    Where did I excel?




    Which personal attributes did
    I develop?




                                                Back to Select Your Evidence




© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006       138
Example CVs And Resumes



We have included 2 sample CVs for you to review.



However, if you have time, it’s really worth checking out the latest information on the following online
CV and resume resources.




                     Steve Holmes offers sample CVs, complete with a really useful critique and
                     explanations of how to do things better.




                                          Career Assist offers both resume and cover letter templates.




                    Neil Williamson has developed these useful resume layout tools.




                  Ronan Kennedy offers plenty of sample resumes to provide inspiration.




© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006              139
Sample Chronological CV : Applying for “Director of International Marketing”



Home Address 22 My Street, Anytown, Midfordshire, GL51 4XX                John Smith
Direct Lines    01285 XXX XXX / 07735 XXX XXX
Email           JohnSmith@XYZ.com


John’s proven track record in empowering and developing teams makes him an ideal choice for a
senior role in Alpha-Beta Marketing Services. He is looking to move to a Director-level position in an
international role, with responsibility for a portfolio of brands. His broad experience in all aspects of
marketing means would add measurable value to Alpha-Beta’s team. John’s fluency in French and
German, as well as his proficiency in Spanish, would be an asset in growing the international
business.


Professional History
XYZ Widgets, Midfordshire, UK
XYZ Widgets are the world leaders in Widgets, with a workforce of 5,000 worldwide and an annual
turnover in excess of £900m.


1999-present    Head of UK Marketing
Team of 15, with 5 direct reports; Marketing budget in excess of £5m.
Developing the UK Marketing team to increase self-sufficiency and implementing systems to
measure the ROI of our activities.
    •   Developed the marketing team from tactical thinkers on a declining brand to strategic
        planners, producing increased market shares in all segments, in a challenging consumer
        environment.
    •   Coached the team to develop and implement Brand Y’s 2002 TV advertising campaign,
        leading to an 8% increase in brand salience and a 20% growth of market share.
    •   Introduced structured marketing planning and budget review processes, which directly
        contributed to a 20% reduction in print ad space costs and allowed for departmental
        succession planning.
    •   Implementing systems that challenged previous assumptions and enabled measurement of
        the impact of our activities on bottom line profit.
    •   Mentored the teams to deliver effective strategic planning for the launch of New Product
        Development activities.

1997-1999       Brand Development Manager
Responsible for a team of 5 Marketing Managers, covering the XYZ Widget portfolio.
Award winning print campaign and successful re-branding of XYZ portfolio.
    •   Delivered the 1998 award-winning print campaign, which increased sales by 15%.
    •   Increased brand salience by 5% from summer 1998 to spring 1999.
    •   Counteracted competitor launches of New Products by re-branding and re-launching the XYZ
        Widget portfolio.
    •   Developed team members to become confident Marketing Managers, with their own spheres
        of responsibility.
    •   Led the Employee Consultative Committee from 1997 to 1998, implementing improvements in
        working hours and measuring employee satisfaction.

1995-1997       Marketing Manager, Widget B



© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006              140
Responsible for communication strategy development and implementation of new products.
Key role in development and launch of Widget B.
    •   Key contact between the Marketing, Competitor Intelligence and New Product Development
        teams, helping to define the consumer needs for Widget B.
    •   Developed and implemented the communication strategy for Widget B’s launch.
    •   Member of the highly acclaimed 1996 “Overhead Reduction Team”, reducing waste within the
        company’s processes.


Joe Browne’s Advertising, London, Paris and New York
Joe Browne’s Advertising are the market leaders in developing effective communication strategies for
widgets, with a staff of 50 and an annual turnover in excess of £5m.


1994-1995       Account Manager, Small Business Division, New York
Maintaining customer satisfaction whilst delivering to company’s performance targets.
Responsible for the day-to-day running of client accounts and briefing the graphic designers.


1992 – 1994     Graduate Training Scheme, Various Roles, London and Paris
Gaining an understanding of all areas of the business.
Positions included: finance, sales, marketing, graphic design and copywriting.


Professional Membership
CIM             Member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (1995)


Education
BA (Hons)       Business Studies and French, University of Cardiff, 1992, Class 2.1
‘A’ Levels      German (A), French (B), Maths (B), Anytown College, Midfordshire. 1988
GCSEs           9 Passes at grade A, County High School, Anytown, Midfordshire. 1986


Additional Skills
Languages       French (fluent), German (excellent), Spanish (basic knowledge)
Computer        Good working knowledge of MS Office packages and industry databases


Hobbies
Mountain biking: organising and competing in off-road events and co-ordinating European tours.
Cricket: Team member for league matches. Treasurer of village club; responsible for financial planning
and maintaining management accounts.
Travelling: recent trips include Argentina, China and New Zealand.


Referees        Details available upon request.




© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006               141
Sample Skills-Based CV


Applying to “Midfordshire Widgets” for “New Product Development Finance Manager” – assumes John
is prepared to take a sideways (or lower) switch to Finance. Note: in this instance, John has chosen to
highlight achievements that illustrate his skills, rather than just stating his skills.



Home Address 22 My Street, Anytown, Midfordshire, GL51 4XX               John Smith
Direct Lines    01285 XXX XXX / 07735 XXX XXX            Email   JohnSmith@XYZ.com

John is keen to move from Marketing into Financial Planning. His commercial experience in the
management of budgets and financial planning through his recent senior marketing roles demonstrate
his ability to handle complex financial planning and calculations, particularly in the New Product
Development environment. His passion for proving the Return on Investment of campaigns has further
developed his financial skills. His fluency in French and German would be an asset to Midfordshire
Widgets, when liaising with the international design teams. His Marketing expertise would enable him
to act as the link between Marketing, Finance and Design.


Achievements
    •   20% reduction in print ad space costs in 2000: XYZ Widgets, Head of UK Marketing
    •   Implemented system to measure impact of marketing activities bottom line: XYZ Widgets,
        Head of UK Marketing
    •   Introduced structured planning and budget review processes, which allowed prediction of
        variance from budgeted spend on a monthly, quarterly and annual basis.
    •   Improving relationships between Marketing, Finance and Design teams, during the re-launch
        of the XYZ Widget portfolio, leading to a saving of 5 months, over the projected launch time
        plans: XYZ Widgets, Brand Development Manager
    •   Worked with Finance team to develop an algorithm to calculate the potential profit margin of
        Widget B, for various projected production costs and sales forecasts: XYZ Widgets, Marketing
        Manager
    •   Assessing potential financial impact of competitor launches on XYZ’s New Products: XYZ
        Widgets, Marketing Manager
    •   Developed a system to measure the financial impact of project delays: Joe Browne’s
        Advertising, Graduate Trainee


Career History
XYZ Widgets, Midfordshire, UK
XYZ Widgets are the world leaders in Widgets, with a workforce of 5,000 worldwide and an annual
turnover in excess of £900m.


1999-present    Head of UK Marketing
Team of 15, with 5 direct reports; Marketing budget in excess of £5m.
Developing the UK Marketing team to increase self-sufficiency and implementing systems to
measure the ROI of our activities.


1997-2000       Brand Development Manager


© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006              142
Responsible for a team of 5 Marketing Managers, covering the XYZ Widget portfolio.
Bringing in award-winning print campaign under-budget and successfully re-branding XYZ
portfolio.


1995-1997       Marketing Manager, Widget B
Responsible for communication strategy development and implementation of new products.
Key role in development and launch of Widget B.


Joe Browne’s Advertising, London, Paris and New York
Joe Browne’s Advertising are the market leaders in developing effective communication strategies for
widgets, with a staff of 50 and an annual turnover in excess of £5m.


1994-1995       Account Manager, Small Business Division, New York
Maintaining customer satisfaction whilst delivering to company’s revenue targets.
Responsible for the day-to-day running of client accounts and briefing the graphic designers.


1992 – 1994     Graduate Training Scheme, Various Roles, London and Paris
Gaining an understanding of all areas of the business.
Positions included: financial planning, sales & marketing.


Professional Membership
CIM             Member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (1995)


Education
BA (Hons)       Business Studies and French, University of Cardiff, 1992, Class 2.1
‘A’ Levels      German (A), French (B), Maths (B), Anytown College, Midfordshire. 1988
GCSEs           9 Passes at grade A, County High School, Anytown, Midfordshire. 1986


Additional Skills
Languages       French (fluent), German (excellent), Spanish (basic knowledge)
Computer        Good working knowledge of MS Office packages and industry databases


Hobbies
Cricket: Team member for league matches. Treasurer of village club; responsible for financial planning
and maintaining management accounts.
Mountain biking: organising and competing in off-road events and co-ordinating European tours.


Referees        Details available upon request.




© Clare Jaques Interview Stuff 2006               143

				
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