How to Build Your CV
The article on How to Build your CV is from Aussie contractor site www.Brainbox.com.au.
We have all had the experience of having to build your CV depending on the requirements. It is always a difficult task.
Anyone who says they don’t like sales is already at a disadvantage because your CV is your sales pitch.
If you want to land an interview these days you have to be able to present a CV that is punchy and stands out from the crowd and that doesn’t mean it’s printed on pink scented paper or attached as a word document with some groovy background that starts playing the Rocky theme when opened.
A CV should never exceed 5 pages and should be clear and concise offering relevancy to the position.
Build Your CV – Critical Points
There have been many articles on the do’s and don’ts on how to build your CV and I am not going to labour on this area.
However, there are some critical points to be aware of in the market these days.
Recruitment agencies do a wonderful thing called scanning your CV.
I had a great conversation with a scalper recently that was quite proud of the fact that she could scan up to 100 CVs a day.
I got to thinking; if they are scanning your CV then it is unlikely they are going to know you from a bar of soap unless there is something they are scanning for.
Build Your CV – First Page
The valuable lesson from this first point, the first page of your CV needs to be a doozey!
Use headers and footers to add personal details such as contact details, address, email address and phone numbers.
The first half of the page should be an executive summary of who you are, what you do, and the sort of roles you excel in this should compliment your cover letter.
Then create a table of key skills. Tables are important for the visual learners. Do not exceed these limits.
Build Your CV – Pages 2 to 4
The next 3 pages should be work history, accomplishments and value adds that you have produced.
The last page should include training, associations, competency in products and hardware, software and skills pertinent to the work you have done.
It is pointless demonstrating abilities in telco billing systems, for example, if you are not going to be working in a telecommunications company or you are not going to be working with billing.
Build Your CV – Proof Read
Once you have put this together give it to someone else to proof read.
Do not get attached to your CV. If someone doesn’t understand something, change it until they do!
This is important because most recruitment consultants don’t understand it either.
If you are going to use Acronyms, abbreviations always spell it out in full the first time and note the abbreviation in brackets, that way people know what you mean.
The second thing is grammatical and spelling.
Spell checkers will not fix grammatical errors or the tense the document is written in, nor will it rectify passive writing.
It is a certain fact that if the consultant likes your CV and decides to send it on to the client they will miss this, I know some of the consultants say they check that before they send it on to the client but they don’t.
When you build your CV, get as many people to proof your CV until there is “no comments” left and all possible mistakes have been identified. It is like a university paper it must be letter-perfect.
The key headings that I like to use in a CV are as follows:
Bullet points of what your skills and capabilities are e.g.
• Substantial experience as a senior manager, IT&T manager, IT&T business analyst and consultant, service delivery and project management in delivery of IT&T infrastructure projects.
• Strong, balanced business, customer and technical orientation to IT & T projects and sound IT process development.
• Sound business analysis and project management background through a thorough understanding of IT service delivery, outsourcing and business knowledge.
Table containing the key/buzz skills, these are the words that some agents do matching searches on and are the preliminary culling process before they even know your name. e.g
• ITIL CERTIFIED
• GENERAL MANAGEMENT
• OPERATIONAL MANAGEMENT SERVICES
• PROJECT MANAGEMENT- PMBOK
Usually in chronological order from most recent to past. This is where many people come unstuck especially contractors with a long history of roles.
As a rule of thumb the last 5 to 8 years of work history is sufficient.
Make this information clear with dates and the names of organisations clear, job titles are also important as many employers and recruiters like to see you sporting the same title as the job you are applying for.
To cover the rest of your working experience I like to include a heading called work history in which I enter simple information including the name of the organisation the time I worked for them and the position title.
I think it is important to do this because it demonstrates career progression.
Especially, if for example, you joined the military years ago when you first left school, or you started out in a trade and re-skilled yourself.
This demonstrates the ability to develop the skills and clear career progression when you build your CV.
This is the opportunity to demonstrate your skills, experience and abilities when you build your CV. In this part of your CV is the nuts and bolts of how your business acumen.
It is useful to present this as a table that is relevant to what you do when you build your CV. It is also the area of the CV that you can tailor for different roles in application for different positions.
Operating and Application Systems
– 8 years – Windows XP & 2K Pro (Desktop & Server)
Netware, GroupWise, Lotus Notes, Citrix
– 12 years – ITIL Fundamentals, Touch Paper, Solve HP Open View Desktop Manager, Remedy and Peregrine.
– 4 years – Oracle Financial Systems
In house developed billing systems
EPPIX Mobile customer care and billing system, various Telstra Billing systems.
Project Management & Business Analysis
– 12 years – Microsoft Project, Microsoft Visio, Word templates, Front Page, Publisher,
– Various – Lotus Notes, Exchange, 2K3 Server, NDS
Cognos, SQL Database for reporting only
Do try to keep this table relevant to the position you’re applying for and make sure that the information meets the essentials outlined in the position description. This is paramount as the recruiter again will scan this information.
TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT
Finally this is the area of your CV that contains the critical training and certifications. Do not put copies of your certificates and degrees with your resume. Carry them with you if necessary when you meet with the recruitment agency, or fax copies if required after contact is made with the agency.e.g
Current Qualifications and Certification
MBA Science &Technology – University NSW (1997)
Windows 2000 MCSE
C++, Visual C, SQL
Australian Institute of Management
That’s pretty much it. Do not include References on your CV!
Two reasons, head hunters will ring those people without your permission to check if they are in need of recruitment for positions as body shops want to collect titles and names of companies to fatten their potential client prospects and secondly, you don’t want your referees getting phone calls before you have even been approach about the job.
I know they say it never happens but it does!
Never discuss rates until you have an interview with the recruiter or client, a number of times the recruiter will discredit you for a role because you are too expensive (more likely they can’t make enough out of you after your cut).
I often explain to recruiters that my rate is negotiable based on the requirements of the role and I will only be able to make a true assessment of that when I have had the opportunity to discuss that in an interview with the client.
The reason is, you got it, the agency hasn’t got a clue on the complexity of the role.
Remember these items when you build your CV.