Writing a Winning CV

To get the most mileage out of your CV, you’ll want to emphasise certain aspects of your background. By doing so, you’ll present your qualifications in the most favourable light and help give the employer a better understanding of your potential value to his or her organisation. To build a stronger case for your candidacy, try highlighting the following areas:

Professional achievements. For example, if you’re in business development, the first thing a hiring manager will want to know is your business development achievements and how you have developed new opportunities for your current employer. If you’ve won awards, reached goals or made your firm money, let the employer know.

Educational accomplishments. List your degree(s) with the grade you achieved if it is a 1st or 2.1 classification, relevant course work, thesis or dissertation, specialised training or professional qualifications such as CIM which are favoured by most firms. Be sure to mention any special honours, scholarships, or awards you may have received.

Specific examples of success. You should definitely include anything in your past that might distinguish you as a leader or achiever for example: increasing pitch win rates or bringing in revenue; saving money by reducing costs, negotiating with suppliers (PR, design agencies or venues and catering suppliers for events); saving time by effectively implementing a new CRM system which provided a more targeted approach leading to new clients and increased revenue.

Additional skills. These might include computer software experience especially where relevant to the firm that you are applying to, for example CRM systems (Interaction, Apex, Hubbard One), specialised training or language skills.

Professional memberships that carry weight in your field. If you are a member of a relevant professional body, let the employer know.

Personal achievements. In a competitive market, employers are always on the lookout for traits that distinguish one candidate from another. Not long ago, I worked with a business development professional who mentioned the fact that he had successfully completed the London marathon three times on his CV. It came as no surprise that several employers warmed up to his CV immediately and wanted to interview him. These personal achievements can give an employer a real sense of someone’s drive, determination and commitment which could be seen as desirable personal traits for an employee.

Presenting a range of achievements – professional, educational and personal – will help your CV stand out from the crowd, so think carefully about the information that you could include and what might interest a potential employer.

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