This is opening pandora’s box isn’t it! I have candidates who tell me the advice I gave them for their CV, well they were told by other recruiters to NOT do that. Ok then – test this – give your CV to a friend who does not have the same specialised skillset as yourself (and not your mum – they will always say its lovely!). If that friend cannot understand WHAT you do in your job and WHAT the project was about, or WHAT the outcome was, or WHAT the benefit was – then you are missing more detailed information in your CV.
I am only going on feedback from clients who hire Change Management professionals. I am sure that Digital Marketers and Data Analysts have very different CV content and ways to present their CV. My “get out of jail free card” is that this information is for Organisational Change Managers who want to get a better hit rate from a client and hopefully get to an interview.
The key is the right information. Not lots of words that tell me nothing. Don’t have an opening paragraph where all you talk about is your soft skills – how you are bubbly, a people person, love taking people on a journey and have good stakeholder management skills. I would be worried if a Change Manager had bad stakeholder management skills but I can delve further into softer skills at interview. A CV is getting information across so a client can see WHAT you have done.
Length of CV – I personally do not like one pagers. It tells me nothing. My preference as a recruiter is more detail (but also not one page per project thanks). I like to know what type of change was involved, how many stakeholders impacted, what were the risks/issues, what your role was there to do and what was the outcome from the work you did. 5- 7 page CV is ok. List current role down to last 7 years in more detail. After that a line for timeframe, company and title is fine. There is a time and place for a one pager of course – part of a tender for a consulting piece of work for example. But I’m not a consultancy so these comments are directed at those applying for permanent or fixed term or daily rate work. Not Consulting work. (Another caveat – I”m getting good at these!)
Also I don’t mind a bit of white space between your projects. Enables me to read easily and differentiate straight away where a role starts.
I like to see if you have managed a team on each project (how many people and types of functions eg: Change Managers, Change Analysts, Trainer, Communication Manager etc).
Give size to the program or project of work. How many stakeholders would be impacted? Internal/External?
Are there measurements you can draw upon (ensuring they are clear and quantitative measurements), ROI is a good one of course (if possible), and what was outcome (you were able to show benefit to the business of the change) etc.
Think about the STAR technique that you use in your interviews. Situation, Task, Action, Result. STAR is not just an interview tip technique but also serves people well in their CV too with getting across the right information.
- S – What was the project about (why did they need the project to go ahead eg: the why for change)
- T – What were you there to do
- A – What were your responsibilities (don’t cut and paste your job description)
- R – What was the outcome (your achievements – paragraph or two or three of what you successfully delivered – if change measurable then what was outcome etc)
Just a few pointers that may help. And if you find you are getting knocked back continuously (eg: apply for 200 roles and not get one interview), spend some money to talk to a career counsellor. Perhaps you are applying for the wrong type of roles? But that is a whole other can of worms. I’m closing this Pandora’s box now!