It’s a candidate market right now; as a result, talented people are looking at how they can accelerate their professional journey.
But with promising leadership opportunities so abundant, it’s crucial that your CV stands up under scrutiny and meets today’s best practices.
This guide explains how you as a leader can take your CV from a tell-all list to a marketing tool that increases your chance of securing an interview.
- Use an effective layout
- Choose your language/tone
- Write for your future self
- Tell a captivating story
- Describe impact instead of tasks
- Include numbers as evidence
- Have a suite of CVs
STEP 1: USE AN EFFECTIVE LAYOUT
Perhaps ironically, a well-written CV isn’t just about what you write! How a CV looks matters just as much as how it reads. After all, when a potential employer or the Intuitive Team first casts eyes on your CV, it’s the aesthetics and structure they’ll absorb first and determine where they’ll focus next.
In essence, an effective CV layout quickly highlights your value – and who doesn’t want that?
- Clever psychology suggests that CVs structured in one of these two ways are better at landing interviews. Consider incorporating the techniques.
- We also recommend making good use of space, i.e., starting with a summary statement, keeping older role descriptions brief and adding more detail to your three or four most recent positions.
- Another golden rule is to stick within three pages. Senior executives inevitably have mountains of experience. So take a skills-based CV approach and hone your storytelling to keep things compact.
STEP 2: CHOOSE YOUR LANGUAGE/TONE
We’ve all experienced writer’s block, but it’s so important to think carefully and nail what your CV says. So much of this comes down to the “anchor language” of your CV – the core words that best represent who you are, the value you add aligned to the employer’s priorities.
To find your anchor language, try out a personal branding exercise. We recommend this proven approach. And undertaking a personal branding exercise won’t just help you grasp those elusive words, you’ll come away knowing:
- The true value of your career experience and authentic self
- The strength of your leadership capabilities and style
- Your opportunity for development
- The style and environment in which you work best
STEP 3: WRITE FOR YOUR FUTURE SELF
To attract your desired leadership role and land an interview, write your CV with your future self in mind. In short, position yourself for the position you want, not the position you have.
Now, we aren’t recommending that you get lost in a daydream. Honesty is everything, and you must be able to justify your potential based on what you’ve done in practice. Writing your CV for your future self is more about understanding your transferrable skills and rebranding them to be relevant to the opportunities you’re now seeking.
Start by reflecting on your achievements, skills and responsibilities, and think about how you can curate them to add value to a new position or sector.
- For example, right now, your strong communication helps staff meet deadlines on budget.
- In a more senior role, communication may be more about ensuring continuity during a significant business transition.
STEP 4: TELL A CAPTIVATING STORY
A confident CV is a successful CV. And in our experience, storytelling is a fantastic way to exude confidence and charisma without edging into the egotistical.
Great storytelling draws your reader in, directs their focus, and adds colour to your career story. But, most importantly, it lets your personality shine while keeping things professional. So, when preparing your new CV, consider brushing up on your narrative techniques to showcase better your culture fit and culture add potential.
STEP 5: DESCRIBE IMPACT INSTEAD OF TASKS
When writing a new CV for today’s candidate market, senior leaders must focus on achievements rather than a list of tasks from a job description. Recruiters and hiring managers are interested in the impact you’ve made and the change you’ve driven, and although your strategies will be of note, the big picture is far more compelling.
Please resist the urge to detail bullet points of tasks and consider your evidence and extension of that storytelling we mention above. It helps to get into the “skills-based CV” mindset, whereby qualities and outcomes are emphasised.
Describing impact instead of tasks effectively bridges the gap between your current experience and where you’re heading professionally. Basically, you can still bring relevancy and value to opportunities where direct experience is lacking in responsibility or sector.
Thinking about a new sector? Check out our seven-step preparation plan.
STEP 6: INCLUDE NUMBERS AS EVIDENCE
Being a leader is about making impactful decisions that put a business in a stronger place. So, whether you’re a revenue generator or not, you must think about numbers and metrics that prove your effectiveness. In your new leadership CV:
- Reference percentage and financial improvements in projects you’ve led
- Connect with any associated numerical growth in the wider business
- Explain the holistic impact of your actions
- Feature numbers and metrics throughout your CV to show your commercial and strategic aptitude – don’t just add a “numbers section”
STEP 7: HAVE A SUITE OF CVS
Senior leadership candidates should always have multiple versions of a CV. That’s because after confirming that a potential employer’s Employer Value Proposition aligns with your values, you could find yourself considering a deep pool of opportunities!
Therefore, you’ll need to frame your experiences, skills, and qualities in relation to the demands and expectations of a role. For example, bringing specific skills into the foreground or rebranding your skills for a new field.
Senior leaders must also have a digital mirror of their CV in the shape of a LinkedIn profile. Update your LI profile in tandem with your CV, including a photo refresh.
If these CV writing rules and best practices are new to you – no worries! Arrange a chat with an Intuitive talent consultant to get expert guidance and support. Drop us a message here. We can’t wait to hear more about you.