As any executive who has had to write a CV will tell you, an executive-level CV requires more work than any previous CVs you have written. You have to demonstrate reflective thinking and plan strategically, all of which requires you to put in extra time and effort. But it will pay off. So just how do you give your executive-level CV the edge? We have five ways for you.
1. Update your CV
Just because you keep on climbing the ladder, it doesn’t mean that you should simply add your most recent job to your experience and keep the rest the same.
Firstly, CV fashions change, and yours should reflect the format recruiters currently desire.
Secondly, your skills and experience will have changed drastically over the course of your career to date. Relying on the ones that you listed when you first started out will make you look unqualified and inexperienced. Not the look you’re going for when you’re in the C suite.
Here are some tips for updating your CV and showing prospective employers why you’re so great:
- List your current skills only, remove anything that isn’t relevant nor immediately demonstrate that you’re an executive.
- Format your CV to modern requirements.
- Lots of short, pithy sentences.
- Bullet point key statements.
- Open with a personal statement.
- Keep it to two pages of A4 maximum.
- Break up any serious walls of text.
- Remove any experience that doesn’t show how you got to where you are now, e.g. your first job out of university, or that temp job you did that summer.
- Submit your CV in PDF format so that no matter who opens it using whatever program they use, it will not distort and become unreadable.
2. Show don’t tell
Telling the recruiter what you have done over the course of your career, or even just in your last job, will make you look like amateur hour. Don’t simply tell them what you did; that doesn’t help them decide if you’re suitable for the role and what value you will bring to the team and the company.
Instead, show prospective employers what you did. Everyone understands numbers; not everyone understands technical, role-specific jargon, therefore inject figures to support your claims and achievements:
- If you did something that increased sales by X%, say that.
- If you found a new way to bring in Y new clients, shout about it.
- If you discovered ways to cut costs in one area which resulted in a boost in profits somewhere else, let them know.
Recruiters ultimately want to know that you will up the company’s game. So, let them know how capable you are of doing just that.
3. Connect your CV to your LinkedIn profile
Don’t have a LinkedIn profile? Get one. And fill it out thoroughly to showcase your experience and abilities.
Most of the time, you will have to submit your CV electronically, so use that to your advantage and include a link to your online profile. Whilst your CV will contain all the pertinent information that the recruiter is seeking, your LinkedIn profile will show:
- How active you are in networking, connecting with people in the industry (recruiters want to see that you are genuinely interested in the industry and are doing research outside of applications to get a better understanding of it).
- A little more information about you than your CV can offer.
4. Tailor your CV to each job application
By this stage, you should not only be demonstrating your industry experience and transferable key skills to recruiters but also letting them know that you are the ideal candidate for their job opening because you have the required experience and key skills that the job calls for.
This is easy to achieve. Simply take some time and make sure you tailor your CV to each and every job application that you submit. It will be worth it.
5. Think strategically
You may be competing against a lot of other candidates for this job, so think about how you got to where you are today. You are unique; your experience is unique, what you can bring to the job will be unique. Make sure your CV accurately reflects this.
Recruiters don’t want to read a generic CV that is the same as the next candidate’s. They want to easily understand what sets you apart; what value you will bring. So, take some time to reflect on your work history and draw out the pertinent points. Position your unique selling points upfront in your CV and then quantify them later on. Set yourself apart from the competition early.