Today I thought I would share a few of my favourite writing tactics I have used when helping people create a Personal Profile for their CV. I have been a CV Writer a good few years and even before I got into that I was helping my candidates write much better CVs as a recruiter. I have always believed that CV Writing is not just a skill you learn as a young adult, but it should be a skill you continuously try to improve no matter how senior or experienced in your role you become. Afterall if you have to search for a new role then your CV is going to play a vital role in the process and you’ll need to apply top grade writing skills in order to compete against other candidates who vying for the same opportunity as you are. Make no mistake about it, when you are searching for a new role you are absolutely competing against other people to win that interview and obtain that job offer.
Does your CV get responses? Is it getting noticed?
One of the many concerns I have often heard regarding a persons CV is that it is not getting the responses desired. Similarly, they will post their CV on a job board and it will initially receive a few responses (some with a relevant vacancy but some not) but then the responses will soon stop. Likewise, this has often happened with recruitment agencies as well.
Let’s change that today. Here is the 1st of my 4 favourite CV writing tactics to help you make an impacting first impression.
Before we go into that (and since this is the 1st of my 4 part series) a quick overview of the basics needed when writing a CV Personal Profile:
What is a Personal Profile?
A Personal Profile is a brief summary of the very best bits about you and your career. Your CV’s Profile section (also called the opening statement, personal profile, or professional summary) will be the very first thing the reader will analyse. This is where the reader can quickly learn about you so it’s key to grab their attention by positioning yourself as a top calibre candidate (and you are definitely a top calibre candidate and it’s important that you believe that about yourself!). When writing your Personal Profile I believe it is best to write this section last because then you will be able to easily summarise all the other information you have already written in your CV.
The Structure of your CV Profile:
These aren’t strict rules but they are good practice to follow:
- 5-6 lines max!
- Font size should be either 10 or 11 depending on the font you use. I recommend the default Word font called Calibri at size 11
- Writing in 3rd person is often preferred but not essential (this will depend on your industry – however, I will say that most CVs I read today are written in 1st person narrative)
Typical Layout and Information you should include in your CV Personal Profile:
Again, not strict by any means but I think the following information would be good to include, written out in the order below (you don’t need to include all of these):
- Your current role and whether it’s a global or national position
- Total number of years experience working in either your particular industry or the particular role you have been doing
- The industry you work in (particularly if you’re a specialist in that industry)
- The top 3 companies you have previously worked for
- Key skills and qualifications
- Biggest Career Achievement
- Your core values
- Your career goals or your next career goal
Personal Profile example:
“Currently working as a Marketing Director with over 25 years’ experience in the sporting goods and retail industry, I have been strategically placed by companies such as Nike, Adidas, and Puma, to lead major marketing projects with values exceeding an average US$40 million, mostly within BRIC markets. As a sales orientated, competitive, and determined marketer, I believe my success has come from my core values in teamwork, integrity, and cultural respect. Some of my biggest achievements include producing
So let’s get into my first CV Personal Profile writing tactic!
#1 Expert by Association
This is a tactic where you align and associating yourself with either experts, leaders, and/or top companies you have worked for or worked with. If you’re allowed to put the names of companies you have worked for in your CV (which will be most people), then consider putting them in your CV Profile like so…
What most people write:
“I am a project manager with over 10 years experience working in the retail industry.”
“I am a Marketing Director with over 25 years’ experience in the sporting goods and retail industry.”
What Expert by Association looks like:
“I am a project manager with over 10 years experience in retail, working for companies such as
or (using our example):
“Currently working as a Marketing Director with over 25 years’ experience in the sporting goods and retail industry, I have been strategically placed by companies such as Nike, Adidas, and Puma”
It’s a subtle change but when the reader of your CV has to comb through many CV’s which are likely to have very similar profiles, adding this brief summary of your previous employers will help you stand out. Plus you’re also stating that you have worked for large global companies which
A Personal Profile is a brief summary of the very best bits about you and your career. Your CV’s Profile section (also called the opening statement, personal profile, or professional summary) will be the very first thing the reader will analyse.