Preparing A Compelling CV

CV writing

Who are YOU?

Presenting yourself with a compelling and accurate CV.

With so much organisational change in New Zealand, many of you are likely to be applying for new roles. Here are some keys to presenting yourself well. 

Presenting a compelling letter and a powerful CV is likely to see you being shortlisted for an interview. 

Three silver bullets:

  1. Keep your letter of application to one page. Include why you want the role and what you would bring to it.
  2. Avoid repeating information from your CV.
  3. The interviewers may not have read your CV. They want to get to know YOU, the experience you bring, and your approach to the role if you were to be appointed.

Ensure purposeful conversations with the interviewers

By responding to and engaging with the interviewers, they will get to know you, and see how well you conduct yourself in stressful situations – yes, the interview. Many factors are involved in being appointed. How well you project yourself into the role is one. More on that later.

What is in a powerful CV?

A CV is literally ‘the course of your life’, and includes your employment history, your successes, and achievements. It includes some personal information such as your capabilities, skills, and attributes.

Compelling CVs are tailored for each position. While CV’s in Britain are brief, academic CVs are likely to be lengthy and include details of publications. 

Currently, in the public sector, a CV would be up to 6 pages long and include:

  • A cover page with your name and qualifications
  • One page with key attributes and capabilities written in the third person
  • Your employment history with 4 – 5 success and achievements in each major role (up to 3 pages)
  • One page including education and leadership training, interests, referees names and contact details

Include your phone and email details in a footer.

Be the jazz trumpeter – four rules for writing successes and achievements:

1. Begin each achievement with a verb: established, implemented, led, produced, created

2. Describe the activity

3. Use another verb e.g. enabling, assisting, resulting in, identifying savings of, ensuring…

4. Then add the outcomes achieved

Here’s an example:

1. Initiated and led

2. the streamlining and automating HR processes

3. enabling

4. speedier recruitment and appointments, managers having immediately accessible online leave reporting; and significantly reduced operating costs.

Identify 5 – 6 of these for each role you have had. Readers would want to gain a sense of your capacities as an empathetic change agent, accomplished leader, innovator, and for your capacities for financial prudence.

Guidelines for the interview:

  • Greet the interviewers when you enter the room.
  • Respond to questions, rather than giving the ‘right’ answer.
  • Project yourself into the role, with ‘what you would see me doing is…’ or, ‘I would approach that by…”
  • Know why you want this role and what you can contribute.
  • Be prepared to describe your leadership practice simply (how you build teams, change the culture, increase engagement, manage performance, and collaborate with peers) when asked questions like, “How would you go about…?”
  • Use ‘I’, rather than ‘we’ in your responses. You are being interviewed, not the team you lead.
  • Relate to the interviewers as peers – yes you want this role, and yes they hold the decision. When you are appointed, you are likely to be peers, so act as a peer now.
  • After the interview, have a coffee and debrief with a valued colleague or friend. Discuss how you went and reflect on your experience of the interview.

Increase your chances of being shortlisted, contact me to assist you in updating your CV, and prepare for interviews.

© Diana Jones

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