As a consultant, the right CV can open plenty of doors for you.
It can help you to secure a place on exciting projects, win client bids, and secure interviews with leading organisations on the job market.
However, a poorly written CV can see you missing out on golden opportunities, and cause significant damage to your career prospects.
Implement the following guidelines to ensure that your CV is working effectively for you.
Any effective communication relies on a deep understanding of its target audience, and your CV is no different. Before you begin writing your CV, you must conduct some thorough research into the roles and clients you will be approaching with it.
It is essential that you understand exactly who you are targeting, and the skillset they are looking for. Whether you are creating a CV for a client bid, or an external job hunt, you need to identify the most sought-after skills and experience for the positions you are hoping to land, otherwise you will simply be using guesswork to populate your CV.
Browse through company websites, relevant job adverts and speak to anybody who may have some insider knowledge on the clients and roles in question. Once you understand what the core requirements are for your target roles, you can build your CV around them to ensure that it generates interest.
If you’ve ever reviewed scores of CVs for a proposal, or recruited for a client project, you’ll know it’s a tiresome job. Nobody has the time or desire to read a seven-page CV filled with details of every project you have ever worked on. Keep your CV under two pages in length to communicate your value without boring readers. Be strict about the information you include in your CV and only include details that are highly relevant to your target roles.
If your CV is coming in too long, cut down on older roles, giving yourself more space to focus on your recent roles. Hiring managers will pay most attention to your work within the last one to three years because this will generally be the best way to assess your current capabilities. Roles from many years ago will not come under much scrutiny, so you can summarise them in just a few lines.
Of course, it’s important to detail your skills, responsibilities and expertise in your CV, but these factors are all meaningless if you don’t show the impact they make. A successful CV needs to tell hiring managers how you apply your skillset to the projects you work on, and how they benefit your clients or stakeholders.
Throughout your CV, you need to demonstrate the effects that your input has, by showing the results that you drive. For example, rather than simply stating that you have risk management responsibilities within your role, you should explain the types of risks you are managing, and show how this benefits the project. Try to find some good example CVs from colleagues or scout around LinkedIn to see working examples of this.
Without seeing any numbers in your CV, it’s very hard for a hiring manager to understand your seniority and benchmark you against other candidates. In your roles especially, you should aim to include plenty of facts and figures to provide a clearer understanding of your work. Important stats include project values, budgets managed and delivery timescales, but there could be many more depending on the nature of your industry and role.
You should also aim to include quantified achievements for your recent roles, to give a real tangible indication of the value you added. If you have driven any cost savings in a project, or delivered months ahead of schedule, these are good values to use.
About the author
Andrew Fennell is a former London recruiter who has recruited across multiple industries, founder of CV writing service StandOut CV and author of How to write a CV. Andrew contributes regular careers advice to sites such as The Guardian, CV Library, Business Insider and Total Jobs.
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