The single most important part of your CV is the content contained within your career history section; this information should pertain to your actual achievements that serve to highlight why you should actually be a contender for the position in question.
Outlining your achievements
It is not just about listing your responsibilities. If the person who takes up your job when you leave could write the same things in this section then you haven’t put the right information in. It should be about your achievements while you were in the post.
Content must be relevant. If your current role consists of 75% operational management and 25% commercial management and the role you are going for is a commercially focused role then you need to give more space highlighting the more relevant part of your experience, even if it is the lesser part of your current role. That applies to your career as well, not just each specific role.
3 approaches to populating your CV
Google the jobs you want to go for. You will find hundreds of job descriptions and adverts out there which will give you content that can be transferred into your CV and add the specifics of your own experience around this to give it credibility.
Take your own job description and wrap your achievements around the generic responsibilities listed to give it your unique stamp. Remember achievements do not need to be ‘top sales person of the year’ they can be improvements made in a systems, performing a task in a particular context, i.e. cost reduction during recent recession or projects you have undertaken.
If you do not have a job description, try making a job diary. Have a sheet on your desk and ask yourself what takes up your time over the course of a week or month? Managing people, working on a project, dealing with customer etc.
Finally the easiest method to employ, when you have an active opportunity, is to lift the content of the job advertisement or description and drop it straight into your CV and then again, wrap your own figures and achievements around these.
When you are writing your achievements, do include a few words about each. Try and avoid rambling about experiences/achievements everyone applying for the job will have had. Making them unique, interesting, and of course relevant to the position for which you are applying. This will make your CV stand out from the rest.
An effective way to structure each point would be to use the P.A.R. Method – Problem, Action, Result. Briefly say what the Problem, issue or project was, the Actions taken and how you contributed to this stage, and then summarising the Result or outcome of your actions.
Finally…remember to use active verbs in your list and avoid repetition. Words such as managed, reconciled, secured, implemented etc will serve to make your CV more dynamic. They will give your CV more personality and give the reader an opportunity to see ‘you’ in your CV rather than just more words on more paper.