Your CV Summary for Job Search

Your CV Summary for Job Search

CV summary – you would be surprised how many CVs I see that do not include a short personal profile at the top of the first page. Instead they plunge straight into the work history giving the reader not a clue about the person doing the work.These kinds of CV are much less likely to catch a recruiter/future employer’s eye.

So what should you include in your short summary?

Your personal profile should summarise your;
• Skills and qualities
• Work background and achievements
• Career aims.

It should only be a few lines and must grab the reader’s attention. Try to avoid using terms that a lot of candidates will use, such as ‘reliable’, ‘hard working’, ‘team player’, ‘good communication skills’ etc. These general terms are heard so often they don’t help an employer to build up a real picture of you.

Instead, for example, if the job involves working with people, try to highlight relevant, specific people skills such as: negotiating, dealing with demanding customers, presentation skills, resolving conflict, or showing empathy. These help the reader build up more of a picture than saying you’re a good team-worker and an effective communicator. However, be brief – you can highlight examples of your skills in later sections.

Include keywords relevant to the kind of work you seek or are applying for. (When someone uses a search engine, they type in one or more words describing what they are looking for; eg ‘Facilities Manager’ or ‘Corporate Real Estate”. These words or phrases are known as keywords.) Many recruitment companies make use of software to sift job applications based on a keyword search.

When you’re summarising your career aims, think about the employer you are sending your CV to. It will hit home with employers if your career aims sound exactly like the kind of opportunities they currently have or are likely to provide in future.

Try to relate your summary to the job description or, if you’re sending your CV on spec, what you think the employer is looking for.

I wish all those starting out on, or a continuing, a job search this week every success and if I can help, please get in touch.

Remember I offer a trial free half hour coaching session by phone or Skype.

Warm regards

Wendy
wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com
http://wisewolfcoaching.com

  • Job Search – Please Write Those Important STAR Stories
  • Career Development: When it is time for a change!
  • Career Development: When You Have to Reapply For Your Own Job

Job Search: Make sure you include your personal profile/summary in your CV

Job Search: Make sure you include your personal profile/summary in your CV

You would be surprised how many CVs I see that do not include a short personal profile at the top of the first page. Instead they plunge straight into the work history giving the reader not a clue about the person doing the work.These kinds of CV are much less likely to catch a recruiter/future employer’s eye.

So what should you include in your short summary?

Your personal profile should summarise your;
• Skills and qualities
• Work background and achievements
• Career aims.

It should only be a few lines and must grab the reader’s attention. Try to avoid using terms that a lot of candidates will use, such as ‘reliable’, ‘hard working’, ‘team player’, ‘good communication skills’ etc. These general terms are heard so often they don’t help an employer to build up a real picture of you.

Instead, for example, if the job involves working with people, try to highlight relevant, specific people skills such as: negotiating, dealing with demanding customers, presentation skills, resolving conflict, or showing empathy. These help the reader build up more of a picture than saying you’re a good team-worker and an effective communicator. However, be brief – you can highlight examples of your skills in later sections.

Include keywords relevant to the kind of work you seek or are applying for. (When someone uses a search engine, they type in one or more words describing what they are looking for; eg ‘Facilities Manager’ or ‘Corporate Real Estate”. These words or phrases are known as keywords.) Many recruitment companies make use of software to sift job applications based on a keyword search.

When you’re summarising your career aims, think about the employer you are sending your CV to. It will hit home with employers if your career aims sound exactly like the kind of opportunities they currently have or are likely to provide in future.

Try to relate your summary to the job description or, if you’re sending your CV on spec, what you think the employer is looking for.

I wish all those starting out on, or a continuing, a job search this week every success and if I can help, please get in touch.

Remember I offer a trial free half hour coaching session by phone or Skype.

Warm regards

Wendy
wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com
http://wisewolfcoaching.com

  • Job Search – Please Write Those Important STAR Stories
  • Career Development: When it is time for a change!
  • Career Development: When You Have to Reapply For Your Own Job

Writing your CV! Part 3 Pondering on CVs; language,confidentiality, competencies and referees!

This post is concerned with the particular issues faced by those moving between public and private sectors when completing their CV.

I’m going to comment on language, confidentiality, competencies and references.

Language

A recent post here set out the reasons why public sector jargon needs to be avoided in CVs and job interviews.  Keep your language clear and simple.  When in doubt ask a non-public sector friend to read it and give you honest advice on clarity.

Confidentiality

Some public sector staff work in areas where the issues of confidentiality are real and significant.  But in all honesty most do not!  If you do, there will be clear guidance available.  You should consult your HR department about what you can say and how best to overcome the barriers to you getting a new role.

Most public sector staff do not work under the same restrictions.  The reality is that you can record on your CV the kind of work you have been doing.  Of course you should avoid information; under a security classification, relating to an individual member of the public or a fellow staff member, likely to embarrass the organisation or  Government Minister for which you have worked.

Most people will be able to describe their work in sufficient detail for a CV.  But see the comments made in the next section about how you do it.

Competencies

In my last post I included a list of skills and personal qualities (competencies) that employers are likely to look for. The list was by no means an exhaustive.

When you complete your employment history, try to show how your approach and your achievements demonstrate the competencies you quote.

For example, putting together a team and then driving through an initiative to improve the service to customers while reducing costs illustrates a number of competencies.  It can be understood quite easily by those outside the public sector.

Experience of project and programme management again can be understood outside the public sector and can be used to illustrate planning, organizing and delivering benefits when applying for roles in small to medium-sized organizations that do not have large projects for you to manage.

Those who have worked very close to Ministers managing legislation have had to use planning and organizing skills.  They are also likely to have demonstrated tact and discretion. If you have worked in difficult and sensitive areas  including policy discussions with Ministers (where influencing skills, relationship management, tact and discretion were needed, as well as the ability to be flexible and adaptable) this should be included but with discretion.

Think in terms of the competencies as you write descriptions of the work you have done.  Think in terms of organisations, tasks, problems solved and people influenced.  Describe the tasks you have completed in terms that others will understand and focus on what you delivered and how you delivered.

References

Some government departments will only offer bland references as your employer.  You will need their reference.   But it may only be a confirmation that you worked for them in a particular grade over a particular period of time.

Most large private sector employers know this – for others you may have to explain.  But you will need something more.  Try asking your line manager or someone in your management line if they would be prepared to give you a personal reference.   Also consider approaching retired senior colleagues and others who have left organisation.

It helps as well if you can provide a personal referee who holds a senior position in the private sector.  This is where people you have met during work in a voluntary capacity may be useful. Otherwise, consider people who you have met through clubs and associations.

You shouldn’t feel embarrassed about asking for a reference, most people feel flattered to be asked But you should always give people the opportunity to say no and make quite clear that you will understand if they feel they simply don’t know you well enough to help.

I would welcome your thoughts on all this and I am very happy to answer questions.

  • Writing your CV! Part 1 The Basics (leavingthepublicsector.net)
  • Writing your CV! Part 2 Making Choices (leavingthepublicsector.net)
  • Watch your language – it’s a different world out there! (leavingthepublicsector.net)
Wendy Mason works as a consultant, business coach and blogger. Adept at problem solving, she is a great person to bring in when that one thing you thought was straightforward turns out not to be! If you have a problem talk to Wendy – she can help you – email her awendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com or ring ++44(0)7867681439

Writing your CV! Part 2 Making Choices

Curriculum Vitae
  

In my last post I suggested that the following information should be in your CV:

  1. Contact details – name, address, post code, telephone number, e-mail address
  2. A short summary with Keywords for recruiters
  3. Skills and personal qualities (Competencies)
  4. Employment history and experience
  5. Qualifications, professional memberships and achievements
  6. Education and training
  7. Any special skills e.g. driving licence
  8. Interests and hobbies if relevant
  9. Referees

I mentioned as well that there are different styles of CVs.

  • A ‘traditional’ CV that lists everything in date order starting with your education and qualifications, followed by your employment history, interests etc.
  • A ‘more ‘informal’ CV starts that starts with a pen picture of yourself which highlights your skills and experience relevant to the job.
  • Variations and combinations of the two above

Here I’m going to provide you with some advice to help you complete 1 to 9 above

1. Your contact details, name address etc should be simple to complete but have a care on your email address.  This is the time for a simple and straightforward email address – not for a the jokey one that includes your nickname

2. Your summary is an opportunity to show an employer what you will bring to their organization in terms of your key expertise and transferable skills.  It should show how you will make a positive difference to their success. This is a part of your CV that should change in response to the requirements of each particular role.

Begin with previous experience but do not supply too much detail. You can have an intro along the lines of: “With 5 years experience in customer management…”. Only if it is very relevant to this particular job application be exact here – details will come later.

Use key words to focus the reader’s attention on the key skills that you want to highlight: for example, “multi-disciplinary team leadership”. This will put emphasis on more reasons why you may well be the candidate for the job.

When you have established an outline of your background and your skills it is time to look at the future.  You can state what you’re looking for and where you would like to go.  Alter your goals here marginally depending upon the job you’re applying for; for example, “seeking to further develop my career in the field of project management”.

3.” Skills and personal qualities” are usually a list and the kinds of skills that employers look for include

  • Leadership and management
  • Effective communication
  • Problem-solving and Decision Making
  • Creativity
  • Customer Focus
  • Interpersonal abilities
  • Influencing and persuading others
  • Teamwork
  • Planning and organizing
  • Computer literacy 

Highly regarded personal qualities include

  • Adaptability and flexibility
  • Professionalism and work ethic 
  • Positive attitude and energy

If you can make a claim to these qualities – it is reasonable to include them here!  Add any others you think may be relevant.

4. In describing your employment history, concentrate very much on the last ten years and what you have delivered.  This is where you draw on your STAR stories.  For each element include your job title and how long you were employed in the role, then set out briefly;

  • Situation – Describe the situation/problem you were faced with
  • Task – what did you have to do?
  • Action – what action did you take and why.
  • Results – highlight the outcome

Experience previous to the last ten years should be very much summarized unless it is directly relevant to the role but do not ignore key successes.

5. When setting out your qualifications and achievements include most prominently what is most relevant.

6. On qualifications etc, again go for what is most relevant

7. On special skills, stay with what is relevant and here you could add information from your STAR stories that relate to voluntary activities.

8. I would advise avoiding adding hobbies and interests unless they are directly relevant to the role.

9.. I don’t include the details of referees unless they have been asked for.  But I do add a note to say that they are available and can be supplied on request.  When you do provide contact details for referees remember to warn them to expect an enquiry.

I would welcome your thoughts and I am very happy to answer your questions, if I can.  My next post will discuss particular issues for those moving between public and private sectors when completing their CVs

Related articles
  • Writing your CV! Part 1 The Basics (leavingthepublicsector.net)
  • Reading between the lines – what a CV can reveal about a job applicant(premierlinedirect.co.uk)
  • >Transferable Skills (leavingthepublicsector.net)

Wendy Mason works as a consultant, business coach and blogger. Adept at problem solving, she is a great person to bring in when that one thing you thought was straightforward turns out not to be! If you have a problem talk to Wendy – she can help you – email her awendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com or ring ++44(0)7867681439

Writing your CV! Part 1 The Basics

Curriculum Vitae

First of all ‘CV’ stands for ‘Curriculum Vitae’ which means ‘story of your life’!  But in this context it means a brief written account of your career so far. The intention is to sum up all the basic information that an employer needs to know in one short and easy-to-read document.

Once you have written a basic CV you can then make as many copies as you like and send them to anyone you wish.  But more importabtly you can then adapt this basic template to meet the needs of any particular job advert. You can send a copy of your CV when you’re applying for a specific job vacancy or when you’re just writing ‘on the off-chance’.

What information should be in a CV?

  • Contact details – name, address, post code, telephone number, e-mail address
  • A short summary with Keywords for recruiters
  • Skills and personal qualities (Competencies)
  • Employment history and experience
  • Qualifications, professional memberships and achievements
  • Education and training
  • Any special skills e.g. driving licence
  • Interests and hobbies if relevant
  • Referees

The order may vary depending on the opportunity you are applying for.

There are different ‘styles’ of CV?

  • A ‘traditional’ CV lists everything in date order starting with your education and qualifications, followed by your employment history, interests etc.
  • A ‘more ‘informal’ CV starts that starts with a pen picture of yourself which highlights your skills and experience relevant to the job.
  • Variations and combinations of the two above

The more informal CV is now fashionable, traditional CVs are more likely to be required for academic institutions etc.

I’ll be writing more about this in my follow up posts.  But I’d welcome your thoughts on writing CVs and your questions.

  • Wendy worries about Dave, replies to his latest letter and promises new posts on CV writing. (leavingthepublicsector.net)
  • Gaps on CVs – what do they mean? (emeraldstarfish.wordpress.com)
  • Some Basics – How to write a good CV (ewaslawinska.com)
Wendy Mason is used to working with people moving out of the Public Sector! She is a performance, programme, contract management and change specialist. She works as a consultant, business coach and blogger.  Adept at problem solving, she is a great person to bring in when you are going through personal change. You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com or ring ++44(0)7867681439.
You can find her business blog at http://wisewolftalking.com/

Wendy worries about Dave, replies to his latest letter and promises new posts on CV writing.

Woman writing a letter.

Wendy is a bit worried about Dave, particularly his reluctance to network.  She hopes that her recent posts have encouraged him to give it a try.

She isn’t surprised that Dave is feeling a bit depressed and that things are difficult with his wife. Being made redundant is stressful for the individual concerned and those around them.

Life changes for the partner or spouse too and this can take a toll.  It helps if you can talk about this together. And sometimes you may need outside help from a counsellor.

Keep an eye on how things are developing between you and if they are getting worse have the courage to ask for help!  Much better that than to lose the relationship. 

Dear Dave

Thanks for your last letter.

I hope that my recent posts have encouraged you to try networking.  I’m sure it really will help in your search for the right kind of work.  I’ll be very  interested to hear how you are getting on.

In my next couple of posts I’m going to concentrate on CVs and how you can use the work you have done on your STAR stories to show your competencies.

Yes, I do think potential employers will be interested in both your Civil Service jobs and the voluntary work you have done.  But it is up to you to work out how to explain what you have done in a way that shows other people what you have delivered.  Potential employers want to see evidence that you can deliver what they need. I’ll help you with this!

That is one of the reasons why you need to establish your own CV template that you can then adapt to each job application.  If you read the adverts carefully you will usually find each advertiser is looking for something a little different.  If it isn’t obvious from the advert then it may be when you do your home work. 

If you are serious about your application, it is worth finding out more about each organization you are applying to be part of.  You should be able to find out quite a lot using the internet.  Then work out what extras you may be able to offer in terms of your particular experience.  As I say above this needn’t just be related to paid work.

Anyway, when you have read my next couple of posts, I hope you have a go at producing the first version of you CV.  I’ll be very pleased to review it for you.

 Mean while, if you have any further questions please get in touch.  

As I’ve said before, if there are other things you would like me to write about here please let me know

With very best wishes

Wendy

Related Posts

  • >The Latest Letter from Dave and we have a dilemma – to network or not to networK? (leavingthepublicsector.net)
  • >Transferable Skills (leavingthepublicsector.net)
  • Job Search and the Internet – Using Social Media to Network (leavingthepublicsector.net)
Wendy Mason is used to working with people moving out of the Public Sector! She is a performance, programme, contract management and change specialist. She works as a consultant, business coach and blogger.  Adept at problem solving, she is a great person to bring in when that one thing you thought was straightforward turns out not to be! If you have a problem talk to Wendy – she can help you – email her at wendymason@leavingthepublicsector.net or ring ++44(0)7867681439
You can find her business blog at http://wisewolftalking.com/