Are you leaking credibility?
My work often involves helping set up a marketing function within organisations that perhaps have never had one, or have never had to recruit for one. So I've met a lot of people and seen a lot of CVs. Just for fun, I’ve mapped my top tips against some of the Watertight Marketing Touchpoint Leaks™. Being a licensed practitioner at Watertight Marketing, ‘leaks’ is a term that comes up time and time again. Have a think about it... your cv could be leaking credibility through poor presentation, so here’s my favourite ways to plug those leaks.
1. What (Leak #12) – Are you absolutely clear about what you are offering?
There’s nothing worse than a cv that’s not been updated or tailored to reflect back the specific application. Don’t produce just one CV and pump it out for every job that you apply for. You need to bespoke it for each application and write it in a way that proves you have understood the application criteria and what it is they’re looking for. Definitely go the extra mile here.
2. No Emotional Connection (Leak #3) - Presentation, presentation, presentation
For me, there’s nothing worse than a poorly laid-out (and written) CV. It literally wipes the smile off my face - especially if you are a marketer. How your CV ‘looks’ and sounds (tone of voice) should make you feel proud and me sit up and look. Because tells me a few things about you:
- You're competent in producing and styling digital documents (computer and presentation skills).
- You care about how you look (you are your brand).
- You want your personality to shine (I’ve got to work with you for years to come).
Also, unless you are completing an online application form, always send me a PDF version of your CV with embedded fonts. There’s nothing worse than a wonky Word document that opens skewif because my settings and fonts are not the same as yours.
How bad does that look?
Keep your design simple. And don’t name your PDF ‘CV’ – Give it a proper logical name with the date, your name, the word ‘cv’ and the job role you are applying for in it.
Another top tip here is always put your name, contact details (and job title) top right. I will have a pile of printed CVs on my desk and I’ll be thumbing through them with my eye always going top right. Put things in your layout where I would expect to find them and be helpful with the information you serve.
And the cardinal sin is typos. There should absolutely definitely none in your document. Get a few people to read it for you before you send it out.
3. Information overload (Leak #7) – Is it worth 5 minutes of my time?
Two pages of A4 is just right for a CV - one page is too thin – more than two and I don’t have time to read it (I’ve got dozens to get through).
Also, if you have been asked to provide a two-page CV, provide a two-page CV. And be mindful that if you send a two page CV in Word and I open it on my computer, my settings are different to yours (margins etc). It might get pushed over to three pages, so now I think you can’t answer a brief. See also point 2 above.
And now on to structure. Put all the ‘generic’ information at the end (education, qauls, interests and hobbies etc) and get the point quickly at the top (your USP). Here’s some headings for my ideal structure:
- SPECIALTIES – Your chance to shine and show-off your best attributes (a sort of elevator pitch).
- EXPERIENCE – Your chance to be more specific about your specialisms and the results you have achieved in the past. Don’t just make it a list of where you have worked.
- SOME PROJECTS/BRANDS I HAVE WORKED WITH – Can be a simple list - include ones that resonate with me - 'look alike' brands.
- CURRENT EXPERIENCE/ PREVIOUS EMPLOYMENT – In reverse chronological order.
- EDUCATION – No need to put your primary school, but do include examples of your technical competency – what computer or presentation skills you have for example!
- MEMBERSHIPS, ASSOCIATIONS and FAVOURITE READS – This demonstrates your interests and possibly how you keep up-to-date/develop personally.
- INTERESTS - I might be working with you for a long time, so it's nice to know a bit about you before we meet. I'm going to look on your social media profiles anyway, so be true to yourself (and tidy up those social media profiles while you're at it).
- REFERENCES - Previous employers are not obliged to give one but at the vey least try and include a testimonial or two. A nice quote. Maybe from a complimentary email you've been sent in the past (with permission).
What makes you different?
As a marketer the term ‘added value’ should mean something to you, so find a way of demonstrating or highlighting the ‘added value’ that would come with employing you. Why you’re the best choice. Even include a supplemented document or proposal here. Again, the extra extra mile.
I could go on and on and map some ideas against the other nine touchpoint leaks as well, but I hope these initial suggestions prove useful. And if you are working with a recruiter to help further your career, getting your CV into shape this way before sending it in to them will certainly help them help you.
Good luck and go for it!
You might also like my article on how your LinkedIn profile can help people make up their mind up about you.
Regular readers of my posts will know that I am a Watertight Marketing Accredited Consultant. This means I one of the licensed consultants in currently the first of its kind in the UK. Find out more about Watertight Marketing here, or even download chapter one of the award-winning book of the same name. A must read for any marketing professional. techniques).
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