17 May 2 Rules for writing your Executive CV
2 rules for putting your Executive CV together
1. The Ten Second Rule
It’s not uncommon for the recruiter to take no more than 10 seconds to look over your CV. Generally your audiences at the senior executive level are very busy people who will be skimming and looking for specific things in order to evaluate whether you are right or not right for an initial screening or interview process. Think, does your CV pack a punch within 10 seconds…
2. All About the Audience
You’ve got to make sure your document appeals to a broad & varied audience. Before it reaches the Board, CEO or MD it may be reviewed by other team members prior, so make sure that your CV is broad and wide reaching in its appeal.
Keep it simple and keep it clear; simplicity is just as important as clarity.
At the top…
You should have your Name, Contact Details, Location
Rather than having a huge education section, just put the letters after your name if you have any academic qualifications at the top of the CV, and have a separate smaller education section at the end of the CV. Thinking back to the Ten Second Rule, the image you need to keep in mind is that if the first page of your CV was to blow down the street and a perspective employer was to pick up that page, they should be able to tell from that page alone what your career is all about.
The first page should stand up on its own while the other pages are supplementing information that builds out more detail around it. A good idea is to add a hyperlink to your LinkedIn profile. Make sure your Linkedin profile matches the information you are putting in your CV – job roles and dates etc. all line up.
Also did you know a number of search algorithms used by recruitment databases will use location as a key factor in the people that they select to approach about opportunities? However at MA Executive we offer a personable service, and our director will look through your CV and will match any employment opportunities to your credentials.
Career Objective/Mission Statement/Summary
The next section is where a lot of experienced people who’ve achieved a lot start to go wrong. Senior executives tend to have a huge, cumbersome personal profile section, which is a whole bunch of text that takes up at least a third to half of the first page talking about them, who they are, and what they’re about.
It tends to be a little generic… I’m a dynamic leader, proven executive, seasoned professional… whatever cliché you want to use, clients and decision-makers do not tend to read those.
This results in your best qualities not being picked up because it’s lost in the mire of all that text. So rather than a block of text, distill your personal profile down to either a career objective or a career mission. It could be something as simple as “career objective is to use proven commercial leadership ability to add value to a forward-thinking organisation”. It’s a statement of intent, it’s punchy and it shows a really good focus.
Once you’ve established your mission or objective at the top of your CV, next you need to pull out six to eight key career achievements. These are the six to eight things that you’re most proud of and that you’d want a prospective employer to see first if they were considering your application.
Make them really compelling; a lot of people who have career achievements are lost on page three or four, which could be really good, but are never seen. You want to be hitting people early with what you’ve done, what you’ve achieved, and what you’re proud of, to get some positivity and momentum going in the mind of the person that’s looking through this document.
Coming back to the second rule of broad audience, the next section to include is six to eight technical and behavioural competencies. Bear in mind that a lot of people reviewing these CVs will actually have a job description with a list of Competencies they’ll be looking to marry up. By listing your key competencies in this way you’re making it very easy for them to select you as a preferential candidate. The types of things here would be stakeholder management, influencing, leadership, adaptability, and more technical things if you’re in a more technical field.
Career History Summary
You now need to create a structure for your Career History or Career Journey
Bullet points of key achievements etc
(Repeat this step for each company, if you have had multiple jobs at the same company, follow the same format but just make it clear the dates you were under that specific role)
You then simply list out the companies you’ve worked for, what roles you’ve had with those companies, and the dates you were there. The reason why you’re doing this is because it gives people a really quick, easy snapshot in terms of your career journey, how quickly you’ve progressed, the sort of tenure that you’ve shown in roles, and also serves as an index to the rest of the CV document.
The Rest of Your CV
Without a doubt the quality and clarity of the first page of your CV will be a key factor in determining whether you are going to be the right kind of person for a role. Beyond the first page have these sections:
It’s good practice to include your full list of qualifications, certifications and membership of any societies on your CV too. For senior executive positions, educational background is never as important as experience and expertise but it is still worth including this section.
It’s good to include some short personal information about yourself on your CV. Often hiring managers will take a quick look at this section to see what kind of person you are and what your passions are in life. It’s also a good way for a hiring manager to spark up a casual conversation so make sure you’re able to expand on anything you put down!
So now you should be on your way to having a CV Where somebody looking at it will get a really good feel for how driven you are, and how objective your mission is. You’re hitting them with achievements which are good and they’ll be feeling very positive about you. You’ve got all the Competencies they are looking for, and your document is optimised to give you the best chance and people will have a really good feel from you in one page of your career journey today.