Katie, an entrepreneur since the age of 14, decided during her senior year of college to make some firm plans, post-graduation. She took on an extra internship, participated in extracurricular activities to expand her network, and strived to make connections at job fairs. She also revised, rewrote, and continuously edited her CV.
This CV secured interviews for her at Google, BuzzFeed, Oscar, and nearly two dozen other top startups.
This CV also landed her interviews for full-time jobs at a huge government contractor, a major political campaign, and a billion-dollar foundation.
People often have the idea that crafting a CV is a pretty simple procedure. Jot down your work experience, education, a little blurb about you, a couple of hobbies and save it into a Word Document. Katie suggests you think of your CV as an outline for the job interview of your dreams. How do you want to impress them? What questions do you want them to ask you? What would you like to highlight, and what would you like to avoid bringing up? Assume that they have no other information about you besides this document. Is it compelling?
Here are her suggestions for creating the perfect CV:
Aim for clarity. Keep the text simple and don’t clutter up the CV with unnecessary text. Eliminate everything except the essentials and edit ruthlessly – For every line, ask yourself: Will this improve how the company sees me?
Be concise. Try and keep your CV to one page only. Divide this up clearly into 3-4 sub sections for any given section and no more than three bullets per sub-section — two is often plenty. Aim to keep each bullet to one line — this forces you to focus on the primary point you want to get across.
Emphasize results first, then skills. For example, this is one the bullets she included on her CV: “Increased Facebook following by 40% and total Facebook reach by 60%” instead of “Ran company’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.” When possible, share accurate, actual numbers. If you want to emphasize your skills or methods, you should still front-load the impact: “Increased site traffic and conversion KPIs with targeted SEO strategies” instead of “Used SEO strategies to boost site traffic.” Companies hire candidates with a proven track record and who will give them results.
Add a projects section. Community involvement, classes, blogging – these are all projects that you can highlight too. For example, for a marketing class in college, she recommended branding changes to a non-profit, they implemented these and still use them today — that’s a great achievement! Add that kind of thing as a project.
Lead them to other sources of information about you. It’s impossible to condense everything about you onto one sheet of paper. Direct them to other sources online to find out more information such as links to online writing portfolios, a personal website, LinkedIn profile, Twitter handle, Instagram account, or blog. Try to ensure this is appropriate for your specific industry.
Get rid of your oldest work experiences (probably). If you have more than three previous places of employment, consider dropping a couple of them. Add the ones that bring true value to your CV. Even if you don’t have a lot of professional experience, you may still consider excluding less impressive points. Remember that this is an outline for your dream interview – highlight the good stuff!
Include something weird. Perhaps you have a YouTube channel about baking or you enjoy teaching kids how to dress and act like Harry Potter, consider adding this quirky “extra” that demonstrates positive attributes like entrepreneurship, imagination, or an ability to thrive under pressure.
Tailor it to each employer. Spend a few minutes tailoring your CV – if your CV is well laid out into sections then this shouldn’t take too long. Keep a document of pre-created bullet points that you can swap in and out for each position you apply for. This is especially useful if you’re applying to jobs in more than one field or for more than one type of role.
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