How to write a great Interim CV

How to write a great Interim CV

Zoe Spalding, Resourcer at Odgers Interim, caught up with our experienced consultants to share their top tips on how to write a successful interim CV that will help candidates stand out from the crowd and boost their interim career 

CV writing is an important skill for every professional. CVs showcase your skills and experience, as well as often influencing both first impressions and recruitment searches, they should be a living and continually updated document. However, interim CVs tend to differ from those of permanent employees, they are often shorter, clearly highlighting the relevant skills and experiences of the individual to a perspective client. 

It can be difficult to know how to tailor interim CVs to reflect vast levels of experience, especially when starting out on an interim career. That is why we have asked several of our recruitment consultants how to write a great interim CV, how to condense experiences in a way that still captures the detail, whilst ensuring that the CV stands out.

What you should include

  • Contact details – including contact number, email address, home/base, LinkedIn URL
  • Academic/Professional Qualifications – ensure these are relevant and reflect the level you are working at
  • A brief profile Statement at the top of the CV that could list:
      • Who the Candidate is – e.g., Finance Director, HRD, Operations, Registrar, Turnaround Specialist etc.
      • Specialism / key career highlights
      • Sectors worked in = e.g., Government, Industrial, FMCG, highlighting any particular focus within sector
      • Types of company worked in = e.g., NGOs, FTSE, International
      • Locations worked = e.g., UK, Europe, Asia, USA etc
  • Dates assignments undertaken
  • Can include referees (with or without contact details) or LinkedIn recommendations
  • Adding personal interests can help with rapport building – especially in a virtual setting

If you are working with an interim recruitment firm, such as Odgers Interim, the easiest way to ensure your CV meets the client’s requirements is to check with your recruitment consultant about the format of your CV. They can advise you if you have any queries on how the profile statement should look, whether a supporting statement is needed or whether the CV should be tailored to each role.

How long your CV should be

Whilst it is suggested to keep CVs shorter and succinct, some CVs may be closer to 3-4 pages plus, especially if the candidate has undertaken multiple interim assignments. If your CV is several pages long, make sure to keep the most relevant information in the first couple of pages, providing more detail for the more recent and important roles. As mentioned above, if you are unsure about the length or level of detail in your CV, speak to your recruitment consultant.

The language of your CV

  • Think about key words/terminology – make your CV sound dynamic, showing deliverables, demonstrating how quickly you can make changes as well as highlighting how adaptable/flexible your working style is.
  • Avoid “waffling” or space-filling – ensure every word is meaningful and specific to you and your role, think about what makes you unique.
  • Keep language clear and concise. Avoid long paragraphs.
  • Provide examples of achievements – give details of projects that have been delivered, change or transformation that has been accomplished or key outcomes achieved.
  • STAR: Situation, Task, Action, Result – clearly describe the situation and task, coupled with evidence of the actions and outcomes.
  • Check your spelling and grammar.

How your CV should be formatted

  • Font size 11 is clear and easy to read
  • Lists/bullet points can be a way of clearly and briefly presenting relevant data
  • Avoid the use of boxes, tables, multiple fonts, and hyperlinks
  • Start with key skills at the top – education details should be listed towards the end
  • Save the CV with your name and date in the title – it can help easily identify the version that has been sent out, ensuring that the most recent or preferred version is presented to the client

Try not to worry about formatting to the point that it stalls your writing your CV. Often, recruiters will reformat CVs to ensure all shortlisted candidates are presented in a uniformed way, so there is always a second pair of eyes scanning and editing your CV at that stage, ensuring everything is presented to the best possible standard.

How to decide what is relevant for your interim CV

  • Provide details about recent and most senior/complex assignments – what were the key outcomes and deliverables from roles undertaken, the cause and effect of actions and achievements?
  • Think about what each bullet point tells the reader – if you only had a limited amount of time to make a great impression in person, would you mention this to the hiring manager? Or could it be explored in a job interview at a later stage?
  • Think about what your USP is – what sets you apart from other highly experienced and skilled applicants?
  • Try to avoid going into vast detail about all your roles – whilst listing earlier roles enables clients to see work history in chronological order, it is not necessary to go into detail for much earlier assignments. Try identifying instead what you inherited when starting the assignment, what you implemented or carried out during the placement, and what legacy you left behind. It will showcase your problem solving ability and give a good impression of your expertise. 
  • Highlight independent work. If you are starting out in an interim career it may be useful to highlight any independent work previously undertaken freelance or as a consultant. It showcases your ability to be proactive and a motivated self-starter, which is a highly desirable skill.
  • Think of the type of role you are applying for – for example if it is for a transformation role, ensure that your relevant skills are easily visible on your resume.
  • Finally, remember the reader – the hiring manager might not know the organisations that you have previously worked for or their size or remit. Try to infer to their scale and sector but keep it brief and relevant to the role and company you are applying to.

Some final considerations

The world of interim work is fast paced, with roles often being filled in the shortest of times - have your CV ready and ensure it is always up to date. It will enable you to send your application of quickly, increasing your chances of being considered for the role. Some roles will require for your CV to be tailored – if you often apply for slightly different roles, it might be worthwhile having a few slightly different current versions of your CV, which highlight certain relevant skills. If you have any doubts, please check with your recruitment consultant, they will be best placed to advise you on relevance of content, formatting, and other useful tips that will increase your chances on the interim job market.

If you would like to talk to us about anything raised in this article, or you would like to have an informal conversation about how we can assist you in your next interim role, please contact Zoe Spalding.

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