Top Tips: CV writing
CV writing is an important skill for every professional. CVs should be a living and continually updated document, showcasing your skills and experience, which have the potential to influence both first impressions and recruitment searches. However, interim CVs can differ from those of permanent employees, they are often shorter, clearly highlighting the relevant skills and experiences 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. We have asked several of our recruitment consultants how to write a great interim CV and how to condense experiences in a way that still captures the detail, whilst ensuring that the CV stands out.
What to 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:
- What you do – e.g., Finance Director, HRD, Operations, Registrar, Turnaround Specialist etc.
- Your USP - 2-3 core skills, specialism, or key career highlights.
- Sectors worked in = e.g., Government, Industrial, FMCG, highlighting any particular focus within each sector.
- Types of company worked in = e.g., NGOs, FTSE, International, Plc, private equity.
- Locations worked = e.g., UK, Europe, Asia, USA etc, and languages spoken.
- 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 like 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 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 “waffle” 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 – applying cause and effect / feature and benefit method to give details of what was delivered and what this accomplished and 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.
- Education details are likely to be listed towards the end – ensuring that these are relevant.
- Saving the CV with your name and date in the title 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. 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.
It is important that your CV is reflective of your LinkedIn account – recruiters and employers are likely to check your CV against your LinkedIn profile, so it is important that these match.
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 off 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.
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.
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.
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.