Start Your CV with a Future-Focussed Bang

👉 MAKE YOUR CV FUTURE FOCUSSED – you want to appeal to the NEXT employer, not just dumping your past on them. You want to give them what THEY’RE looking for. Here’s 1 easier way to do this (easier than spending hours overhauling your entire CV for every job you apply for):

Start your CV with a “Summary” and tailor it to match the job advert. Here’s a job advert, followed by the kind of summary I’m recommending.

➤ Sample job ad: “Management Accountant. Opportunity for a CIMA qualified management accountant with 5 years experience in the manufacturing sector. The position is focussed strongly on materials costing, cost reductions, and reporting financial and production data to the Production Manager and Managing Director and Senior Management Team. BTech or BCom degree, Syspro skills an advantage. Boksburg area.”

➤ Here’s my recommendation (see the image below) – see how it checks the boxes in the advert? It also adds real results and statistics. All the best stuff. Right up front. It’s useful there. It’s hard to miss. It’s helpful to the reader. This is the kind of CV I try to write for my clients every day (usually a bit more modern in style, every CV is different). Hope this helps you today.

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Quick Idea to ‘Kickass’ Your CV

Quick idea to ‘kickass’ your CV: Include as many statistics as you can.

Numbers get attention. It’s human psychology, it loves numbers. Why?

  1. they catch the eye, add interest;
  2. give a sense of “this person measures performance… they are focused on getting great results, fixing things”;
  3. they build trust, you make yourself stand out.

WHAT TO DO WITH THIS: look at your CV, at your last job – any stats?? You don’t have to make a science of it. But for e.g. if you sped up a process significantly, don’t say “significantly”, that’s weak. Rather say, “by 75%” (it’s a geuss-timate, but that’s okay as long as it’s more or less true.)

Share this with someone who needs it.

More ideas here:

What Your CV Needs to do For You to Be Taken Seriously – 9 Specific Things

Background: someone sent me their CV for review. It was written by a recruitment agency. The individual is looking to make a career change from the military to private sector. This is entirely do-able, but the CV really needs to ‘hit’ hard for them. Here’s my answer to her:

For an employer reviewing your CV, really, they must:

… see benefit to themselves, they must see that you have skills they need, they must see that you are someone who can work hard and well for them, that you can provide the benefit they need, and more.

So, you want to highlight things you’ve achieved –

  1. how you’ve reduced backlogs,
  2. how you’ve worked with difficult people successfully,
  3. how you’ve provided accurate, on-time services,
  4. how you’ve kept an organized, up-to-date office,
  5. how you’ve ensured compliance to regulations,
  6. how you’ve done the work of 2 people (saving money, etc),
  7. how you’ve streamlined processes (again, saving resources),
  8. how you’ve learned new things quickly, etc, etc.
  9. You want to show people have trusted you with much and you’ve delivered, on-target, on-time.

All of this needs to be highlighted and detailed in various ways in the CV in order to get attention and to be taken seriously. If all you have is a list of “duties”, you could be in trouble.

(Recruitment people often have no idea of what a CV can be, they just use the same old approach, one that they’ve been using for the last 40 years.)

CV Advice to Tulani

Tulani was feeling uncertain about his CV. It was typical – starting out with Personal Details, moving on to Education, then some patchy work experience.

Could it be improved? How could he make it a winner?

Here’s what I told him:

Hi Tulani, thanks for your CV. On my website I have 2 CV tests: – you’ll find a lot of help in the tests, discovering what a CV is and should be and how to make it so.

Looking at your CV though, it would be good to focus on what solution you provide – ie. if you’re focusing on IT Support for example, then start out with something like this:

IT Support Technician and Service Agent 

Offering 5 Years’ experience, CompTIA qualifications and IT skills to solve IT network and application problems fast, to keep customers delighted with the service, and to be a reliable, consistent “top performer” for the employer.

Then the rest of the CV should go on to back up that message with the facts.

This approach gets to the point fast. It clearly establishes at the start to the employer/recruiter just what he is ‘all about’ (instead of expecting the reader to read it to try to figure it all out for themselves.)

Also note that the opening is not fluff (empty claims of being ‘hard working’ etc). It’s fact – hard experience, hard qualifications to clearly establish credibility. That comes first. THEN comes the “sell” – ie. hire me because:

“I delight customers … I provide fast service … I’m a top performer.”

Can you make a similar improvement? The tests in the link above – or here: – will help you hone this all further across your entire CV.


Your CV and a Can of Baked Beans

It’s an analogy I use often. What?? Yep …

Your CV is your ‘label’. Just like a can of baked beans has one. You have one.

And it does a similar job. It brands you, positions you, it – in one glance – provides the reader with an impression of what they’re gonna get.

Here’s the job it must do:

1) It must get attention

2) It must convey the impression of quality

3) It must convey the impression of organization and being ‘together’

4) It must provide some backup detail to support the ‘impression’

5) And it must do it all really fast.

Although consumers don’t buy purely on the strength of the label, it does go some way in ‘twisting their arm’.

Your CV needs to do the same as the 4 points above.

Are You Making This CV Mistake?

It’s just happened again. A CV writing client has been merrily sending out her CV. And she’s wondering why no-one’s getting back to her.

Well I can give her one reason.

She has no contact details on her CV. Nothing. No address. No cell. No phone. No e-mail.

“But it’s on my cover letter!” Yeah, maybe. BUT here’s how it works in real life:  it’s almost certain that your cover letter and CV will get separated at an early stage of the hiring process.

And are you so hot that they’re going to scramble and search for your cover letter? Probably not. They probably have a pile of other applicant CVs just waiting to take your place.

And will anyone tell you that it’s missing? Does anyone care? Yes. Me. And maybe your mom.

There are also other reasons “Jess” isn’t getting response. That’s why she’s come to me, and I’m going to fix it.

Details of my CV writing service here.

“Do you feel like just another insect on the windscreen of job hunting life?”

Yeah, one can feel pretty lousy in a job hunt. Maybe you’re getting no response week after week. And hey, let’s be honest, it could be nothing to do with you. Maybe you’re great. It’s just that the job market is deflated.

But here’s a question:

Do you also consider it possible that you could be doing a better job of marketing your skills? Do you think you could be presenting yourself better? In your CV, in covering letters and in interviews?

Can I give you some personal insights here? I’m a CV writer – it’s what I do pretty much all day. And I see some really fantastic people make a real hash of their CV etc. They make basic errors.

I don’t want you to do the same. So here’s a great free resource from me: “High Impact Job Search Quick Fixes” – it’s 23 pages of my best ideas for ‘quick fixing’ your CV, cover letter or job interview. It also includes a step-by-step guide to writing a 2 page CV – very useful when adverts say: “send your 2 page CV …”

All you have to do is send an e-mail to

Then check your e-mail inbox.

Hope this helps! Mail me directly if you need help with this (see About page).

CV / Resume Mistake #1 and How to Fix it

Taken from an article on Yahoo’s HOT JOBS (article by Caroline Potter, expert advice by Lauren Milligan of ResuMAYDAY.) I’ve added my own boring comments.

And the thing is … I agree totally with the advice. I’m posting it because it’s good CV advice – in my CV / Resume writing practice I apply this advice all the time. So should you.

Think Big

Whatever jobs you’ve held — be it as an assistant or a CEO — think beyond the everyday tasks of your position … “People get bogged down in the day-to-day details of their jobs, but when it comes to your resume, you’ve got to get out of the clutter and ask yourself, ‘What does this work mean?'” …

… “If I’m hiring for an administrative assistant, I already know what one does. I don’t want to see a resume that only says an applicant can type and answer a phone. You have to go beyond that to point out your specific strengths.” …

Start by having big-picture conversations about what you do and how it serves the organization as a whole … “If you’re in a support position, consider how successful the person you support is and how you help her do her job better. What role do you have in her successes? Those are your accomplishments.”

This is particularly a problem in SA. We love our long lists of “Duties” and “Responsibilities” on our CV or Resume don’t we? Now I wouldn’t advise just chopping them all out. No. But by all means make it concise. Create a bulleted list of maybe 5 key duties, provide a quick overview – then move on to your achievements.

Personal Note – actually the point above is my biggest frustration with CV / Resume writing! Clients – maybe like you!! 🙂 – send me so much detail on “duties” I have a long hard time of simplifying it to make it concise and hard hitting. And it sometimes gives them a shock too! But that’s my job. And it results in an easier to read, more scannable, more understandable, harder hitting CV / Resume.

10 Quick Easy Ways to Quick Fix Your CV

Easy and quick but too long to detail here – download your free e-book of CV quick fixes AND get additional job interview and cover letter quick fixes by entering your details below. It’ll be e-mailed directly to your inbox in pdf format.




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