If you’re at executive level and you’ve been with your employer for a long time, it could be that it’s been decades since you’ve even looked at your CV, let alone used it. You may have been with the same company for a quite a while, earning internal promotion after internal promotion, in which case your CV has most probably been pretty much dormant for ages.
But now, for whatever reason, you’re conducting an executive job search and you need a CV that’s up to date, contemporary, relevant and concise. Not dealing with CVs for such a long time can make the task of creating one that will get you a new job at executive level seem very daunting. However, if you follow these tips, you’ll find it doesn’t have to be such an overwhelming challenge after all.
1. Eliminate Out-of-Date Terminology
If you wrote your current CV, say, in the 1990s, there’s a good chance that some of the terms and jargon you included in it are now defunct, for one reason or another. It may be that an object to which you were referring is no longer in use or perhaps a particular word has taken on a different meaning. Whatever the reason, scan your CV for anachronisms and remove them.
2. Bring Your Contact Information Up to Date
We aren’t just talking about putting down your current address. It’s very likely that you didn’t have Twitter or a LinkedIn profile the last time you set eyes on your CV, so add your Twitter handle or LinkedIn URL to make it easier for employers to check out your online personal brand. In some cases, you may not even have had email or a mobile phone when you last updated your CV, so don’t forget to include your email address and mobile number.
3. Cut Down and Break Up
The influence of social media and web copywriting on all industries nowadays means that a lot of people are now used to reading shorter, sharper copy. Fewer words, shorter paragraphs and briefer sentences are used online. It’s likely that you’ll be sending your CV electronically at least a few times during your executive job search, so edit your writing to suit. Break up paragraphs into smaller ones, split any particularly long multiple clause sentences into two or more separate ones and be ruthless in deleting any unnecessary padding or waffling.
4. Insert Keywords
Back before the Internet and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) became popular, recruiters would have to scan CVs by hand, using the human eye to see if the applications contained any words that indicated the candidate was suitable for the role. Nowadays, most recruitment agencies and employer organisations use a computerized Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to identify any ‘keywords’ that match the CV to the position. Do some research by looking at several job ads or job specs for the type of role you want and picking out words common to all of them. Words such as these, which regularly come up in relation to your chosen line of work, are keywords that you should probably be dropping into your CV.
5. Target Each Job Separately
The modern labour market is so competitive that each job vacancy gets thousands of applicants, especially at executive level. Employers and recruiters are therefore glad for any opportunity to quickly cut down long lists of candidates by being gifted a reason to throw a CV straight in the bin. If they suspect that your CV is merely a template that you’ve sent to 100 other people, it will end up in the trash. Instead of sending exactly the same document to each organisation, tailor your CV to the specific job you’re applying for each time.