CVs - Format Question

joolsb 15 27.1k 38 Switzerland
28 Nov 2011 3:28PM

Quote:My problem seems to be that I don't fit neatly in to a pigeon holed job title.

Sounds like the 'mission statement' might help - assuming you don't have that already. Have you considered bypassing the agencies and sending out speculative CVs?

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mikehit 10 8.0k 13 United Kingdom
28 Nov 2011 3:34PM

Quote:My problem seems to be that I don't fit neatly in to a pigeon holed job title.

From your posts it sounds like you want to be able to show you can apply your skills rather than go into a directly relevant job. For this reason writing a CV for agencies can be damned difficult. So without knowing what your CV says already, make sure it concentrates on abilities and achievements rather than role-specific. This means you do not want a time-based CV (recent wnd working backwards) or a role-based CV. You should talk purely about your key achievements and when you get the to 'experience' section it should be a minor part (content-wise) to support the claims you make in the sort of prefessional you are.
One example that always makes me smile was a long-term housewife going back into the job market put herself as 'managing and maintaining budgets within a defined limits...resorce and time management to ensure key tasks are completed to short and medium term expectations [housework and cleaning]....supervision, training and development of team members [the kids Wink]...".

So headline with the skills you think is most appropriate and work from there.

I would go with Jools comments - but personally I hate the 'mission statement'. Maybe it is because I am British and we just do not do that sort of hting, but maybe it is because they have become so generic as to be meaningless.
However, I totally agree that wording can be essential. it is not only the words you use but also how you put the idea forward: it took me a long time to learn that 'intiated change in reporting structure' is far more effective than 'contributed to discussions in department reporting'.
Remember that too many people treat the CV as a step in its own right. But the objective of the CV is to get you into the interview so I have no qualms to word mine in a way that is completely truthful but leaves them to elaborate it - I have no problem with this because 9/10 times they will do the same when it comes to how wonderful their company is Wink

It is good to see you are getting better responses - and good luck for the future.
csurry 17 9.2k 92
28 Nov 2011 3:38PM
There is a mission statement of sorts.

My main role for many years has been troubleshooting aspects of projects and finding alternative solutions. This does not fit neatly with the job description of a project manager or business analyst, though clearly it encompasses the role of both and indeed others. Also it is not the most positive message to send to prospective employers - your project is likely to hit issues and I am the person to sort them out Wink

Since I am only looking for contract work sending direct to a potential employer does not appear to be appropriate.

Not to worry. I think I have the main answer now and I have made the changes to the CV. I just need to find the right opportunities to align it to. Not helped by the fact that the market is quietening down now for Christmas.

Perhaps I should just enjoy December and find something in the new year.
mikehit 10 8.0k 13 United Kingdom
28 Nov 2011 3:41PM

Quote:Have you considered bypassing the agencies and sending out speculative CVs?

When I last had a job trawl I was changing to a new field but I knew the sort of area I wanted to work in so I got a couple of magazines where I knew such companies advertised. I looked for those that said 'growing company (or similar) and checked the deadline date for the response. I knew I was never going to compete with people with recent experience so 2-4 weeks after the closing data I sent in a speculative letter (addressed directly to the person named in the advert!) - if the company truly was growing I reckoned the previous job round was 'done dusted and the applicants out of mind' so mine would arrive effectively at the top of the pile and they might start looking agian soon. Then the follow-up call a week later with questions about whether they had any questions on my CV.
It worked for me.
csurry 17 9.2k 92
28 Nov 2011 3:44PM
Hi Mike, perhaps that is what I need a brainstorming session.

See I would say something like documented and implemented changes to reporting structure. Whereas since if you identified the need then initiated is so much more a description of my proactive nature.

Similar to your comment though I feel slightly squeamish at stating some of these things. I think I need to apply my normal alternative approach to problem solving to stating achievements.

Initiated is definitely a word I can use to start one particular sentence and already that sounds better. Hmm, we could be on to something here.
mikehit 10 8.0k 13 United Kingdom
28 Nov 2011 3:51PM
Glad to help Smile
I was always able to write a far better CV for friends than I could ever write for myself so I learnt to look on my career as if I was following theirs, not mine. It eventually worked but it took time.

Quote:See I would say something like documented and implemented changes to reporting structure. Whereas since if you identified the need then initiated is so much more a description of my proactive nature.

"Through careful observation/analysis identified areas for improvement in Standard Operating Procedures and management practices...."
And other such BS....Wink
csurry 17 9.2k 92
28 Nov 2011 3:56PM
Ah Mike. I need a degree in BS obviously.

I tend to just state factually the thing that most comes to mind about what I did in a role. I also think well that is what I was employed to do so I tend to not even consider some of the achievements as being anything worthy of note.
mikehit 10 8.0k 13 United Kingdom
28 Nov 2011 4:31PM
I know. We can be really enthusiastic when describing friends to a stranger but very factual when describing ourselves. have you ever written a reference for a colleague? Maybe that will help.

And as Jools said, you also need to show how those changes benefitted the company: better management oversight, improved processes, money saved etc.
milly123 10 94 United Kingdom
28 Nov 2011 4:35PM
Having just been made redundant by a large multi-national company who paid for us to have CV training as part of the redundancy package, it seemed to most of us who went through the numerous courses etc, there really isn't a right or wrong way to present yourself on a CV. It seems to be more down to luck than anything else. Most CVs these days are scanned into a computer that searches for key words, so make sure you read the job advertisement very carefully and repeat most of the words in the ad. We were told to keep the CV to 1/one page if at all possible, and if you don't appeal to the person in the first paragraph you'll end up in the bin! This could all be relevant if the person who sorts through the CVs is trained to the same level as the experts in CV training! Good Luck in your quest!

csurry 17 9.2k 92
28 Nov 2011 4:45PM
Thanks Milly.

Keeping it to one page certainly is not going to describe 15 years of consultancy. In the last employment I had three distinct roles, so that needs some explanation as all utilise different skills.

I've just been looking at a book that suggests the CV should only be one page! Now that really would be a struggle.

I have taken to brainstorming some new ways of saying specific aspects of my work. Trying to show them in the proactive nature in which I see myself rather than them coming across as quite so reactive. OK I was put in there to fix the issues but took a proactive approach to finding a solution rather than just going along with the general opinion of "can't be fixed".

I have spoken with a number of friends and colleagues. They generally fit neatly in to one of these pigeon-holes but appreciate that I am having a slightly harder time describing what it is that I do and can bring to an organisation.

Thanks for the suggestions.
Nick_w 12 4.3k 99 England
28 Nov 2011 4:50PM
Use common sense Cheryl - Mine is 2 pages, the first one with all the major bits - skill sets, personal info, education etc. The second page has the job history, I can't think of the last job I went for and didn't get an interview, but I do work in quite a tight knit industry.
csurry 17 9.2k 92
28 Nov 2011 4:58PM
I agree Nick. There is too much repetition on my CV from role to role. Perhaps with this new way of thinking about things I can reduce that somewhat.

Funny thing is it is exactly the repetition that has potentially just got me an interview later this week!

Think I have a number of key tasks (to add to the list for procrastination):

Decide what role I want
Decide on the location I want
Decide when I want to start (now or new year)

Sure there are a few others to throw in there as well.
mikehit 10 8.0k 13 United Kingdom
28 Nov 2011 6:24PM
If you have 15 years in consultancy I wold try an executive search agency, not a 'normal' agency.

By the way, this is one of the best interview books I have ever read. The title sounds trite but the content is awesome.

It also talks a bit about CVs.
JackAllTog Plus
10 5.8k 58 United Kingdom
28 Nov 2011 7:40PM
Its, been a while since, I've updated mine but a one page intro is followed by about 4 pages of contextual detail. If it hooks them they have more. Think about corporate about us web pages, they describe the whole company or senior executive in only 2 or 3 paragraphs.

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