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CVs and Resumes

By: Angelique Caffrey - Updated: 30 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Cv; Curriculum Vitae; Resume; Resumes;

The key to writing a curriculum vitae (CV) or resume that lands an interview is usually right in front of you, but you might not recognise it because it's so unassuming - the job description.

That short description truly holds all you need to know to write a resume that gets your foot in the door, but you have to understand how to best utilise it.

First, let's take a look at a sample job description:

Management Opportunity

Looking for a self-directed sales professional to manage a staff of five in a busy retail environment. Must enjoy fast-paced work and have a proven track record of success in the field of sales. Previous supervisory experience is a must; a degree is preferable, though we will consider those with significant years in a sales environment. Send a cover letter and resume to...

Though many people would simply send off their information and hope for the best, the really savvy job seeker would uncover the clues contained in this advertisement and tailor his or her CV or resume accordingly.

If you are serious about landing an interview, customise your resume by using some of the same language contained in the job description. For instance, the words and phrases "self-directed", "fast-paced work" and "proven track record" can all be repeated in your resume.

To begin, after your contact information, you could start your resume with a "position statement" that echoes the words used in the job ad. Such a position statement might read something like:

Self-directed sales professional with more than twelve years selling for retailers seeks managerial position in fast-paced work environment.

Thus, the first glance at your resume will tell the reader that you are perfectly qualified for interview consideration as long as the job description was accurate (and it usually is.) This trick encourages the personnel director to continue reading your information.

Though many individuals choose to put their work history next on their resumes, a better technique exists. Since you've already grabbed the reader's attention with your strong position statement, why not include bullet points next so he or she can immediately see your accomplishments? As a result, your list might be:

Career Accomplishments:

  • Won top salesman for ABC Company years 2004-2006
  • Received bonuses for sales achievement 2000-2006
  • Supervised staff of 8 persons from 2002-2006
  • Exceeded personal goal of $400,000 in annual sales seven years in a row by at least 20% each year

Of course, you could be tempted to write every accomplishment you had, but resist the temptation and only include a few that will directly relate to the job description and knock the socks off your reader.

Now, you can begin to highlight your work history including your positions held, companies you worked for and years at each company. If you have other achievements of note that were not mentioned previously, you can include them under each company name.

Finally, add any education background information to your resume or CV. The job description above clearly states that a degree is preferred; thus, if you don't have one, highlight any professional sales training courses you attended so your reader won't question your school-related qualifications.

At this point, you can add any volunteer information to your document as long as it's relevant to the position. If you were a member of a sales-related national or local group, it would be a perfect addition and will sweeten your resume. However, if you have been acting in community theatre for the past five years, that probably isn't going to be as relevant (though it might show you can publicly speak; a boon for sales professionals) and could easily be omitted.

Truly, you can pick and choose what to leave in or out at this point, because if the personnel director for the hiring company has gotten this far into your CV, it's a good bet he or she won't throw it out the window based on your volunteer activities.

By tailoring your CV or resume and tweaking it just slightly depending on the job description, you'll have a much greater chance of being invited in for a one-on-one interview where you can further tout your achievements.

Good luck and happy job hunting!

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