July 25, 2022

Exceptional CVs – Look ahead not back

CVs can be tricky. They are business documents that are also highly personal. Getting the right degree of objective distance from ourselves is not easy.

Then there’s the vexed issue of selecting the right details from our career. What to put in; what to leave out.

While there is no one correct way to write a CV – everyone’s story is different – successful CVs have a common characteristic: they look forward, not backwards. A strong CV is not about what we have done but what we can do for our next employer.

How to start a CV

Past achievements and experiences have their place in a CV but not at the top of the document. The best way to start a CV is with a bullet pointed list of the skills we possess that meet an employer’s needs.

For example, if an employer wants someone to lead a communications team of six, we should let them know early on that we have, “Led a high performing communications team of eight”. Detailing the size of the team makes the point more memorably thant a more general statement such as “proven leadership experience”. The right detail can bring the words to life.

Listing our specific skills at the start of our CV, provides the busy, time-poor hiring manager with a snapshot of our abilities. It also invites them to dive into the career summary, which is the heart of our CV, and where we list our achievements and catalogue our experiences.

The skills we have listed at the top of the CV should guide what we include in the career summary. The skill list can help identify the experiences, achievements and lessons we need to highlight to show and employer how we have developed our skills.

This approach will help avoid the danger of burying our story under a deadening flurry of pointless detail. It will energise our CVs, making them less of a greatest hits and more of a manifesto about what we can and will do in the future.

Update your CV

If you’re in the market for a new role and want to update your CV, you can download a copy our recommended template here.

Then don’t hesitate your interest in new opportunities by going to here on our website: Register Interest

New job

Written by John King

John specialises in leading assignments for the recruitment of communications professionals at all levels for the private, not-for-profit and public sectors.

Prior to joining JacksonStone & Partners, John worked for 20 years providing strategic and communications counsel to a range of public and private sector clients, including board chairs, chief executives and senior management – often during times of crisis or change.

John’s media and communications experience, and his experience as a hiring manager, means he has built up deep understanding of the types of people clients are looking for and what it takes to recruit high-quality communications professionals.

John works closely with clients to understand their specific needs, and to build trust and an enduring relationship. His engaging approach puts people at ease and encourages open and honest conversations with candidates.

His experience provides insights that will help you find and appoint high-calibre candidates that meet your needs.

Areas of specialisation: Communications professionals
Years in the industry: 3

P: +64 4 550 8037

M: +64 27 610 8896

E: john.king@jacksonstone.co.nz