During my career I have seen hundreds, if not thousands of CVs – some good, some not so good. As an interim executive, your CV is your key selling tool and allows consultants to understand how successful your interim career has been, before they have a chance to meet you.
Interims update their CV more than other executives as they change role more frequently. This can lead to CVs being constantly added to rather than really looked at as a whole. This can result in Cvs becoming over-complicated and messy.
Top tips include elements we really want to see on your CV:
- Chronological Order – controversial I know, but clients like to see a chronological CV. Grouping roles into categories is fine as a brief summary, but clients, and providers, want to know what you have worked on recently and want to understand how you have managed your interim career.
- Word Format – Most good providers will ‘reformat’ your CV in to their own house style. Therefore, a CV in Word is the easiest way of doing that. PDFs give you more control about how the end result will be viewed, which works well if you are pitching to clients directly. Avoid tables, excel or a link to your website – it makes the whole process more complex and you are giving clients too much work to understand your background.
- Emphasise Key Elements: Turnover & Company Focus – this is particularly relevant if you have worked in smaller business. Don’t assume everyone knows what the business you worked for does and the scale of their organisation. Briefly explain to set the scene and scale.
- Outcome and Achievement Focused – Focus on key achievements and what you were able to drive through during your time there. List any successes and the benefits that organisation gained as a result of your involvement.
- Keep It Short – be concise, brief and to the point. A client won’t have time to read endless pages of CVs.
- Include All Your Contact Details – obvious, I know, but you would be surprised! It is key that we have your mobile number and know where you live. Some interims will travel for roles, others are clear they need to commute, we need to know where home is so that we can work out which roles work logistically and those that won’t.
- Profile Overview – this is your USP, your ‘elevator pitch’. In one short statement you should be able to sum up your areas of focus and explain the level and type of organisation you work with – even as an interim who has worked across sector, you need to be able to sum up your experience.
- Don’t Hide Gaps – interims have forced time out and managed time out of work. It is important for providers to understand that so we can explain that to the client. As a transparent organisation we would urge you to be open about time out. As long as you can account for how the time is spent, there is rarely an issue.
- Qualifications and Interests – make sure you list relevant qualifications for roles and outline any hobbies or interests outside of work. They really help the client to build a picture of the individual.
- Check Grammar and Spelling Mistakes – this goes for Linkedin too. I can’t count the amount of times I have seen spelling errors within Linkedin especially on job titles and company names. (In fact, I would urge you to check your Linkedin profile right now. Copy and paste your Linkedin profile wording on to a word document and you might be quite surprised!) Use the spell check and ask someone to review before you release a new version.
Finally, the providers themselves will always give you great advice about how they would like your CV presented. If you have been adding to your CV for a number of years and you think it is in need of a refresh, ask them – they will always give you their opinion and be able to give you constructive advice.