If you're going through a career change, or simply want to take on a managerial role, it might have been years since you've updated your CV; during this time, you've done wonders for your company and have many work achievements at your disposal. However, actually writing an achievements-based cv and cover letter is harder than it seems, especially when you're applying for senior-level roles that are highly sought after; it can be difficult to determine which achievements are the most important and how you can stand out from your competition.
Your CV has the potential to be one of the strongest, but competing against younger candidates also applying for the position can be intimidating. In fact, despite having all of the necessary qualifications 1/3 of professionals say they have been turned down from a job because of their age and 3% of job seekers surveyed have lied about their age on their CV. However, with a well-structured and airtight CV and cover letter, there is no need to lie on your application or fret about not getting the role. Here are five steps you can take to create an immaculate achievements-based CV and land your dream senior-level position.
1. Only include the most relevant experience
If you're applying for a senior-level position, it's likely that you have a lot of work experience and achievements that you're excited to talk about. However, before you start putting down every award and summer job you've ever had, ask yourself if these experiences are really relevant to the role. While lengthy CVs might get past the ATS systems, human Recruiters only spend around 7 seconds looking at your CV so make sure your application is only around two pages long.
Struggling to cut down your CV? It goes without saying that senior-level positions are much harder to secure than entry-level jobs and recruiters will be looking for a specific type of worker, with great leadership abilities and unique achievements. While your Duke of Edinburgh award and Barista job might have helped secure you a job years ago, they have no place on your CV as a more mature worker. Check the job description carefully, selecting experiences and achievements that reflect the skillset your employer is looking for. In addition, take note of the differences associated with CVs for interim roles and Non-Executive Directors (NEDs).
You may also be interested in: Reducing Pages in a CV.
2. Back up your experience with evidence
Throughout your impressive career, you will have achieved many things and displayed managerial level skills that make you perfect for the new role. However, your employer can't just take your word for it and you need to back up your statements and achievements with some evidence. When you're applying for a senior-level role, your CV can't leave any room for doubt; for instance, everyone can say that they're an exceptional team leader but the CVs that prove it are the ones that will be considered. While it's great that you improved your company's profit margins, you need to get specific; if possible, use numbers to back up your point.
If you're struggling to give examples and evidence in your CV, then follow the trusted STAR technique; this is when you talk about the action and result of one of your work decisions. You might have used this while writing your very first CVs but it's still an effective CV writing tool, even when you're applying for more senior positions.
3. Don't forget about the applicant tracking systems (ATS)
If you've been off the job market for many years, a lot of things have changed. Many recruiters are reliant on technology during the recruitment process now, using ATS systems to filter through the many CVs received. You might be qualified for the job and have a flawless CV and cover letter to submit, but this doesn't mean it will get past the software. In fact, around 75% of qualified applicants are rejected by ATS systems because they can't be read, meaning that your CV was never even considered by a human.
However, these systems shouldn't be considered the enemy of recruitment; you simply need to streamline your CV and make sure it meets the ATS system's standards. Make sure you include all of the main keywords in your application, including jargon that is specific to your industry. Formatting is also a consideration; don't get too creative with your font or margins and they might not be detected by the ATS. If you meet the ATS system's requirements, your CV will be in the hands of a human recruiter who will see exactly why you're perfect for this senior-level role.
4. Stand out from the crowd
It can take years for some people to advance their career or get promoted, which is why higher-level job applications need to stand out from the rest of the applicants. Your employer might receive hundreds of applications for one job opening, so your achievements need to be unique and exemplary.
While your work awards and achievements will look great on your application, stand out by discussing your dedication to your career outside of work hours. Talk about the many times you have stayed to complete work after your shift finished, and the voluntary tasks you've completed in order to support your company. Personal achievements, like running a marathon or raising money for charity, are also great to include on your application as they show you to be dedicated and hard-working, even in your spare time.
5. Don't forget about your soft skills
Major achievements like award-winning projects and boosting company profit margins should be at the top of your CV, but have you also included examples of some soft skills? People often forget to include instances of teamwork, public speaking and problem solving but they will be essential to your new role. Make sure you include some (with examples) on your senior-level application, as it could be the difference between getting the job or falling at the last hurdle.
Has your perfect senior-level position always been just out of reach? Progressing to the next stage of your career doesn't have to be daunting, as long as you know how to update your CV. Follow these tips and employers will be desperate to hire you.
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