Here are some tips from Aringo
for a strong CV:"CV Speak"
- Less is more.
o Drop any word that is not likely to promote any admission driver.
o If you can say something in two ways, say it in the shorter way.
- In CV's, use "word economy" as much as possible. For example:
o Instead of: the largest bank in Canada --> Canada's largest bank
o Instead of: a project worth $1 million --> a $1 million project
o Instead of: the financial status of the company --> the company's financial status
o Instead of: negotiations that lasted one year --> one-year-long negotiations
- Words such as "of", "for", "in", "which", "that" should raise a flag: here's a place where you may be able to change the text to "word economy" structure.
- In "CV Speak" you may omit "a" and "the" although it's grammatically incorrect. This is common practice for resume-type documents, to keep them short. For
example: "Led company's negotiations" instead of "led the company's negotiations".
- However, in about half the cases, it's impressive and better to keep the word "the".
o We keep the word "the" when we want to emphasize that something or someone is "The real thing" (singular).
o Examples: "Received the Distinguished Soldier Award", "Presented the company's annual plan to the CEO"
- Try to use the word "and" as little as possible. We need the sentences to be brief and crisp.
o Instead of using "and":
Either say just one of the things instead of two - one is often enough.
Break one long sentence into two short sentences. We need the sentences to be short.
o For example:
The candidate wrote: "Negotiated deal terms and structure with the CEO".
The word "and" raises a flag – maybe there's room for improvement here.
1. One wing is enough: "Negotiated deal terms with the CEO"
2. Break into two sentences:
Negotiated deal terms with the CEO.
Negotiated deal structure with the CEO.
o Obviously, in this case alternative 1 is better.
- Try to avoid using words such as "I", "my", "our"Work Experience
- Work experience is comprised of responsibilities (less important) and achievements (more important).
- The responsibilities and achievements usually start with a verb.
- Avoid using subjective terms such as "excellent" or "fast", use facts and objective terms only.
- If the numbers related to the responsibility/achievement are large/impressive, provide them. Otherwise, don't.
o Often you can turn an unimpressive number into an impressive number by using %.
o For example, if sales went up from $10,000 to $30,000 - these numbers are not impressive, you don't want to use them.
o Instead, you can say: "sales went up 200%". This is true, and more impressive.
- Consider including work in the family business (if there is any) - part time or full time.
- If a person was only doing projects, one after the other, there may be no responsibilities, just achievements.
- Try to describe any position in laymen terms. Avoid technical/professional explanations. Responsibilities
- Responsibility examples:
o "Manage a team of 4".
o Conduct development review meetings.
- Responsibilities in the current position start with verbs in the present simple tense ("manage").
- Responsibilities in past positions start with verbs in the past tense ("managed").
Teaching assistant positions: if a teaching assistant position included leading class sessions of 50 students - say it (gives us points on presentation and leadership skills).Achievements
- Achieved a 120% increase in Department's net income within 18 months.
o Reorganized the three import activities to fit with the new zero inventory model.
o Re-structured the costing, pricing and financing models of the activities.
o Re-negotiated supplier and client contracts.
- Achievements are a critical component in the CV. We need strong, impressive achievements.
- Achievement bullets usually start with verbs in the past tense.
- An achievement is often connected with a specific project.
- An achievement is comprised of "action" and "result".
- You may use sub-bullets, which are sub-components of the general action or of the result.The result part of the achievement
- The result sentences are specific facts.
- The result should include numbers if possible.
Placing the Result in the Achievement
- Four recommended options for placing the result:
o Option 1: The main, upper bullet will be short. It will hardly include anything but the result. We often use this option if the result is exceptionally impressive. Example:
• Led the second largest sale in the company's 20-year history.
o Option 2: Put both the action part and the result part in the main bullet and connect them with words such as:
that decreased, etc.
• Led creation of system that cut quarterly analysis costs by $12,000.
o Option 3: Put both the action part and the result part in the main bullet. Put them in two separate sentences. For example:
• Led post-merger strategy development [[action]]. Net income increased by 15% within two years [[result]].
o Option 4: if the result is not that impressive -
Either include the result in a sub-bullet.
Or do NOT mention the result at all.
If the action part is also not impressive, consider dropping the achievement.
- Try to avoid "spoon-feeding" words such as "resulting in" and "leading to" ("…resulting in a 20% increase in annual profits").
- Which of the above 4 options to choose?
o The more impressive the result, the more conspicuous (glaring) it should be.
o Use your judgment and practical (content) considerations. The best results
- The best descriptions of results are relative (descriptions that compare the result to other results).
o "Fastest promotion in the Division's history"
o CEO Alan Corey cited project as "one of the three most successful projects in the company's history" (company's annual conference, 11/02/09).
- If needed: develop, together with the client, a metric that measures the result.
o "defect occurrence rate":
Reduced defect occurrence rate by 50%.
o "on-time delivery ratio":
Increased the on-time delivery ratio from 70% to 90% within one year (2002).
o "labor costs":
Led a training program for customer integration teams which generated support-labor cost savings of 50%.