Nothing makes us worry, or procrastinate, more than having ‘update CV’ on our to do lists. Am I right?

But it doesn’t have to be like that! If you think of your CV as a business case for why you’re the very best person for the job then everything that goes in it will be enriching that case. Here are my four tips for taking control and creating a truly compelling CV:

  1. Start strong! Know your top skills and strengths, match them to the job that’s you’re applying for and get them into your profile statement. Technical skills, relevant experience and knowledge will get you into the interview room and there you can demonstrate all the lovely soft behavioural skills.
  2. Key words for the win! Don’t think that because you’ve spent hours perfecting your CV that you’re now done. You will have to amend your CV for every single role you go for, mirroring and matching the key words from job description every time. Key words are what Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) use to scan and filter CVs before a human gets close.
  3. Sell yourself! Your CV is a sales pitch. Open the thesaurus and use the most powerful verbs and adjectives that you can find. Get into the detail of how you work and not just what you did. Use facts and figures to back up your claims. ‘I achieved 35% growth in my category by prioritising X and doing Y’ tells them much more about your than ‘Successfully grew my category’ don’t you think? If you balanced a big budget, how big was it? If you’re an expert in nurturing multi-functional teams, then list the disciplines and tell them how you get the best out of them. Every line in your CV needs to work very hard. You don’t have to include everything. Just the most relevant for the role you’re applying for.
  4. Take some credit! Modern workplaces need us all to work in teams but this recruiter isn’t looking for a team, they want an individual who can do what they say they can do. Use active sentences using I – ‘I initiated…’, ‘I designed and delivered…’, ‘I project managed…’ – to give yourself a voice that positively reinforces your skills and talents.

Remember, nothing changes if nothing changes. If you’ve taken time to read this article and are feeling inspired, dust off your old CV (or start afresh) and apply for that role that’s caught your eye this week.

This article was written by our partner coach Emily Bal. Emily has been supporting midlifers with career confidence since 2017 and can help you work out your plan B, update your CV or prepare for an interview. You can get in touch via her profile page or book a chemistry call here