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Advice on revising my CV

#1 Advice on revising my CV
08/05/2009 08:25


Just about to have a 1st go at revising my CV after not touching it for about 10 years. I’ve found a few sites giving advice on CV writing, but they’re mostly generic / US focused / aimed at grads etc etc. Any sites that anyone can recommend? (Or any other general advice?)



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#2 RE: Advice on revising my CV
08/05/2009 09:19

Bryan Hickson to Rudgie (#1)

Hello Rudgie - we have a CV Reviewing service on, specifically tailored for consultants and offering a money-back guarantee (I have processed one refund request in 5 years from a guy who decided he didn't want to do consulting after all). Anyway, here's the link - I don't know of any free (but still focussed) resources out there...

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#3 RE: Advice on revising my CV
08/05/2009 09:33

Rudgie to Bryan Hickson (#2)

Thanks. At this stage I'm looking for advice on actually writing it, rather than someone to review it (there's not really anything to review at the moment).

Depending on how the writing goes I might then shell out for a proper review.


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#4 RE: Advice on revising my CV
08/05/2009 15:38

Mars A Day to Rudgie (#1)

Rudgie without seeing your CV all anyone can provide is fairly generic advice, but some pointers to get you in the right direction:

Chronological order please. If you have more than say 10 years experience, then put your career first, then academics (unless you have recently completed an important qualification such as MBA, in which case reverse this order of prominence).

Detail each position by achievement/value add rather than responsibility i.e. what the issue/project was, the problem, your solution or contribution and the positive outcome. If you can quantify the outcome such as 23% increase in retention or £1.5m project sold etc so much the better.

No one - and I mean no one - is interested in your interests outside of work, unless you have done something impressive - climbed Mt Everest for example. Don't tell me you like to read, or for that matter tell me about your family, what you are like as a person, include philosophical quotes etc (seen it done ad infinitum and hate it).

No date of birth - you don't need to tell them and they have no right to ask.

Experience beyond 10 - 15 years, unless very relevant, can be bundled into a single entry with a point that details can be provided.

Do not start your CV with a statement about your 25 years of experience - this makes you look old frankly.

Personal profiles are ok if you actually use it to highlight what's in your CV - again I am not interested in being told you are a dynamic project shaper and rainmaker with 90 years of high level experience.

Plenty of white space - nice big margins and space things out well so it looks good.

Look at 'scan value' after you have a draft - when you run your eyes over it for a particular role, do key terms and phrases stick out which makes it look right to someone with 10 seconds to make a decision whether to spend another 3 minutes reading it in detail? Make sure you use industry accepted terms and key 'buzz words' throughout (not too liberally though!).

Get someone else to check it for spelling, grammar and scan value.

Get someone else to check it again.

Don't worry about breaking the 2 page rule - this is almost always ignored for an experienced hire, and as CVs are usually in soft copy now the distinction is irrelevant. So long as it is succint.

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#5 RE: Advice on revising my CV
08/05/2009 16:14

I'm still coining it in to Mars A Day (#4)

Quiet day Mars?

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#6 RE: Advice on revising my CV
08/05/2009 16:25

Rudgie to Mars A Day (#4)

Thanks Mars, that's really useful stuff. Until I've got something to critique all I'm looking for is general advice & that's spot on.

You've also confirmed what I thought about a couple of things like profiles & hobbies. I always think profiles are toe-curling nonsense. They normally just read like an exercise in buzzword bingo.


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#7 RE: Advice on revising my CV
08/05/2009 16:41

Cynic to deleted (#0)

Interested to read the bit about the date of birth thing. The more I think about it, the more I realise that including your DoB can only work against you - hence it's a good idea to leave it out. Sure they can figure out your age from years of experience or dates elsewhere on the CV, but bringing attention to it only really leaves you open to them thinking 'too young' or 'too old' regardless of whether it's right or wrong for them to do that.

Regarding the hobbies thing, I do think it's sort of irrelevant, yet is helpful to balance the CV with something to show that you're actually a real human being and not a robot? It could be useful for building empathy or a light hearted discussion point or whatever?

I think one of the main challenges is how to deal with the irritating question that often gets asked... <b>"WHAT'S YOUR CURRENT SALARY? PLEASE SPECIFY EXACT AMOUNT AND FULL DETAILS OF ANY BONUSES, PENSION CONTRIBUTIONS, ETC"</b> How do you deal with that one? All skilled negotiators know that the first person who mentions a number (in any negotiation) is the one who 'loses'... so how do you make sure it's not you?

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#8 RE: Advice on revising my CV
08/05/2009 17:34

Jetlag to Mars A Day (#4)


Top post - useful for lots of people in same situation as the original poster.


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#9 RE: Advice on revising my CV
11/05/2009 08:26

Mars A Day to Cynic (#7)

Cynic, just picking up on 2 points you mentioned:

Interests: my point is largely towards those who put things like reading, socialising, enjoy movies etc. Any sport could be a good inclusion, but frankly at this level of experience is irrelevant. Most interviews will have a moment when you are asked what you do outside of work, whether to unwind or whatever. But you won't get an interview because you play golf, or like classic car restoration etc. So best left off and use the space for relevant details and not overcrowd the CV.

Salary: a point which gets debated at length on here. My advice is this - what you are currently on is not what you will move for. Tell them what you are on in answer to the question. Then tell them what you want in order to move, but wait until they make an offer - so you know they want you. Its surprising how many companies will suddenly find wriggle room to negotiate. You prob won't get the exact £ you want, but close enough.

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#10 RE: Advice on revising my CV
11/05/2009 09:45

Big Consultant to deleted (#0)


I will choose to disagree with you on the salary bit.

Lets say you are joining from industry where you were being paid £45K by a company that does not pay much (e.g. retailers) and you did not particularly negotiate well (or at all) due to reasons like you were joining from redundancy or trying to enter a role like strategy.

And you are being interviewed for a senior consultant role in a Big 4 that pays between £48K-£70K. Lets say you have 4 years of strategy experience and 7 years overall of quality blue chip experience, surely they should be able to pay you something between £55K-60K. But once you tell them your salary, I can guarantee that you will not get above £52K. If you don't, you could negotiate as much as £58K, if not even more than £60K.

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#11 RE: Advice on revising my CV
11/05/2009 10:11

Mars A Day to Big Consultant (#10)

Big Cons you are overcomplicating this - one of the reasons people on this forum tie themselves in knots around salary negotiations. Here is the rationale, and it applies regardless of how complex the situation is. You can add in nuances to suit your particular negotiation.

Hiring company will ask you what you earn: no real way round this, unless you lie and lose the P45. Better to tell them straight. Qualify the details if needed - e,g. retail being an underpaid sector. My view though is that if they are recruiting from retail they want your retail expertise, and therefore already know (probably better than you) just what the spread of remuneration is in retail.

Conclude the selection process. Until they WANT you there is no negotiation.

Let them make an offer. Indicate before hand that you expect 'market value'. Leave it nicely ambiguous.

If you don't like the offer, tell them you like the co/opportunity, but the offer needs to be better - i,.e market value. Don't blink (this is where people fall down - they blink i.e. believe their market value to be whatever they are offered).

You do not have to accept an offer, but negotiating at this point puts you in a much better position - the hiring co has invested billable time in you, and is usually reluctant to go back to market to start again. Also you have made a personal impression on those you met - you recommended you as a hire, and there may be pressing projects in the pipeline they want you on immediately.

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#12 RE: Advice on revising my CV
11/05/2009 10:47

Big Consultant to Mars A Day (#11)


Most of the time, I find they ask for your salary details right from the first interview or even before they meet you via the recruitment agent. Not after the 3 round selection process.

It is all a ploy to have an unfair upperhand in negotiations. And most people have little choice but to dance to the tune in this market especially if they are out of a job or about to be out of one.

I just advice people to politely decline to state their salary and provide a market rate they feel their skills are worth. They wouldn't tell you the salary your future colleagues, at the grade you are interviewing for, are earning to help you in your negotiations, why should you give them information to help their negotiations?

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#13 RE: Advice on revising my CV
11/05/2009 11:29

experienced telco to Mars A Day (#11)

Very useful post there Mars. Nicely detailled negotiation strategy.

Out of interest how would people deal with the same situation internally. I have been offered a new role internally for which I know the range internally is from £80k-£110k. I am currently on £60k and being told that due to current ecomic conditions there are no pay rises so I can expect the same.

How do I deal with this? In my view it's not a payrise as its a new role and I should be paid internal market rates!!

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#14 RE: Advice on revising my CV
11/05/2009 15:50

Mars A Day to experienced telco (#13)

Negotiating internally is usually much the same, but the circumstances offer a potential to get some medium term gains at the expense of short term salary increase.

If your employer won't raise your salary in line with what the role usually attracts it might be worthwhile pushing for other benefits to compensate - frankly anything you can get. Also consider where this will place you when we see the upturn - and already confidence is beginning to return - will this role make you more marketable in the resurgent marketplace? If you have experience of the more senior role, on 60K say and would be prepared to go to market at 70 - 80 that makes you a compelling proposition as there will still be remuneration pressures for some time after a recovery. You could take that experience to another firm in due course.

To negotiate for a higher salary now is tricky - you'll need to know what the pulls are for the company i.e. what negative effects will your not taking the role have for the company and are there other contenders they would be able to offer should you decline? My advice would be to take the more senior role assuming they can do something to incentivise it. Ask your line manager rather than HR - they are more likely to fight your case. Think in forseeable blocks of time -6 Months ahead in the current market I would suggest.

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#15 RE: Advice on revising my CV
12/05/2009 11:43

Headhunter to Rudgie (#1)

I trust you will ifnd this of luck !!

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#16 RE: Advice on revising my CV
20/05/2009 19:29

CVER to Headhunter (#15)

When compiling a consulting CV, does anyone have any good formats for describing the different projects and roles one would have worked on?

I only have 2.5y experience (5-6 roles) so is it best to treat each like a new position? (Points on outcome/achievements rather than responsibilities noted)


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#17 RE: Advice on revising my CV
21/05/2009 15:07

rudgie to Headhunter (#15)

Headhunter: Thanks - that's useful stuff as well.

Much appreciated.


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