LinkedIn is a wonderful tool for advertising yourself to potential employers, but writing the perfect CV is critical. At Hartigan we’re increasingly seeing candidates who spend a great deal of time curating their LinkedIn profile, but it’s becoming rare to find a striking CV that’s crafted with love, care, and attention.
CVs matter today as much as ever. While employers and recruiters will certainly look at your online profiles, it’s much easier for them to work with a single concise document detailing your skills, experiences, and successes. Given that you have approximately six seconds to make a good impression, Hartigan brings you our guide Howto write the perfect PR CV, that demands attention.
If anything makes a recruiter’s heart sink, it is receiving a generic CV that shows no evidence of having been tailored to the advertised job. Employers want to know why you’re the best of the bunch and while you have to list qualifications and experience, it’s just as important that you demonstrate a degree of engagement with the role.
Think of your CV as a living document; one that needs tinkering with every time it goes out to a prospective employer. Show that you understand what they are looking for, and change the focus depending on the job description, the specific responsibilities you’ll be expected to perform, and even the culture of your prospective employers. Not only will this make you stand out from the crowd, it’s also a powerful subliminal compliment to the people who will be assessing you at interview.
Achievements, not tasks
Employers are not just looking for someone who has relevant experience: they want someone who has excelled at that job. So don’t just write about your responsibilities – shout about your successes.
Your CV is one of the few times in your life where it’s acceptable to boast about yourself (within reason), so don’t pass up this opportunity to talk about your achievements. Brief highlights – great coverage hits, client wins, expectations exceeded, challenges surmounted – give a much richer picture of your ‘ability to execute’. This is also your opportunity to start crafting your job role before you’re even hired: if you demonstrate your unique abilities early on, it will force prospective employers to think how to they can best use your skillset.
Recruiters might take six seconds to make their initial judgement, but your CV will make an impression in the blink of an eye – simply from how it looks on the page. Impressive as your experience and qualifications may be, no-one wants to wade through big blocks of text, which is why you should think carefully about CV design.
Ask any designer and they’ll tell you that less is more: instead of crowding your CV with every detail of your working life, use fresh, open formats with clearly-labelled that makes it easy for the recruiter to navigate. Think how well infographics work: they can communicate detailed information in bite-size formats thanks to creative use of layouts and graphic. Take some time to look at various CV formats online such as these for ideas that you can borrow and adapt.
As a creative industry, public relations people are expected to think outside the box, so why not consider doing something differently with your CV? One of the main goals of PR is to grab attention, and if you can show creativity with your CV you’ll be sure to stand out, while also demonstrating original thinking.
How you do it is up to you, but it’s probably best to avoid the CV-in-the-style-of-a-press-release gambit, which is getting a bit hackneyed nowadays. You can write a great, attention-grabbing CV without using a gimmick, but if you have a relevant, arresting, and above all original idea, then you’ve got nothing to lose by giving it a go. At the very least, it will turn the chore of drafting your CV into a fun, creative challenge.
Finally, remember that you don’t have to do it all on your own. It’s always good to get feedback from friends or colleagues, but remember that Hartigan also runs a CV clinic. If you think your CV could do with a brush-up, send it over to us and we’ll help you turn it into a document that makes your skills and experience shine.