How to write the perfect CV

Recruiting in the Time of Covid – How to Write the Perfect CV

Writing the perfect CV is somewhat of a dark art. There is information abound on how to write a CV but it seems that there is an enormous amount of contradiction and confusion surrounding the subject.

As expert recruiters for the Wealth Management, Family Office and Private Banking sectors, we have encountered what must amount to hundreds of thousands of CV’s over the course of our careers, some great, many average and a few terrible. Using our accumulated knowledge, we aim to shine some light on the subject and have put together our own guide to crafting a Rainmaker CV. 

Read on for our advice to help you stand out from your fellow candidates

Tailor your CV for different opportunities

The first paragraph of your CV should be a personal statement where you need to describe yourself, your experience, what you are looking for and where can you add the most value. You should also include contact details such as your name, telephone number, email and postal address so that a potential employer can easily reach you.

If you are looking to move from a Rainmaker position to a Player-Manager position or to the C-Suite, or from the C-Suite to the Board then you will need to tailor your CV accordingly. 

Your CV may be impressive but it will not win you the position you want if it is not relevant to the role. Whilst you can have a general CV including all the key information on your experience thus far, you will also need to write separate drafts in the context of each position you are hoping to interview for. This is especially important if you are looking to transition into a family office role – you need to demonstrate why you are right for the job and why you are right for that family office.

You can do this by creating a bridge between your prior experience and the requirements of the new role. Examine your career history and identify the core skills that will be of most value to your prospective employer. Emphasise your accomplishments over your responsibilities and give quantifiable evidence of what you have delivered in the past and to what timeline.

Use active language instead of passive language

When you are writing about your accomplishments, use active language as much as possible. Include action verbs such as increased, attained, and directed, over passive language. Take ownership of your responsibilities and achievements and include the individual actions you took, rather than focussing on team or company-wide achievements. Wherever possible, provide quantifiable evidence to make your point even clearer. You should aim to go above and beyond the job specification to convince hiring managers that you are the best candidate for the role.

At the same time, you should also take care to portray your experiences as positives rather than negatives. Avoid describing your previous roles in a negative way; employers want to know the pull factors not the push factors.

Check and check again

It doesn’t matter where you are in your career, you are still vulnerable to spelling and grammatical errors. Some statistics put the figure at 58% for the number of CVs that have typos. Get someone else to check your CV for grammatical errors that you may not notice or use a tool like Grammarly. Another trick is to try reading it from bottom to top. By reversing the order, you are more likely to be able to read each line in isolation and comb out any errors. This is really important for senior people who haven’t changed jobs for a long time and may be rewriting their CV completely. 

Keep formatting clean for the perfect CV

Another must for writing the perfect CV is to make sure your formatting is as organised as possible. Use black ink and half-inch margins on the page. Make sure your columns are aligned and have consistent spacing and include your email and contact number on every page, not just the first. Your CV should look as readable as any web page or online article, with a balance of white space and writing rather than enormous blocks of text.

As a general rule of thumb, the perfect CV should not be more than one or two pages maximum, so don’t be tempted to make it too wordy. It’s also a good idea to save your CV as a PDF and a Word document. 

Take feedback on board

Even the most experienced amongst us get CV writing wrong. From simple spelling mistakes to generic content, there are some classic errors that we see time and time again in the CVs we receive at Somers Partnership. There is no need to mention personal information such as gender, age, marital status or anything like that anymore, only focus on the key points that matter to prospective employers.

You can benefit greatly from asking the opinion of friends or colleagues you trust; they will be able to view your CV objectively and should provide you with valuable feedback. Following these tips will help you to ensure you have the perfect CV and increase the likelihood of you being invited for interview. It’s the first step towards getting recruited.

Don’t forget to have half a dozen to a dozen referees ready and on standby including former bosses, peers and people who have known you throughout your career. 

Happy writing!

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