Why a CV should tell your own story

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Why a CV should tell your own story

Sometimes when reading a really enjoyable book, you just don’t want it to end. You might actually slow down your reading in order to pace it out and make it last longer. That ability to immerse yourself so deeply is down to the quality of the story. You are drawn in through the writer creating an enticing visual picture. The same is true for writing a compelling CV.

Painting pictures with words

When reading a CV our experience is stored as a visual memory. The words on their own are virtually meaningless. It is how we translate what is written into a visual association that makes the reading engaging. The more clearly you can draw these pictures, the more powerful and interesting your CV will be to read. You want to take the reader on a journey, your journey.

Why hypothetical statements don’t work

Many CVs just look like copied and pasted job descriptions. The challenge with this is that job descriptions are generic and written hypothetically. Often, they begin ‘the postholder will…’. Job descriptions are usually written about a set of duties and responsibilities associated with a role type. There may be lots of people in one organisation with the same job description. Yet each person’s actual experience will be different. It is your personal experience through projects, assignments and achievements that are of interest to an employer. Show the difference you have made.

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Be anecdotal

Through demonstrating by example, your CV will become much more memorable. Think of the five most significant achievements you have made in the last 3 years. Another way of looking at it is to think about all the things you would like to talk about at interview. These should be about your most recent or relevant key achievements. Use facts and figures to support the outcomes. Facts and figures can also help in describing the scale and complexity of a project. Within finance most achievements will have a measurable outcome be that increasing automation, reducing costs or risks or enabling increased profit.  

Base your CV in real life experience

By grounding information on your actual experience, you can make points much more visual and memorable. Using facts and figures also enables the reader to understand the true value in what you have achieved. So be explicit and descriptive. Whilst your CV might not read like a JK Rowling novel it will certainly be much more memorable through painting visual pictures.

This article is written by Neville Rose, Director of CV Writers.

CV Writers are the official CV partner to ACCA Careers.

In addition to a CV writing service they can help with LinkedIn profiles, cover letters and interview coaching. You can get things started with a Free CV Review.


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