Working with a professional CV writer – a senior finance professional's journey

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In this series, professional CV writer Neville Rose, director of CV Writers, works with ACCA affiliates and members at various stages of their careers to write CVs that will help them achieve their goals. We get to see questions, doubts and misconceptions about CVs explained by an expert, while also getting an idea of what it's like to work with a professional CV writer. We'll share LinkedIn profiles and, hopefully, a few success stories.

How do ACCA Career and CV services work for a senior finance professional? 

Irina Kumpan recently moved to the UK from the Ukraine. As a chief finance officer (CFO), Irina has significant experience in leading financial strategy in medium sized international companies. Despite applying for over 50 jobs in five months, Irina said: 'I have become increasingly frustrated in not having secured employment. I have been using LinkedIn together with my CV and cover letter to apply for jobs but have only secured a few interviews working with a recruiter.'

Always tailor your CV for every role

ACCA Careers set up an initial exploratory chat with Neville Rose, director of CV Writers, the official CV partner to ACCA Careers. Neville asked whether Irina had been tailoring the CV for different roles and it transpired that she had been using the same version for different applications. Neville stressed the importance of tailoring and adapting the CV even for roles with a similar job title, as requirements can be very different. 

Plan before a CV consultation

Neville agreed to assist Irina with her CV, cover letter and LinkedIn profile. They agreed a further in-depth consultation. In the meantime, Irina would research and gather a job description that best represents her target roles and email to Neville to use as a focus. Neville forwarded Irina a consultation preparation sheet so she could think about her achievements and personal qualities prior to the consultation. 

Think about your achievements… 

The CV consultation was conducted via Teams, which enabled a friendly discussion about Irina’s achievements and a greater understanding of the scale and scope of her responsibilities. Neville said: 'It quickly transpired Irina had a strong track record in leading major change programmes that significantly enhanced financial performance in line with the objectives of the companies she worked with. This was repeated time and again.'

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…and include facts and figures

Neville sought to glean facts and figures and focused on the most recent years of Irina’s career and commented: 'It is always good to keep the CV short and punchy, ideally to two pages. Recruiters do not equate the length of a CV with the ability to carry out a senior role. Employers want to know what candidates have been doing most recently, so the focus should mainly be on the previous five years, with less detail on roles going further back in time.'

Write from the external perspective

When moving abroad, thinking through and understanding what the external reader will understand and what they won’t becomes imperative. This makes company descriptions very important. As Irina’s experience is mainly within Russia and the CIS region, Neville ensured the services and products, turnover and size of the employer were clearly explained. This enabled the reader to understand the context of Irina’s achievements more clearly.

Keep the CV to two pages, even for senior roles

A new two-page CV and cover letter were emailed to Irina as agreed a few days later. Irina was happy with the CV and approved it with a couple of minor clarifications. Neville then wrote a LinkedIn profile ensuring a consistent story with the CV but also being mindful that, as LinkedIn is a public document, not to include sensitive information. 

Feel confident in using your new CV

Irina is now excited about using her new CV, cover letter and LinkedIn profile to apply for jobs and hopes that her recent frustrations will be put behind her. Irina said: 'I'm looking forward to experimenting with my new CV.' Neville summarised: 'Going through the consultation process can be a cathartic experience for clients in reflecting on their achievements and feeling a sense of pride and worth through this. Applying for jobs can be frustrating, but it’s important to keep positive and a new CV and approach can re-invigorate your appetite.'

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 career counselling, LinkedIn profiles, cover letters and interview coaching. You can get things started with a free CV review.

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