Increasingly we’re meeting engineering professionals from all walks of life who are facing the same issues and who are unsure about how to navigate these in the new world of job search. What is clear is that doing the same things to find a job today as you did five or ten years ago will no longer produce the same results.
Just as everything else has an updated style and function, so too your CV may need a modern facelift to make a strong first impression and enhance your ability to capture your next great career opportunity.
Long gone are the days of creating a single CV that you send to every potential employer. But as tempting as it may be to populate your CV with charts, graphs and coloured highlights, its worth considering whether these tactics actually add clarity to your story or simply take up space which could otherwise be used to convey your value.
So rather than downloading elaborate fonts or decorative icons, here are seven genuinely persuasive ways to solidify your personal brand on paper and gain the consideration you need to advance your career.
- A modern CV must be “laser focused” to your job targets.
It needs to be rich with keywords that resonate with employers. What’s relevant to one employer may not be the case for the next, so think carefully about what you include to avoid diluting your value.
- Advancing your career requires a positive mindset.
Recognising every job search has its ups and downs, so if you’re not short-listed for a vacancy, invited to an interview or offered the job, accept that you weren’t chosen without thinking of yourself as a failure. Instead, analyse what went well and what was less successful and don’t forget to revisit your CV.
- Impress and inform your CV reader with specifics.
Step back and think about yourself. What are the most important specific things about you as a candidate that demonstrate your value to a new employer? These elements make up your unique value proposition. What’s the quickest and easier way to get these noticed? Highlight them under a heading or subheading called ‘Achievements’ so they don’t get overlooked in the rundown of your other contributions.
- Professional Summary vs. Objective statements.
By and large, Objective statements are antiquated and have been replaced by a Summary section. When you include an Objective, you’re telling employers what you want from them. But, frankly more often than not, they don’t care. By contrast, a Summary statement focuses on what you can do for an employer, i.e. your strongest areas of expertise and other information that conveys your value.
- Enrich your achievements by placing them in a context.
It’s one thing to convey an achievement. But you can take it to the next level when you show how significant the achievement really is when you place it in a larger context.
For example, at first glance, this appears to be an impressive achievement: “Reduced manufacturing time by 22%”. Yet you can make it so much stronger by saying: Recruited to reverse declining productivity and modernise production techniques. In less than 18 months, successfully reduced manufacturing time by 22% by introducing…..”
- Showcase your career with the right CV structure.
Both functional (skills-based) CVs and purely chronological CVs have given way to a modern format combining elements of both.
Combination CVs generally include three critical content sections: Summary, Experience and Education.” However, depending on the circumstance, any of the following may prove useful: Skills Summary, Achievements Summary, Technical Qualifications or Technical Skills, Professional Credentials, Board Appointments, Community Involvement, Volunteering, Languages, Patents and Publications.
- Write your CV for the way people read.
The general rule of thumb is that any CV only gets about 6-10 seconds of eyeball time. To make the most of that very limited exposure you will want to write short paragraphs, add white space between paragraphs and bullets, limit your bullet list to 5-7 items in each list, and use headings and subheadings to segment and introduce information.
When it comes to the engineering sector, most modern CVs don’t have to be jam-packed with infographics and images to make a good impression. In fact, overdoing this could be detrimental to your success. Your CV needs look professional, be easy-to-read, and show employers that you have the right skill and knowledge to perform in their organisation. Focus on getting these seven elements right, and you’ll be armed with an effective CV that wins you plenty of interviews.