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How to Write a Powerful Curriculum Vitae (CV) for a Tough Marketplace

How to Write a Powerful Curriculum Vitae (CV) for a Tough Marketplace
How to Write a Powerful Curriculum Vitae (CV) for a Tough Marketplace

These days it’s even more important than ever to have an up to date CV; with many jobs being advertised on short notice and Recruitment Agents able to find your profile on social media websites you do not get the same amount of time to compile a CV compared to pre-social media times.

In these tougher economies you are likely to find that employers are still recruiting; however, there is a different emphasis to areas of importance and expertise. If you work in a tough, competitive market then consider these useful actions to produce a highly effective CV for recession, recruitment freeze and organisations that have budget restraints in place.


Every document is read is read top to bottom left to right. A CV is no exception. Your introduction must contain the keywords which are the primary skills of the job you are applying for. Nearly every single Recruiter who is worth their salt uses an Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) rather than manually reading a CV. The ATS will highlight all keywords associated to their search and if your CV has enough keywords towards the top of the document then it is extremely likely that a resourcer will read your CV and start scanning the document for evidence of commercial skills and academic qualifications. This is the first step to making a short list for a top level role.

Breaking Flow

A CV that has been submitted for a top level position must read well as a prerequisite. Common mistakes when writing your own CV include accidentally splitting work history between pages. This error breaks a readers concentration and visually detracts from a CV. There should be no reason to split work history between pages, especially your opening page.

Key Achievements

Employers want to know about your tasks and duties, but they get excited to discover the outcome from your tasks and duties! When trying to stand out from the crowd, a proven technique is to theme your CV to include examples of how you were the most effective, the most productive, able to adapt, secure revenue etc. Demonstrating WHY you are the best through ‘example’ is a method which will allow your CV to become memorable.

Measurable Action

You are clearly an expert in your field and so is the Employer or Recruiter also. You can take advantage of this situation through including non-sensitive commercial information to demonstrate your ability at sales, production, marketing and nearly any thing that you are good at in your current role. Allowing yourself to be ‘compared to’ is a proven method to manufacture your application as a high level candidate who produces results. In a tough economy there is a substantial swing towards candidates who have proven ability to produce revenue, complete projects, save money etc. Using a measurable action within your document is likely to create further positive distance between your CV and other applicants.


Having a valid reason for applying for a position is required; however, this information should not be included within your CV. Motives can be emotionally based such as not liking a company culture, being a high flyer who wants to go to the top or simply that your long term career goal has been to work for brand XYZ.

Your CV must focus on driving you forward as the most suitable individual while your Covering Letter produces evidence to back up your motive for your application.


There are some basic tactics you can employ to help your CV application and even though they are basic they are much overlooked.

All CVs should contain the name of a Referee. It’s good practice. However the majority of applicants do not include the most senior person in the organisation. However, the applicant often met the chairman, reported to the Director or presented to senior board members.

An expert from If Only They Told Me, a resume writing company, writes "Gaining permission to use the most senior person in the organisation as your Referee can be like planting a valuable seed; people know people and this can be used to your advantage (so long as you have their permission)". Always opt for the most senior person to be listed as your Referee; it will add tremendous kudos to an application and is the very last item which is read on your document.

It is important to understand how a market is reacting to CV applications before writing yours. There are standard rules you can apply however such as the six methods/ areas described in this article and different strategies work for different market sectors.

However, one rule stands true and that is to always be prepared, you will never know when you will need your CV. Your CV is a powerful marketing document and should be ready for when you need it.

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