Is your CV fit for purpose? Does it act as a showcase for your skills and experience? As other recent Careers Advice articles have pointed out, your CV is a marketing brochure designed to secure an interview.
An energetic CV is one which is accomplishments-driven: recruiters want to read about more than your previous job titles. “The idea that your CV is your entire work history is in the past”, says Lynn Williams, careers expert and author of many books on the subject including The Ultimate Job Search (published by Kogan Page).
“Employers want to know what you can do and will do,” says Williams. “Keep it very precise and focussed. It is a good idea to use bullet points, even in the cover letter.
“It is up to you, the applicant, to point out what you can do, in order to create a picture of yourself doing the job you are applying for. Don’t leave it to the recruiter’s imagination”, she says.
In addition it is important to tailor your CV and application to each job. A custom-designed CV will have impact, and you will achieve this if you have researched the role, and the employer, thoroughly.
“Each CV and application should be tailored to the employer and illustrate a match between your skills and experience and its brand values," says Richard Gelder, director at Hays Property & Surveying. This will reassure the employer that you will be a good cultural fit.
"Just as importantly, if your application is successful you will be working in a business environment with those stated values, and so extend your research beyond the company website to read how the company is perceived and how it fulfils those values.
“When you review your CV and letter of application check that it makes it clear that you understand the property industry. This will be reflected in your technical understanding of the industry and how you can demonstrate your own contribution to specific projects.”
It is important to be honest with yourself, when thinking through the employer’s values, but also to write a truthful document.
“Our belief is that the main purpose of a successful CV is to convey who you are and what you have achieved”, says Kathryn Hayter, director of KHA, specialist recruiters to the housebuilding sector. “To do this you have to be yourself; there is no point trying to be someone that you are not, and honesty is key.”
Hayter says that the hallmarks of a good CV are transparency and evidence of success—particularly where you have added value to the business.
“In the housebuilding sector employers are concerned about a candidate’s achievements, reputation, attitude and personality. Be clear about what your activities have added to the business; so, for example, if you work in sales or land what did you add in monetary terms. Or if you are construction-, or design-based did you or your team win any awards? Detail what you have contributed to the business”, she says.
Part of the employment currency in the close-knit property professions is to hold a good reputation. One way of demonstrating this, and adding some energy to your CV, is to include a short testimonial in a prominent position on your CV.
“This could be a couple of sentences, or a paragraph from a work associate or colleague. Again this can help to add evidence to back-up your reputation and achievements. I would add that they of course need to give you permission to do so”, says Hayter.
A tricky area for candidates is the order for listing separate sections on education and experience, and deciding which should appear first after the personal summary section? “Work experience trumps academic qualifications every time”, says Hayter, “and so make it visible from the get-go. And for every role you’ve had, be sure to list achievements and responsibilities.”
The real you
Neither employers nor recruiters want to see distracting detail on a CV, but, argues Hayter, it is vital to list some interests and hobbies. “They reveal the real you – yes employers want someone who is experienced to do the job, but even more importantly they want to know that you will fit into their culture. This is a hugely important part of your resume”, she says.
If you are writing a more speculative CV, to be placed on a database, make sure that it is a secure database. With these assurances, as Dan Smith, sales manager of Estates Gazette Property Jobs points out in the 'How to be head-hunted in 2016' article, you can be positioned just a few clicks away from the recruiters’ radar.