How to write a CV that converts, landing you more interviews!

Benefits of working stood up
January 25, 2021

Kayleigh FazanWe’re incredibly pleased to bring you this week’s blog (and hopefully many more) in collaboration with guest contributor Kayleigh Fazan.

Kayleigh is an established international retail leader who founded her business, The International Retail Academy in 2020. As a people driven person, she makes it her mission to help others succeed by truly enjoying a happy career in retail. Happy people = better business. Here, Kayleigh guides you through the steps you can take today to succeed on your journey of gaining new employment…

You can find more about Kayleigh’s training and development academy by visiting www.theinternationalretailacademy.com

Having read thousands of CV’s, interviewed as many candidates internationally across all fields of retail, I want to bring YOU the inside scoop of exactly how you can go from the ghosted candidate into the yes pile, how to get more calls to interviews and ultimately, land your next role faster. I want you to secure that interview!
Let me rewind and set the scene for just how powerful and influential your CV is (or not…)

Consider this.
Let’s say the reader of your CV has 15 things ‘to do’ in any given day. 15 things are on their work agenda that day. Their mind is already full of other things too; health, lunch, kids and appointments…our brains are incredibly busy.
Reading a pile of applications is one of those things on his/her to do list. Just one! Each CV has similar experience – so if you’ve been an area manager for 10 years, your competitors have probably been an area manager too. You’ve been responsible for a group of 20 stores, guess what, your competitor probably has too.

So how on earth can you tip the scale in your favor? How can you be noticed?
Narrative. Subtle, yet deliberate enhancements of your narrative.

You’re not going to write a novel, you want to leave room for curiosity to spike, and in doing so you have hooked the reader!

Your CV is an incredibly powerful document that could literally change your life! If you really want a new job, pay attention to your CV, your Cover Letter and your LinkedIn profile. Get everything firing from all cylinders. Set yourself up for success. You deserve that.

The first thing to consider is your layout. Start with your details at the top.
Your name, mobile, email and location. Keep this brief.
Marital status, date of birth is not necessary and it’s wasting precious space.

Then, write your professional summary. This is 3-4 well-structured sentences to capture the readers attention. THIS alone can actually lead to a phone call for an interview! DO NOT fall into the trap of passive phrases that everyone else will write, such as ‘I work well in a team and am self-motivated’ hmmm, think about this.
The basic fundamentals of any employee are to work well in a team, right? As a decent human being you should have this skill etched into the very fabric of everyday living. Of course you work well in a team. No one will hire anyone that cannot do this. Also, being self-motivated is pretty critical too. Who has time to micromanage people? If the pandemic taught us anything is that working from home, one must demonstrate an ability to be self-motivated. Stay away from these points. They are pre requisites that simply must exist.

Let me tell you from 20 years experience; writing those safe and predictable lines will not maximize your chance.
Be bolder, be braver. Your aim is to stand out and get noticed.

Your professional summary acts as the hook. To catch the fish!

Following your summary, you want to move straight into ‘Career Experience’ Under each role, create 5-6 bullet points. The first bullet point should be a killer, knockout punch! The reader will always read the top few bullet points and your CV ‘hotspot’ in the top third of the document. Make it count.

Which one of these statements grabs your attention?
“Responsible for a region of 15 stores with a turnover of 30million
OR
“Leading a wide region of 15 high-profile stores generating 30million in gross revenue, driving a year on year growth of +5% net profit


The first is factual. However, it is bland. When reading this, nothing really sparks in my mind, I’m not excited or inspired at all. The second one strikes some curiosity. High-profile stores, this is interesting. Probably this person has managed complex layouts, city stores, and large format locations in malls. Also this person knows business. They understand that sales matter and have demonstrated and proven their impact. They are commercial. I am going to call that second candidate. I’d be crazy not to.
First impressions are made within ten seconds! That is all it takes. A person reading your application may only spend a minute scanning through the words. I invite you to therefore use more action-based words as you commence each bullet point. Words such as spearheaded, transformed, created, initiated, pioneered, slashed, established and more. These words set you up as the achiever. Someone who has the influence and impact to get stuff done!

Ever heard of the phrase ‘people will forget what you said or what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel’? – This is also true with your CV. A well-written CV will make the reader feel inspired. Feel curious. Feel excited. And you know what? Feelings lead to actions!

Your application is a sales tool to convert the reader into saying yes to you. Serve yourself and get to the finish line faster.
The power is literally in your hands.

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