Creating a Winning CV and LinkedIn Profile

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

In his first article, Phil Hutchinson-May a Director at FMCG Central talked about the importance of taking time to reflect to understand more about your strengths and the roles you’ve enjoyed most.

We’ve focused on your 4 key strengths and the 4 things you want from your next career move. Now we’re going to look at creating your CV and LinkedIn profile.

 2. Creating a Winning CV and LinkedIn Profile

In my 25 year FMCG recruitment career this is the topic that most people want to focus on. Creating a positive CV seems to be the part of the recruitment process that most people jump to as the most important thing to “get right”. It is important and after reading thousands of CVs over 25 years I’d like to share some thoughts with you.

In that time I’ve seen all manner of CVs: with fancy fonts, type-faces and layouts – logos, pictures and graphs. Some remarkable photos of smiling or rather earnest looking candidates all keen to impress and present the “right” image.

But therein lies the fundamental point. There is no “right” image. This is your CV and you are unique and so must be your CV. Sure there are guidelines to follow and it needs to be clear and easy to read, but please ensure that it is true to you, your strengths and achievements to date.

There are companies which charge hundreds of pounds for “Professional CV Writing” services. Yes, they will offer you advice and support and why not look online for ideas. However, most CVs follow a similar format. I’ve highlighted some guidelines and tips below.

  • You need to include your personal details (my thoughts would be at the end of your CV out of the way)
  • A profile statement (four comments to back up your strengths)
  • Then your career to date. This needs to start with your most recent role, with your responsibilities and your achievements. Then go back through your career to explain the roles you’ve had and your successes.
  • Include details with numbers, percentages and tangible results where you can – clearly being careful about confidentiality.
  • Also include your academic background.
  • Then a short section about you. Explain a little about your interests and out of work achievements.

Remember, there are no right and wrong answers here. This is your CV and needs to reflect who you are and your achievements.

LinkedIn is pretty much ubiquitous nowadays and having a strong profile is essential. The same guidelines apply as a CV, but here you can add skills, join groups, recommend others, like posts and more. This is a whole topic in itself. My advice is to invest time as part of your career action plan to keep your LinkedIn profile relevant and up to date. The more active you are and the more details on your profile – the more likely it is that a recruiter will “find” you in a search for their role.

Some recruiters will also look at your other social media profiles (including twitter, Facebook and Instagram) so be sure that they give the impression you want. Have a look at your profiles, ask others and review your privacy settings to understand how others see you online.

Remember the critical consideration is that your CV and online profiles should represent who you are, not a cut and paste copy of what someone else thinks you should be.

In the next article we will look at turning your thoughts into a realistic career action plan.