The Importance of a Professional CV

John had just graduated and was very excited about getting his first job. He prepared what he thought was a very slick, professional CV. But in spite of excellent grades, recommendations and weeks of preparation on how to dress and what to say at the interview, he failed to get the job. Deeply confused, he took his case to a graduate career advisor, who found that John hadn't taken the time to prepare a truly professional CV. The recruiter noted a jarring contrast between his professional demeanor and his sloppy CV.

Writing a CV these days involves so much more than just listing your experience. Creating a professional CV is indispensable to getting the most desirable jobs and goes hand in hand with a successful career. Recruiters skim through thousands of job applications every day, so a professional CV is the best way to get noticed, get the interview, and get the job.

What are these?

Understanding the Professional CV

Professional employees are those who act with integrity, understand the job requirements, communicate well with others, and are willing to adapt to the organisation's requirements. A professional CV is like a professional employee; it must convey all those characteristics to help you land the job you're looking for.

For starters, a professional CV always includes certain standard details that most recruiters are interested in:

  • Personal information - name, address, full contact information
  • Personal profile and/or career objectives
  • Skills and achievements
  • Work experience
  • Education
  • References

Beyond the basics, a professional CV will include a number of other key qualities that will put you one step closer to achieving your career goals. It all starts with knowing two things:

  • Know Your Audience. Writing a professional CV requires knowledge about the position and the recruitment process. Examining the job advertisement carefully, researching the company, and contacting the recruiter's office to clarify what the position entails are all likely to contribute to a CV that's suited to the job. A professional CV is always customised to a particular job or recruiter's requirements.
  • Know Yourself. One of the most difficult aspects of writing a professional CV is the task of 'selling' yourself convincingly without fibs, exaggerations or boastfulness. But underselling yourself is a more common problem. Many applicants find it difficult to translate their achievements or experiences into skills that are relevant to the recruiter. In order to prepare a professional CV, it is essential to avoid achievement amnesia. A professional CV highlights key experiences that a stand out for a recruiter or potential employer: projects completed on a shoestring budget or a tight schedule; sales targets exceeded; innovative techniques you introduced, etc. Make a list of everything you've accomplished in your professional or academic career. This will be indispensable when writing your CV.

When you know your target audience and have a clear picture of what you've achieved, your professional CV will bridge the gap between the recruiter's needs and your skills as a candidate.

How to write a CV:

  • Beat the filters. Recruiters often employ specialised software to extract critical information from your CV, converting it into a standard format. So it's important that your CV presents information in a way that gets you noticed. A high quality, professional CV is prepared with this sort of filtering in mind. Spending hours on formatting, fancy typefaces, and eye-catching designs is a waste of time and may even hurt your chances. A truly professional CV focuses on key data like achievements and skills. Creating an iProfile gives you an edge by providing a dynamic online CV format that is used by thousands of hiring professionals in the UK and which conforms to industry standard terminology and formatting. It allows you to pin point the skills which best represent you, so recruiters can match you to the most appropriate roles.
  • Keep it Real (and Relevant). A professional CV highlights relevant information in a relevant manner. Leave out the addresses of all the institutions you went to, your gender, marital status, age passport details, etc. A professional CV attempts to quantify skills and actual experience, such as: "Presented results of inaugural sales campaign to Board of Directors and key investors". Recruiters notice it when concise, relevant information is presented in plain English in a professional CV.
  • Mind your Language. One of the easiest ways to spot an unprofessional CV is grammatical errors, spelling mistakes or incomprehensible terminology. You may be hitting all the right notes, but if your CV is riddled with sloppy mistakes, it will never come across as a professional CV. Read, re-read and ask your friends and relatives to read your CV before you send it out into the world.

Writing the Perfect iProfile CV

Once you've outlined the elements of your professional CV, iProfile lets you create and store it online free of charge and makes it available to recruiters and employers throughout the UK. iProfile also provides more tips on writing a professional online CV. For that extra edge, view our articles on CV writing, job searching and more.