7 ways HR Professionals can radically improve their CVs and LinkedIn Profiles
If there’s one thing I know I’ll do this week, it’s give people CV advice – or resume advice as my North American clients say.
That and fall asleep watching Graham Norton on Friday night.
Trust me, I’ve been doing this for 28 years (the CV bit). Almost everyone’s CV, resume and LinkedIn profile can be improved.
Make your CV and your LinkedIn profile one and the same
Your LinkedIn profile is your online CV. So spend as much time refining it as you do your CV. Ask for recommendations from relevant colleagues – the more senior the better – as well as from those you managed. Once your profile is rich with quality testimonials and contextualised evidence-based experience (more on that in a minute) make sure you link to it from your CV.
Have a good photo on your LinkedIn profile
Your CV shouldn’t have a photo but your LinkedIn profile should. Remember to dress appropriately for the sector you work in too – if you work in media and don’t wear a suit for work, then you don’t need to be suited and booted in your photo. Please make sure that your photo is appropriate and looks professional – this is not Facebook! So no photos of you living it up on a boat, cuddling your child/dog/cat/horse, or holding a bottle of wine at a party. Yes, I have seen all of those. No, I’m not exaggerating.
Treat your CV and LinkedIn profile as sales documents
Amazingly, even the most senior level candidates I work with (such as those commanding 250k+ salaries) still don’t always know how to sell themselves. A CV isn’t merely a list of jobs and experiences; it is a proven record of success. And it must read this way. Every experience on there should be backed up with evidence of your success in that role.
Start with a functional summary
It’s essential that you get the opening summary right; recruiters won’t read on if you don’t! These few lines should sum up your unique experience while neatly angling you towards the role you’re applying for – so remember to adapt your summary accordingly. The summary is usually split into three parts, starting with what you are – e.g. “A commercial FCIPD qualified Group HR Director with considerable experience managing restructuring, M&A and related integration activities”– followed by your unique selling point “Creating and implementing dynamic strategies for corporate remuneration committees” and finishing with your top three to five ‘value added’ skills (more on those in a minute).
Include a quotation from a previous employer
You could follow your summary with a one- or two-line quotation from a previous employer (you can always lift this from a testimonial). This will make your CV and profile stand out, and is particularly useful for timid candidates who struggle to shout about their achievements. Use something short but impactful like: “Debbie drove commercial performance across the organisation. She had had a profound impact on our bottom line,” Joe Bloggs, CEO at A Company You Worked For.
Showcase your ‘value added’ skills
These are your skills that add value to employers. You should have three to five of them listed in your functional summary as concise bullet points. Think of these as commercially as you possibly can. A company is investing in you, after all, so spell out your ROI – what did you do personally that made a difference? If you can, specify how you identified the problem, designed a solution, tested it, implemented it, and measured its effectiveness. You want an employer to read this and say, “Wow, look at what this person could do for us!”
Add context – without it you’re nothing
Beyond your summary, will come your career history – which is where people always fail to add enough context. You worked at a FTSE 250 company for two years as an HR Business Partner? Fantastic! But what is the company and what did you do for them exactly? Remember to briefly describe the business (its size and sector) before explaining whom you reported into, managed, and how your performance was assessed. Paint a picture of the company and your time there and include KPIs. Do everything you can to better demonstrate the critical impact you had.
Paskpartnership Ltd is an independently owned HR search and selection company, specialising in the recruitment of permanent and interim HR professionals across all of the functional HR disciplines and in all industry sectors. To understand more about us and how we work, please visit www.paskpartnership.com