The vehicle you drive requires regular maintenance in order to be able to take you from one place to another. The same can be said of your CV. If you’re considering applying for an executive position, reviewing your CV for effectiveness is a must.

Prospective employers will not have much time available to pore through all the details of your CV. This makes it all the more important to make a positive impact with the information you include, and quickly.

Look at your Layout

How long is your CV? If it’s more than two pages, it’s time to edit it. The first page of your CV for senior management position should not only highlight your strengths, but also effectively communicate that you are the person the recruiter is looking for. Leaving your employment history and personal information for the second page is best, even though this isn’t the way that a CV is usually structured.

If you have an educational background that is related to the job, it should be listed after your personal statement. Otherwise, it should remain on the second page with your employment history.

Revise your Personal Statement

Now that you’ve rearranged your information, take a look at your personal statement. Does it contain attention-grabbing elements that would give the recruiter a reason to want to learn more about what you have to offer? Just as the marketing rule states, “sell, don’t tell.” Don’t tell the recruiter that you are good at senior management; sell them on why.

Clichés like “detail-oriented” have not only been overused, but they offer nothing to the recruiter or employer. Instead, replace these phrases with an explanation of how you will benefit the business. You might include things like an impressive list of contacts, working knowledge of any software they use or your ability to effectively manage high-level projects.

Categorise Your Skills

There are three types of skill under which to categorise what you can offer a company. These are job-related skills, adaptive skills and transferable skills.

Job-related skills are directly related to a specific role. Adaptive skills are those that experience cannot prove, but that you possess, such as the ability to problem-solve. Transferable skills are those which can be used in any field of work or type of job, such as interpersonal skills.

Of the three, job-related and transferable skills are the skills most likely to impress recruiters. But other skills like flexibility, communication and technical skills are also important to highlight.

The “And then what?” Test and Other Methods of Improving your CV

One easy way to add impact to your personal statement is to imagine that the recruiter is sitting in front of you, asking “And then what?” after every statement you compose. Stating the fact that you led a large sales team would most certainly cause the recruiter to expect more information. So instead, why not say that you led a large sales team which ending up surpassing last year’s sales figures?

Often, recruiters conduct automatic searches of CVs for keywords make screening easier, and/or use keyword searches when searching for candidates online. But using keywords throughout your CV is also another way to add impact. To find the right keywords, look at the wording of advertisements for jobs in your desired field. Any words and phrases that seem to keep cropping up are the keywords you should sprinkle throughout your CV. Powerful verbs like “discovered”, “revealed” and “targeted” can also provide your CV with added impact.

If you have time for nothing else, check your CV for errors in spelling and grammar, and ensure that it’s geared toward the position you are applying for.

Tricia Hay

Tricia Hay is Owner, Director of First Base Employment Limited