How To Write A CV That Gets You Interviews

If you have got or are working towards a professional qualification, chances are you are pretty ambitious.  After all why would you invest a huge amount of time in getting qualifications if you want to stay at the level you are at right now.


Now let’s not pretend that a qualification alone or even part qualification is going to get you invited for job interviews.  If a certain level of professional qualification is a pre-requisite for interview all it does is stops you being on the rejected bundle.


Ask most people about CVs and they will acknowledge they are important.  Yet many struggle to create a decent CV, never mind one that gets them invited for interviews.


So why is it such a struggle?  It takes time, it takes a lot of self reflection, it requires you to really work hard to identify skills, attributes and achievements.  Most are either not willing or are reluctant to make the effort.


On the other hand if you are not willing to make the effort, what does it say about you to a potential employer?  If it was me I would be questioning commitment, desire, professionalism to name just a few.


The good news is that it is really possible to create a CV that gets you more interviews.  So let’s consider what you need to do.


Start with a detailed skills assessment.  You might have a vague idea of what you are good at in the areas you work on day after day.  I would also hazard a guess that you have a whole host of other skills that you use less frequently.  As you don’t use them that frequently you tend to forget about them.


Next do a detailed attributes assessment.  This will help you determine your best qualities.  Some people think it is all about skills.  What I have found is that the more senior you become, the more important your personal attributes are.  It is not necessarily the most skilled people in their professional field who are the best at leading or managing.


Now make a list of all of your career achievements.  People often ask me if they should consider achievements over their whole career.  The answer to that question is a resounding yes.  Whether you achieved something last week or 5 years ago is irrelevant in my book.  You could still do it again if you had to.


Now that you have done the preparatory work, you can get to work on creating your CV that gets you interviews.  There are a few things that you can do to create a good CV:


  1. Create a decent profile that tells anyone looking at your CV in 10 seconds whether you are the type of person they are looking for.  If you have scrutinised the job description and person specification in detail this is much easier than you would think.
  2.  Get straight to your career summary after your profile.  This is what a potential employer is interested in.
  3.  Be succinct when listing your key responsibilities.  It should never be a copy and paste job from your job description.
  4. Describe achievements in business benefit orientated language.  Start with words like improved, reduced, increased, and enhanced, as pointers for writing your achievements.
  5. Whenever you can quantify achievements.
  6. Break down jobs if you have been with an organisation for a period of time and got several promotions.
  7. List only relevant qualifications rather than every qualification you ever gained.
  8. Do highlight IT skills if they are an important component of the role
  9. Keep hobbies and interests brief.


The truth is that with the right approach you can present a CV that really does result in you getting more job interviews.


Duncan Brodie helps accountants and business professionals achieve more career success.  Learn more here.

About the Author Duncan Brodie

Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 8,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them land their next jobs and become better leaders, presenters and business partners. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.

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