Orbell Communications

Communicating Your Message

What makes a great CV?

Posted by jorbell on March 18, 2010

A question being discussed today in the Jobcoach group on LinkedIn was what makes a great CV. A lot of good advice came out of this such as how to grab a recruiters attention in the first 15 seconds, formatting, listing achievements over day-to-day tasks and adapting CVs to different jobs.

For my CV for my current position (admittedly seven years ago) I produced a CD ROM featuring examples of work, testimonials, PowerPoint presentations, animation files, research documents etc. All this I put into a DVD case with a customised cover which allowed me to show off my design skills. I also designed it in such a way that the front cover was striking in that it wasn’t exactly clear which way it should be looked at. It then became an interactive item that required the person to study it. It was never going to be passed over quickly during a sift of CVs.

Prior to that I designed a covering letter that had a flap on the right hand side so when it was flipped open the reader could view minature examples from my portfolio. When it was closed it just looked like a standard letter so in that sense it encouraged the recruiter to spend a few moments longer with my application than they may otherwise have done. I did have to print each one on A3 paper and trim the pages afterwards but I did get the job so it was worth the effort.

If I was to apply for a position now I wouldn’t use either of these methods as time has moved on and so has my career – I’m not a full-time designer for a kick-off. The idea of sendind a CD ROM now is laughable but I would certainly take a lot of care in supplying something that was a little out of the ordinary to ensure I stood out.

This is one area where creative types can gain an edge over the competition though conversely, you may find yourself up against a load of quirky applications who have done even more. In this instance you would have to feel for the recruiter who wouldn’t be looking through a pile of A4 paper, but a selection of objects for a multi-media exhibition!

What advice would you give to help jobhunters to stand out in a crowded job market?

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