How To: Write a Senior-Level CV
Once you reach a senior or executive level, your CV needs to reflect your higher status. If you apply for new roles, you want to make sure you’re not doing the same things as recent graduates – after all, you’ve got years or even decades more of experience than them, and it should show.
While much of the same advice about writing a good CV applies no matter where you are in your career, we have a few tips that will help give yours the executive touch it needs.
Don’t include everything
When you started out, the summer you spent temping at your uncle’s surveying firm absolutely belonged on your CV. Now that you’ve managed projects with budgets twice as big as anything your uncle ever handled, it’s not especially relevant.
You should aim to limit your CV to two pages, and you don’t need to go back more than 10–15 years in your work history. You should also focus more on recent roles, and only give a line or two to older jobs.
Now that you’ve made some extra space, it’s time to fill it back up. Come up with four or five bullets that highlight your main selling points relevant to the role. Keep them concise and to the point, but make sure they have an impact.
You shouldn’t repeat things that appear elsewhere on your CV, and avoid simply writing a list of corporate buzzwords. You should still try to mimic the language and phrasing used in the job description, though.
Emphasise quantitative results
When you apply for a senior role, you’re going after a position that will have a significant influence on the company. You want to be able to demonstrate that you can make positive changes, and numbers can be a quick and effective way to get the point across.
It’s the difference between “I reduced costs and drove growth into new markets,” and “I reduced costs by 47% and drove growth in five new markets.” You can even embolden the more impressive numbers to make them stand out.
At this point in your career, you will have had a lot of professional accomplishments, and you’ll want to include these in your CV. However, make sure you pick and choose those most relevant to the role you’re applying for.
Add in a bit more detail than you would have done before; for instance, include a little about the circumstances surrounding your accomplishment, or the impact it had down the line. You can use the STAR technique as a model for your answers.
Your brand is what brings all your different qualities together into a single, directed message. Throughout your CV, you should be trying to sell your brand, what makes you unique and sets you apart from other candidates.
This is where your passion for the profession and personal strengths should come through. Make sure you have a clear idea of your personal brand – or at the very least the version of it you want to present to the prospective employer.