Unleash the Ferrari Within: How Top Executives Sell Themselves through Their CV: Employment at a Senior Level Is Competitive. Behind Every Effective CV Lies an Arsenal of Marketing and Sales Techniques, Ensuring That the CV Goes Straight to the Top of the Pile

By O'Neil, Tom | New Zealand Management, March 2006 | Go to article overview

Unleash the Ferrari Within: How Top Executives Sell Themselves through Their CV: Employment at a Senior Level Is Competitive. Behind Every Effective CV Lies an Arsenal of Marketing and Sales Techniques, Ensuring That the CV Goes Straight to the Top of the Pile


O'Neil, Tom, New Zealand Management


Nobody in their right mind wanting to sell a Ferrari would place an ad saying "Car for sale. Four wheels. Goes. $355,000". The ad ignores the abilities and features that make the Ferrari so highly prized. So why do so many top executives undersell themselves in their CV? Sassy Ferrari sellers reword their ads to focus on the car's 290 horsepower, top speed of 350kph or 50 years of racing history--highlighting the tangible and factual features and revving up the Ferrari's desirability immensely. Smart executives should be doing the same.

Most recruiters spend just 10 to 20 seconds initially assessing a CV for a match against a particular role. So even at the most senior levels of management, a CV must quickly and concisely communicate the relevant information that will tempt the reader to take an application to the next stage.

HR and recruitment professionals despise subjective data that has no proven basis. Despite this, people still include within their CV subjective prattle such as 'a quality communicator' and 'a team player'. While this may be a true reflection of your skills, it merely serves to negate any possible positive impact.

Your name is your brand. In the same way that Nike and Coca-Cola market their logo and brand to specialist markets, you must do the same with yours. Understanding that you must market yourself to prospective employers, your personal 'brochure' must be focused towards a specific role.

So if you are applying for a position with a leading insurer, your objective and your summary sections must concentrate on your experience and achievements within this field. If you then apply for a role in the banking sector, the CV should be altered to exhibit a different flavour. Generic CVs are no longer acceptable.

While it's increasingly rare to find a business brochure that waffles over 10+ pages, recruiters and HR professionals must daily wade through

CVs filled with subjective data, that have no real purpose or direction, and are stuffed with irrelevant facts.

A quality, senior level New Zealand-focused CV should be between two to four pages long and come with a well-written and focused cover letter. If the CV is any larger than this, the reader may feel that the candidate is verbose and cannot communicate facts in a concise and professional way.

The job description for almost any position will list specific functions and skills that are deemed important for the role. lust as a marketer determines that a certain demographic area will have a demand for a particular product or service, you must also:

* Understand what specific factors are required to demonstrate competency for the available role; and

* Outline your skills and achievements focused towards these aspects, thereby ensuring demand for your application.

Start by highlighting recurring keywords in the iob description that are central to the position. Next, determine your skills and experience within these areas and quantify and provide specific examples of your achievements.

Stating, for example, that you are an "exceptional communicator" is pointless unless you can give examples of when you have demonstated this. So outline occasions where you have delivered a message at conferences, staff meetings or presentations to clients. Detail the approximate number of people listening to your message as well as the level of expertise you were sharing.

For example: "Successfully presented a seminar entitled 'Future Technologies in Digital Communication' to over 750 senior IT professionals at the New Zealand Information Technology Conference--2006. …

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