How do I write a good CV?

Dr. Dave Nichols, team leader, practice owner and recruitment specialist, posted the following as a blog and it reproduced here with his kind permission.

“Here’s the fundamental problem with recruitment. Advertisers are not being accurate with the picture they paint of the job, practice or culture… what does a word like “progressive mean anyway?” And job seekers are not being entirely accurate in their description skills and values.

Then at an interview, everyone is on their best behaviour. But since none of this is representative of reality the wheels fall off quite quickly when reality bites. For both parties.

Having worked as a team leader, practice owner and recruitment specialist for a few years here is my advice on CV writing.

1. I disagree with the more than two pages rule – I want my vets to be detail oriented and if that’s you, then writing a 2 page CV is hard if not impossible. There’s just so much to get it right?! I actively look for longer CVs. If as an employer you are throwing away the longer CVs then you are introducing a bias towards big picture thinkers. Which is great if you want a senior leaders. But not so good if you want a detail person. (I do wish people would stop telling people to write short CVs…. this is only of use to the employer when you have to review hundreds of CVs for a role. Which was never in clinical roles. And certainly not a problem at present. This employer at least will be looking for the longer CV.

2. Show me your personality. Rule one of marketing is to STAND OUT. You are different to everyone else, so show that to me. Your cover letter and your personal statement are great places to do this. If you write what everyone else writes then I find it hard to tell you apart. What are your unique talents, capabilities and most importantly…. what are your values?

3. About those values…. so this is the most important point not just about CVs…. but about our working relationships generally. If an employer values hard work and humility and you value self and family time then guess what…. you are going to have a tough working relationship, regardless of how well your CV was written. So please signal in your CV what these values are. Aligned values and purpose get you through the tough moments. A good start would be to sit down and work out your values first. Most people have not got a clue, until they find themselves in conflict. once you know, weave them into your CV.

4. Your attitude counts so much more than your skills… if you have an attitude that you are prepared to do the hard work to learn your craft… There is no shortcut to awesome, it requires work, some sacrifice, discomfort, stress and resilience. If you are prepared for this and are determined to learn and grow then as an employer, I can work with that (in fact I’m very excited to work with that). This BTW does not mean “flog you until you break”. But it does mean you are willing and able to take responsibility for your learning and wellbeing, I’m there to support both, but drive neither.

5. I agree with both Colin and Adrian on the competency thing… though you are unlikely to have many ready to rock-solid vet competencies, show your employer things that demonstrate success in similar roles. So, sales jobs where you dealt with the public, teamwork or leadership roles. Also, roles were you demonstrated that you can work within a structure or to someone else’s rules. I love when I see grads who have worked on reception at a vet, or worked in mcdonalds, or been a nurse before going to Uni. Seriously, vets who started out as nurses are the best! Such good empathy for the rest of the team…

6. No one size fits all as this thread ably demonstrates. So research your practice and adjust your CV for the employer. The CV’s job is to get you to the next stage of the interview.

Your challenge as a vet is not going to be getting an interview right now. And honestly, I seriously doubt anyone is throwing away 4 page CVs…. it’s likely to be the only one many will get! And this employer at least will be lapping that up.

OK, I hope that’s somewhat helpful as insight. Dr D.

For any employers looking to sharpen their recruitment tool kit I have a free webinar on the top 5 mistakes vets make when hiring team members here.”

2 thoughts on “How do I write a good CV?”

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