After a recruiter has determined that you fit all the qualifying criteria for the vacancy that is being offered and you have been filtered through in terms of eligibility, what is it that they are looking for? In very basic terms, what a potential employer wants to know is, if they employ you what impact will you have on their business? Quite often, people will list their job history and give what is little more than a list of things they do or did that reads like a job description. What they are unwittingly failing to do is spot the difference between role/responsibilities and their achievements.
Explaining what you do or did in your current and previous roles is important, as it gives the employer a sense of the level of responsibility you have had. This on its own is not enough. Stating that you commanded a Royal Navy Warship or a Section of Royal Marines is great, but it must be remembered that most employers in the civilian world will not understand the implied ‘so what’s?’ that these and similar roles involve, so you must tell them.
At this point you need to be considering each role in terms of: what difference did I make? What was my impact in that role? The following are suggested as areas you could use to highlight what you can add to the CV to demonstrate why an employer would consider you further:
- Did I make or save the organisation money? How much? Over how long? What was the impact? Did this make the organisation more competitive, or productive?
- Did I manage, or was I part of, a strategic/major change management project/programme? What was the effect? Was it successful?
- Did I manage any projects or programmes? What was the impact of these on the organisation? Did I successfully influence senior internal/external Stakeholders? Did I bring the project in on or under budget?
- Did I manage conflict successfully? Did I deal with any difficult colleague issues in a particular role?
- Did I reduce staff turnover (i.e. did the rate of those leaving the organisation drop) during my leadership tenure?
- Did I increase productivity? How was this measured? What was the effect?
- Did I improve efficiency? How? What did I do to achieve this? How was it measured?
There are, of course, many more ways to illustrate the impact you have had in your previous roles. The point is that, in order to be able to make sure your CV stands out from the others, you need to demonstrate that you didn’t just turn up for work each day but that you had an impact and made a positive difference.