How to Write a CV when Applying for a Senior Position
Updating a CV is consistently considered one of the more tedious parts of securing a job, but since a CV is the first impression you will make on a hiring manager, it is important that you take the time to make sure that it reflects your skills and successes appropriately.
This is especially important when applying for more senior roles. There are some core elements to consider when updating a CV for senior-level jobs. Doing this correctly will make it more likely for you to stand-out and be considered for more senior-level positions as part of your career progression.
CVs are generally about 2 pages long, so it is worth considering placing the relevant senior level experience towards the beginning of the CV.
The main parts of a CV
First, begin with an executive summary at the start of the document followed by a list of your technical skills. This will immediately emphasize to a hiring manager the key elements that show your suitability for the role.
Next, clearly summarize your career with the name of the position held, the name of organization you worked for and the period you worked.
Finally, list your education at the end of the CV and any other relevant information such as languages spoken.
List technical skills separately
Depending on the type of senior position you are applying for, your technical and practical skills are not the only qualities hiring managers are looking to find in your CV. If you will be leading a team or project, your leadership, people management and operational experience will be given weight during the hiring process.
The initial reading of your CV will determine whether it contains the key words that will ensure you are put in the short list of potential candidates. Checking for key words is not always conducted by someone with the same scientific knowledge for the specific role, so listing your technical skills in an easy-to-read manner at the beginning of your CV is a useful way to highlight your experience to all audiences.
Show results with quantifiable data
Since organizations place value on experience for senior managers, this should be demonstrated in a quantifiable manner. Rather than simply listing your responsibilities performed in former positions, hiring managers want to see quantifiable results. A CV will stand out if it includes data that show examples of achievements.
Here are some examples:
- Supervised 10 direct reports
- Initiated a program resulting in a 7% reduction of costs
- Managed a budget of 15 million USD
Phrases like these are much more impactful than a list of key responsibilities and demonstrate how your work supports the wider organization goals.
Tailor your CV to your audience
Do not copy and paste your past and current job descriptions. Hiring managers will immediately notice that this is generic which will result in your CV being put prospective employer’s circular file. If you can tailor your CV to ensure it is representing key points of the initial job description, your CV will not only immediately tick boxes relevant to the open position, but it will show an attention to detail that many employers will value.
Keep the content relevant and accurate
Ambition and enthusiasm are great traits for a potential employee, so make sure that the information on your CV is honest and accurate. A great candidate may be rejected due to inconsistencies in a resume. Exaggerations will not be tolerated by hiring managers for senior roles they will likely have a negative impact on the remainder of the hiring process.
A well-written, convincing CV starting with an executive summary, a list of your technical skills and showing quantitative results will go a long way to making your CV stand out and being placed in the short list of candidates. But there is also another document which should not be left out of the application package. That is the cover letter. You can read more about this topic in a separate blog post of mine.