Crafting a CV can be tricky. Squeezing into two sides of A4 your story so far; showing yourself to your best advantage; including all relevant information for the position concerned - whilst allowing your personality to shine through can be daunting.
Adding a soupcon of personality to a CV can not only grab the recruiting manager’s attention even at this early stage in the recruitment process, but also brighten their day and have them picking up the phone to meet in person. If you’re tweaking your CV to liven it up a touch, consider the following.
Think team fit
If you plan to lighten your CV with a touch of personality, make sure you match your story to the company you are applying for - the sort of team fit a young, vibrant start up in the IT sector might look for would be different to that sought by an established professional services firm. Getting the right fit, by knowing the business well, using research and networking, is essential to ensure your efforts to display your personality don’t backfire.
Once you have identified the business culture and personality, think about how you would fit and hint at this through your CV, cover letter, and ongoing contact with the business through the recruitment process.
Keep it appropriate
Showing your personality through your CV can be a winner, but do think about what your prospective employer might be interested in - your hobby volunteering at a dog rescue charity might be of interest if applying for a position as a veterinary assistant, but less so if you’re looking to move into the financial services sector.
For more creative roles you may have a little more freedom to show your creativity in your CV, either in the presentation of your CV, or through adding in either a physical portfolio or links to more creative work you have completed elsewhere. The application of this need not be limited to pure creative positions - if you’ve developed a successful online marketing campaign you could link it to your CV, or even do so if your work has received coverage in the local or national media.
Tailor your content
Once you are into the meat of your CV you can really start to show your personality. Many resumes open with a personal statement, so keep it pithy and relevant, and use it to showcase your personality immediately. What can you offer the business, what is unique about you? Use description to paint a picture, use adjectives and describe your career aims.
If you’re making more fundamental changes to your CV, you could start by using a template, thinking about the font you choose to make your application stand out, highlight, underline or bold the key statements to break up your text and use pictures - for example the logos of businesses to describe where you previously worked.
Think about how you present your previous roles - if you want to be seen as target driven make sure you include lots of hard business measures to demonstrate your achievements, whilst nothing says good leader like a CV peppered with detail of high potential people you have developed, or the percentage of internal succession achieved within your team in different previous roles.
Once you have written your CV, get friends or family members to read it through and check the messages are consistent and appropriate. If you have any doubts, err on the side of caution - you will get plenty of chances to show your personality through the recruitment process, so keeping your resume mainly factual with a nod towards your personality is fine.
Finally, check for silly mistakes in spelling and grammar which might undermine your efforts. Make the text easy to read with varied language and concise points. Make sure you have details such as the name of the recruiting manager correct throughout.
Furthermore, think about what social media footprint you already have - creating a CV which shows you as a dynamic and ambitious worker will be instantly undermined if a quick google of your name throws up a Facebook history littered with pouting selfies and shots of you falling out of taxis.
Use the whole recruitment process
Use your CV to show your personality, but also use your cover letter (which - if relatively informal - may be more appropriate), but don’t forget you will be able to show your personality at interview stage also. Your opportunity here is not limited to what you say, but through details like what you wear - which can be matched with little effort to the business. If you’re applying for a position in a fashion chain, for example, make sure you wear their clothes as far as possible when you meet the team! If you have successfully networked in the organisation to which you’re applying, mention those you know discretely, perhaps in the ’shoulder’ periods of the interview, in the lift before your meeting begins or when being shown out afterwards, to demonstrate your dedication and initiative.
However you choose to present your CV, showing your personality and how it fits perfectly with your goal job and organisation, can be a great way to catch the eye of the recruiters and give you a great chance of moving to the next stage of interview successfully.