Keeping your CV up to date makes sense even if you are not currently looking for another job. I am often asked for my CV as part of a proposal for training or consultancy work. Updating your CV regularly also reminds you how much or how little CPD (Continuing Professional Development) work you have done recently.

So how does your CV currently read? Take a look through this list and I bet many of the following phrases, or variations of them are included:

  • Self motivated/Highly driven
  • Effective leader
  • Strategic thinker
  • Good time management skills
  • Dynamic innovator
  • Engaging speaker
  • Solution focused
  • Proven track record
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Target driven
  • Highly experienced
  • Excellent project management skills
  • Financial acumen/profit driven

My guess (based on experience) is that your CV is littered with clichés like those listed above and if you take them out of the document there would be very little left of any substance. Rather than the cliché, you need to give clear examples of where you have achieved or displayed the skill listed or even better steal my idea below.

When training sales people and business owners, one of the things I always teach is that “Your products or services are not good just because YOU say so, only your CLIENTS can make that call!” Case studies and success stories written from existing client perspectives will always have more value to a potential buyer than the words of the seller.

Based on the statement above your CV is your chance to ‘sell you’ but you are not the best person to do that as you are biased! Other people are much better at selling you, than you! Isn’t the best part of a LinkedIn profile the recommendations? It’s the first thing I look at when checking a profile. Why not build your recommendations into your formal CV? Rather than put “I am an engaging, inspiring and charismatic speaker.” Include a direct quote from somebody that has listened to you and can provide clear testimony about your speaking skills!

Including recommendations from other people also has the added benefit of showcasing the level of people and businesses that you are currently engaging with. In other words it is a very subtle and clever way of namedropping!

“All very well” you might say, “but I don’t have that many suitable recommendations on my linked in profile!” If that is the case then I will advise you to do exactly what I tell my sales trainees and business owners to do. Be proactive and go and get some, better still ‘lift your game’ and you will find that the recommendations come without you having to solicit them.

Don’t be afraid to approach senior colleagues and high profile clients and ask them for testimonials based on their experiences of working with you. I am sure you will have good things to say about them and can reciprocate accordingly. There is no harm in agreeing the main message that you want the particular recommendation to convey, after all you want to show a mix of skills rather than have everyone just talk about your most prominent skill or ability.

In summary – ditch the cliché CV where you try to sell yourself and create a CV where others sell you!

Thank you for reading.

Stuart Allen FInstSMM FCMI