Rutherford Cross recently held its latest Interim Roundtable Series for Senior Finance Interims which featured a discussion led by Akshay Goenka, Director of The CV Master. Rutherford Cross’ Derek Lauder shares some of Akshay’s top tips for creating the most impactful CV.
Akshay has advised hundreds of professionals across the UK on how best to present their CVs. Arkshay immediately dispelled long held views around CV length, making it clear that there is no ‘golden rule’ as to how long a CV should be. A CV should not necessarily be restricted to two pages, particularly for experienced professionals where moving onto a third page is often appropriate. He then outlined the key areas and information that should be covered within a professional CV as follows.
Typically follow the 60-second rule ensuring there is sufficient detail covering the geographies and sectors that you have worked in, whilst keeping these relevant to the role you are applying for.
Break down your hard skills (technical), making sure that you include the key skills that are required in the role using appropriate finance terminology.
You should then move on to the soft skills you possess, again bearing in mind the job description and person specification for which you are applying.
Finally, you should include your work philosophy or style and also potentially include your personal values, especially if they mirror the values of the business you want to work for.
Akshay advised that the last 15 years of employment should be described in detail, with employment longer than 15 years ago going into the ‘Early Career’ section, which would only include Company, Position, Location and Dates.
For your more recent employment, a short paragraph on the nature and size of the business should be included. You should then separate your duties and responsibilities from your achievements under each role in different sections using bullet points.
When listing achievements, think like an interviewer and what is most relevant to the position being applied for and also, quantify your achievements using numbers and what the impact was for the business.
The Skills section must follow on from your Employment History and Early Career sections and should be split into hard and soft skills.
Most of the hard skills will have been included in Employment History, but this section is a summary of your functional and technical skills. Usually, you should pick eight to ten skills that are most relevant to the job. For soft skills, it might only be four or five that are personal attributes and transferrable skills that will help define your fit into the organisation’s culture. Examples include communication, problem-solving, creative thinking, leadership, influencing or attention to detail.
The Profile and Employment History sections are seen as more static parts of the CV and will change less, while the Skills section is more dynamic and will be amended more to reflect the role being applied for.
At Rutherford Cross, we include the Education section at the top of the CV above the Executive Profile and after the individuals name and contact details. In addition, personal information such as languages or interests will go at the end of the CV.
Thanks again to everyone who attended and to Akshay for the presentation.