Following on from last week’s blog on writing a killer CV, I will be discussing how to tailor your CV to your audience and job. Think of your CV as a personal marketing tool which you will bespoke tailor for each position you apply for, in order to fulfil the recruiters desires or wants for their role and to match your skills with their job description requirements.
The basic building blocks
You need to start with the basic building blocks to create your CV. Below I will list the content that you probably already know to include, but these points are worth revising again.
Your CV will need to include the following,
These include your name, address, date of birth and contact details.
This is your pitch – your chance to tell a potential employer what you can Accomplish, Fix, or Avoid for them and persuade them that they need to read on. This unfortunately is the area where most of the clichés appear (remember when we played CV Bingo?), so please do not underestimate the power of having a killer-pitch that makes a potential employer say, ‘I need this person on my team’. Use my CV builder at the end of this blog to help you identify the kinds of information you can use in your personal statement.
Employers want solutions, not a list of skills and attributes. You need to be clear about what opportunity, or problem you might be a solution for. Use this section to hit them right between the eyes and make them wonder what you could accomplish for them if only you were given the chance!
Previous Work Experience
If you have lots of work experience it can be a challenge to keep it relevant and succinct. Equally, if you are new to the industry, or have just graduated, your experience may be a little thin on the ground. Again, do not worry; I will cover this later on.
Skills and Qualifications
Qualifications – this is the easy bit, it is your work skills that can catch you out. Carry on reading to discover the ‘Top 10 skills’ that employers look for in event management roles, then use my CV builder exercise to determine your skills and how you can demonstrate effectively that you actually have them.
OK, so the temptation here is to either lie (I’m a real adrenalin junkie and go sky diving every weekend), or you do not accentuate the positives – (I love to read). Obviously, if you do go sky diving every weekend that is great news – put that in and explain why you love it. Here are some examples of how you might improve your interests:
I love to read, or:
I love reading anything by JK Rowling. I love her imagination and how she has adapted her writing to different audiences.
I’m a scout leader, or
I enjoy spending my spare time as a scout leader. I find being able to develop my leadership skills a real challenge and watch how my contribution has a positive effect on young people – which is extremely rewarding.
I’m a keen horse rider, or
I love to spend time outdoors horse riding. It’s a great way to keep fit as well as explore our beautiful countryside.
By giving a little more information about your interests tells the reader so much more about how your interests can benefit the company.
At this stage, all you need to do is state that references are available on request.
Words to ‘avoid in your CV’
When you read the list of words to avoid in your CV, you might think, “hang on a minute, I thought these were really great words to us”. That is probably because we have been encouraged to use these words in the past. They were effective once upon a time , but now they are old hat:
- Responsible Strategic Creative
- Effective Patient Expert
- Organizational Driven Innovative
- Analytical Goal driven Excellent communication skills
- Flexible Motivated Strong work ethic
- Reliable Multi-tasker Independent
- Detail oriented Self motivated
The problem with these words is that they do not tell a potential employer anything about ‘how’ you achieve things and what outcomes you can provide – these words do not tell anyone what you can help them achieve either. Remember, a future employer is looking for a solution not just a set of skills. Your job therefore is to create a CV that demonstrates how you can make a positive impact on their business. One of the ways to do this is to show how you have achieved something elsewhere – using the following words and phrases along with as many facts and figures as you can:
10 words to use in your CV
eg: I achieved an increase in sponsorship income of 20% year on year during my employment at X company.
eg: I formulated a plan to efficiently deliver a complex events programme across six countries in three months for over 20,000 people.
eg: As part of the event management team, I planned a social media strategy that increased awareness by 40%.
eg: Last year I increased delegate/visitor numbers by 30% by implementing a new marketing campaign.
eg: By undertaking a detailed research project with our clients, I broadened the scope of work we were able to carry out for one client, increasing revenues by £100k.
eg: Since taking over responsibility for the event budget, I generated savings of 12% by implementing a strategic meetings management system.
eg :I led a team of six junior event planners, successfully delivering an international road show over a six month period.
A CV Builder Exercise
When writing your CV it can be hard to remember all of your accomplishments, never mind working out how to make sure a potential employer can read about them. So before you start with your actual CV writing, try out this exercise to help you to draw out all the relevant information that you having hidden away inside.
|List your qualifications:
(NB employers are most interested in your most recent and relevant qualifications, more than your GCSE results)
|Accreditations and Associations – do you have initials after your name? What associations are you a member of?|
Are you an active member of any trade associations? For example, do you have a role within organisations such as MPI (Meeting planners international), AEO (Association of event organisers) or something similar? The organisation doesn’t need to be nationally or internationally recognised – but it does have to relevant to the events industry.
|Awards – Have you won any awards personally? How about as a team? Have any events that you have worked on subsequently won any industry awards? If you haven’t won any, but have been nominated, or shortlisted, you can still include them here.|
What has been the one single thing that you are most proud of in your career? Or maybe you have two or three things to be proud of? These could include launching a new event, significantly increasing revenues or delegate/visitor numbers, managing a team through a particularly difficult period. Try to quantify proof here if possible – use percentages, money, or time saved eg.
‘I increased revenues by 25% in the first year,’ or ‘I launched a new event in a difficult market generating £120k additional profit for the company over two years.’
|Published or presented work
Have you ever had any articles published, or commented on published articles? Do you write blogs, or have you a You Tube channel with your work on? How about a book – have you written, or been mentioned in a book
Have you spoken at any conferences, or exhibitions, or given any guest lectures at Universities or schools? If so, mention the topic, who the talk was to and how large the audience was.
|What is your unique selling point?
We’ve established that there are many roles within the field of ‘event management’. Do you specialise in selling/sponsorship, logistics, social media? Give specific examples.
|Are you on any Advisory Boards? Who has sought your opinion to shape a project, or an event external to your current employer?|
|Do you have a mentor who is well known? Do you mentor others? This is a great way to tell an employer that you value Continual Professional Development, (CPD).|
Have you worked with, or alongside, any influential figures in the industry who can give you a testimonial for the work you have done? Unlike a reference which is more detailed, a testimonial will only be a couple of sentences and can be included with a CV as a way to make you stand out from the crowd and get noticed – and so much more valuable when the person supplying the testimonial is well known.
|Tailor your CV
What specific skills and experience do you have to solve the exact problems that a potential employer is hoping to solve? Remember that an employer is looking for you to either: Accomplish, Fix or Avoid something – what one key set of skills do you have in your arsenal to help them do it? This might not be particularly easy at this stage, but if you read their job description carefully and do your research well, you should be able to adapt your CV to the job you are applying for. List here then the specific problems you can solve for that employer.
Once you have completed this exercise you should have much more information than you initially thought of for your CV. Then when you have carefully crafted your CV you can send it to a potential employer as a speculative job application, or in response to their advertised role. Gaining feedback is vital at this stage of the job-application process . Whist you might think you have just written a killer CV, it might still need a tweak or two to make it even more powerful. Remember your CV is never complete; it follows the course of your life and runs that race with you; therefore it will always need to be updated and always tailored to the job you are applying for.