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A New Year, a new career, a new CV

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Paul Brisk
This is an article by Bookboon author Paul Brisk.

It’s that time of the year when New Year’s resolutions have been made and often relate to taking a fresh look at our jobs and taking stock of where we are going. Most importantly, we stop to see whether our current values and aspirations are being fulfilled.

We spend the majority of our time at work, so it’s vital that we are happy with what we are doing.

If a decision is made at this point that we need a fresh challenge, with or without additional responsibilities, the key driver in finding that position is a strong and meaningful CV. 

Paul Brisk is the joint proprietor of Peak Career Consulting in Huddersfield West Yorkshire and shares some of his thoughts and views about this unique document of an individual’s course of life. He has experience in writing professional CVs for a wide range of people of all ages covering an extensive range of industries.

Here are Paul’s views……………


5 things your CV should include

When asked to write a CV, I always say to the person making the enquiry that the important factors of this document include:

  • The capturing of their character in order to create a strong profile.
  • Their individual achievements and those attained as a member of a team where possible.
  • Identifying their skills and abilities and including any of which are of a technical nature.
  • Showing their educational qualifications and, equally as important, their on-going personal development.
  • Interests and Hobbies to display that they carry out activities outside of the working environment.


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As far as achievements are concerned, these need to be quantified wherever possible, so that the reader can see and relate to an improvement, which the individual has brought about, or can see that increased knowledge has been gained. The use of words is often underestimated, as is the actual achievement in the majority of cases.

I have a simple statement at this point which says “We are not usually very good or confident about blowing our own trumpets” but if we don’t through our CV, who will?

The words we use need to be innovative and imaginative and carefully chosen e.g. why say we started something, when we could elaborate by using words such as created, initiated, inspired, launched and say that we changed something when we could say re-designed, re-structured, modified or simplified it!!!

Achievements can then be enhanced by using strong action words e.g. accomplished, constructed, devised, engineered, established, stimulated and pioneered.


Don’t forget to point out your skills!

Quite often CVs I review also lack the introduction of skills which the person has, so I always introduce a specific section into the CV, by asking them to complete a skills analysis questionnaire. It is also necessary to highlight any technical skills they have acquired within their career both inside and outside of work.

Although it may be stating the obvious a CV needs to clearly layout educational qualifications, training and on-going personal development together with closing the document by listing hobbies and interests. It can be a well-known fact that interviewers often connect with this section and this part of the document displays that the person has a life outside of education and work!!!

I have a strong opinion about the first page of a CV, especially the top third which really surrounds the individual’s profile. I always ask a person which words describe them the best and then incorporate powerful characteristic words such as articulate, creative, dynamic, energetic, results oriented, perceptive, and motivated, etc.

I see the CV as the key selling tool in successfully marketing an individual. In essence this document through their personal profile is their own advertisement – their selling proposition. It contains the features and benefits of themselves through their skills (features) and achievements (benefits).

The end result needs to be a well-presented document, making the full use of eye catching bullet points that are factually correct and inspire the reader to read on. CVs in my opinion need to be written on good quality white paper, keep to 2/3 pages in length and use of a reasonable size font (I personally use Arial fonts 10 to 12) which is easy on the eye.

I hope that you will find this overview of CVs to be interesting and that it will give you a fresh approach when putting pen to paper.


About the author: Paul Brisk has written 2 books for Bookboon. Please take a look at “Creating your CV as a self marketing tool” and “Essential Job Searching Tools” in order to increase your opportunities of securing that all important start or change in your career.

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