Change up your CV and make that move with tips from Kimberly Arth from PIVOT
For mums looking to get back to the workforce, the first step after making that decision usually means a CV update is in order. We know on life’s list of chores, keeping your CV up-to-date tends to fall to the bottom – somewhere after finally making it to the dentist. Whether you are looking to start working again, change jobs, or just want to be prepared for your annual review, an updated and well-designed CV is a necessity. Don’t worry, we spoke with Kimberly Arth, a mama and co-founder of PIVOT, the Hong Kong firm that connects highly skilled women with project work (we wouldn’t do this alone!), and she has shared a few tips to help you land that dream career.
Read more: The Bump: Lauren Lin, Co-founder of PIVOT
“I like to tell people that they should approach their resume as a personal marketing piece rather than a list of accomplishments or achievements,” advises Arth. Instead, provide a quick, but solid, summary at the top of the page about who you are and what you do (not an objective statement) to engage the reader. Then, put a section on key skills and details of your professional experience.
Because if your resume is boring, what does that say about you? Whether you are crafting your first CV or looking for your fifth job, you will want to be sure that your formatting is clear, concise and interesting.
Have you been living the SAHM life the past five years and haven’t touched your resume? Formats have changed the most, cautions Arth. “Candidates can be more creative with how they format and highlight important information. Ten years ago, there was a standard format that was universally accepted and any deviation from that was basically a no-no. So, it is nice to see some evolution there!” Oh, and don’t forget to save your CV as a PDF to avoid any formatting problems!
Hiring managers (or computer algorithms, in some cases) review dozens of resumes a day and most have a few critical boxes that need to be checked for the candidate to make it to the next round.
Don’t go nuts with the design elements (no matter what Pinterest might lead you to believe!). If a manager has to hunt around for crucial information within your “clever” CV design, you at best have already frustrated the person you most want to impress. And of course, even worse than an over designed CV is an exaggerated one. Now is the time to sing your own praises but don’t pitch skills that you don’t have.
“Resumes that quantify results or use numbers to tell a story have a bigger impact,” Arth says. “‘Responsible for over $100 million in transaction volume” is much more compelling than “Integral member of the transaction team.” Don’t be shy about your accomplishments (as if we need to tell you mamas that!). If you haven’t been responsible for a cent in your line of work – but are a consistent problem solver, for example – outline your contributions as concretely as possible.
Arth suggests visually calling attention to your key achievements, “Many effective resumes bold or italicise key phrases because it guides the reader to what’s important – i.e. “Developed and implemented key strategic initiatives, which resulted in an increase in profitability year over year by 20%.”
If you know you’re the best person for the job, prove it! While it makes sense to have a solid core CV, take into account what kind of role and company you are applying to.
If you are currently in sales but keen to get into marketing, don’t forget to tweak your wording accordingly so that you highlight your versatility (and any projects or successes) that translate across fields. Always do your research about the company to which you are applying. Give your CV a read with its priorities in mind so you can update some wording to reflect its language.