Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Natalie Lamb and Creating a High Impact CV

The Event

I attended an event "International Women’s Day Conference 2017", developed through a partnership between The University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University on 08/03/17. I went to a workshop on creating a high impact CV, delivered by Lucy Owens, Professor Aki Tsuchiya and Dr Frances Deey. The workshop inspired me to write a bit about what I think is important on my CV, while also incorporating the information and advise they gave me.

How to  Create a High Impact CV

Before you start writing your CV you should really consider why are you doing it. What do you want your CV to do? What is your CV for? Is it to get you an interview? Because, if so, it might actually do a lot more beside just giving you a chance. Completing a good CV can help to increase your confidence, create the right mind-set to get you into a job search and to give you pride in what you have achieved to date. 6/10 people do not know how to write a CV so just by reading this post you are well on your way to being part of the minority who do.

Three Tips to Create an Impact

Tip 1
Get into the head of the employer- if I was the recruiter, what would I want this person to be able to do?
List everything they would want from you and make sure you hit all the items

Tip 2
Make your profile special
Sell yourself- thoroughly cover your unique selling products

Tip 3
Add wow factor
Add proof of your claims using links e.g. a portfolio of your work, your blog, Linkedin article, video of you talking at an event

CV Headline

First of all, the most important bits. Over 70% of CVs are missing vital information and so are discarded by the potential employer. Make sure you cover the basics i.e. how they can contact you.

Add some bullet points describing you in a nutshell. Those bullet points may be all an employer is going to read so construct them carefully. What are your unique selling points, specific skills, experience, interests, qualifications, passions? This can be things a bit out of the box e.g. you may not think it, but developing social media campaign numbers from 100-1000 is impressive enough to brag about. Try and avoid buzz words and exaggeration of the truth. 20% of the 1000 workers surveyed by the BBC said they had exaggerated their CV details to stand out from the crowds. But this isn't The Apprentice! Buzz words can fall flat with employers and lies often get found out at the interview.


Every bit of blank space is important on a CV because they should be a maximum of two pages long. So this means trying to make the education section take up as little space as possible, without making it look squashed. For GCSEs, you should put your English, Maths and Science qualifications down, as these are normally the ones employers are focused on.

Professional Experience

Start with your most recent work and work down. You may have done a lot of jobs, so try to keep only the most relevant or the most recent ones. This section on my CV is the longest because I consider the breadth of my past experience in science to be important.

Don't forget to write about the position. Highlight the outcomes of your involvement, the impact you had, your achievements and not the responsibilities of the job itself. My CV example was for my PhD application so it mostly focuses on the skills that I have gained from my various positions, which I then could apply to the PhD. Keep it brief and not too wordy but also try to retain the quality of information.

Be honest and explain any gaps in your employment history because it is something that is likely to come up in interview if you don't.

Other Important Information

This is everything you had to cut from your CV headline. It can also include the information from your CV headline again, just to highlight it. It can include things such as: IT skills, specific requirements for the job being applied for, events attended or presented at, relevant competitions won, other qualifications, first aid courses, other positions and anything else you might consider important.

Final Thoughts

One thing to bear in mind is that one size does not fit all. I have a whole folder of CVs. I like to have a template CV with everything on and then copy and paste bits from it, as well as adding info straight from the job specification to create a specific CV for the role that I am applying for. Your CV has less than 30 seconds to impress a potential employer. You have to make sure those keywords are covered.

Don't forget to check the basics. Make sure there are no spelling mistakes. The writing style should be consistent. Sharing your CV with a friend or family member should really help with making sure the final details are right. There is nothing more off-putting than saying you have good attention for detail and misspelling it!

I hope this post has been helpful. Below is the full CV.

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