You don’t have to lie on your CV to sell yourself

Selling ourselves as exceptional candidates is one of the things Irish people traditionally fail at

Wed, April 16th, 11:32


Our culture often leads us to under-sell our skills or lay out our experience in the simplest of terms. That may seem like an honest and humble approach, but remember that your CV is a sales document. It should put your best foot forward, not give an objective and modest summary of your career.

Cpl’s recent Employment Monitor survey found that 65% of employers have discovered that a candidate falsified their experience on an application. That figure suggests that many candidates do try to promote themselves through their CV; they just take it a little too far.

You don’t have to lie on your CV to sell yourself as a candidate. Lying on your CV can only get you so far, and getting a job is no good if you aren’t qualified to do it. Instead of lying about your skills or experience, think of your CV as a sales document and make sure it sells you as effectively as possible.

Keep it brief

The most effective sales pitches are short and to the point. They cover the most important information in the shortest possible time, keeping the client engaged while building the ideal picture of the product. Your CV should do the same job for your skills. Don’t fall into the trap of squeezing masses of information on to two pages using tiny fonts or creative formatting. Keep your CV short in terms of words (no more than 800), and be sure to use only the most important information.

Focus on your successes

Employers aren’t really interested in reading a list of every skill you have and every job you have done. They are only interested in your relevant experience and only the relevant experience where you have excelled. When putting the CV together, list your successes first then build in the other information around it.

Put your best foot forward

Your CV should give employers reasons to hire you, not a list of facts. Don’t be afraid to use promotional or positive language. Add every achievement to your CV and highlight the part you played in every team success. Your CV is your first impression with a potential new employer, tell them how great you are and how effective you could be for their business. No one else will do that for you.

When it comes to putting together a CV, the mistake we often make is assuming that you can either give the hard sell or be honest. The truth is that the best CVs, and the best candidates, don’t do either; they do both.

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Peter Cosgrove

The Irish Times