The ultimate goal of a CV is to sell your core skills and abilities to a prospective employer.

Let’s switch roles for a minute. Picture you’re an employer with one vacancy and 400 CVs to wade through. You need a man for the job obviously, so how do you go about finding that CV that represents your ideal man? So you see.

Your CV should speak. It needs to stand out for you to get that role.

Let’s start with the  how to write the professional summary.

So what is a professional summary?

A summary is just a few sentences, normally beneath the contact information; that highlights an individual’s skills and abilities and basically telling the recruiter that you’re qualified for the job.

This is the legendary 60 seconds pitch, so it’s understandable why job seekers freak out most about it.

Don’t know how to deliver a professional summary?

Follow this guide;

In this guide you will learn

  • What to include in your professional summary
  • Keywords to use
  • Stuff to leave out of your summary

How to begin

To start off let’s break it down in bits for easy comprehension.

  • Make it short and concise
  • Start with the job listing
  • What can you offer?
  • Keep it well structured
  • Use keywords

Make it short and concise

Recruiters are busy people.

When writing a professional summary, stick to no more than 200 words and nothing more. You want to sell yourself as soon as possible to a recruiter -and quickly.

In two to three sentences you should be able to market your skills in a way that is convincing enough.

It’s supposed to be a summary so there’s no need for it to be lengthy – that can sort of defeat the purpose.

Keep it short and trim.

Start with the job listing

Before you proceed with the professional summary, first make sure that you understand the job listing.  By this I mean, carefully read and understand the job listing.

Understand the key responsibilities of the candidate. Understand the skills that the recruiter is advertising.

Now, do you have the same skills and experience listed by the recruiter?

To sum it up; carefully look at the job listing and see how you can infuse that into your own skills and experience. This way you can communicate to the employer how and why you’re the best fit for the job.

What can you offer?

This is the point where you convince your prospective employer that you are the ideal candidate for the job. Remember, you have less than 60 secs to make an impact.

Make positive, strong and optimistic statements throughout.

So what do you write to ensure your piece doesn’t get discarded?

Don’t go listing skills here. You want to demonstrate to the hiring manager that you can deliver on the job as required. Talk about your achievements in past job roles.

It’s more impactful to say that you’ve aided over 400 successful births than claiming you’re a skilled midwife. See where I’m going?

Keep it well structured

A well structured piece is heaven sent. Trust me.

The first half of your CV deserves 99% of your time and attention

And that includes organizing, arranging and formatting.

Use bullet points to introduce new ideas. Your summary will come out looking neat and trim.

For each skill introduced, have it bullet pointed.  Not only will it order your summary, it also ensures that the reader finds it easy to pick out points.

Use keywords

Also important are keywords.

These are the words that were used in describing the job role in the listing.

Thoroughly go through these words…

To create a bigger impact, use words nearest in meaning when describing yourself.

You may notice words like Resilience, Intelligent, Adaptable, etc in the listing.

Use similar words in describing yourself and even better make it quantifiable.

Example: “I leveraged my marketing skills to drive sales by 12%…”

There are elements that make a professional CV.  I picked 5 most essential keys, let’s see.

  1. Who are you?
  2. Is your CV unique?
  3. Customized for the job
  4. Emphasize achievements
  5. Grammatical accuracy

Who are you?

The correct answer isn’t your bio data. Your prospective employer needs to know as soon as possible everything about you, without spending long hours.

Write a short personal profile that answers the question of who you are for the employer.

 No need for unnecessary background information, simply present your industry knowledge, skills and technical know-how in a short and concise write-up. Talk about your personal goals and how it can benefit your prospective employer.

A standard of 50 – 200 words is recommended.

Remember this is the first thing the recruiter sees, so start strong and leave a lasting impression.

Is your CV unique?

No one CV suits every job. By uniqueness, I mean, is this CV specific to the job you’re applying for? If not, you definitely need to get back to the drawing board.

Tailor your CV to match the job in question. There’s no need to send out same CV for different jobs.

If your CV must stand out from the clutter, present it tailor made for that job.

Customized for the job

Your CV should be a response to the job role advertised. It must explain to the recruiter why you are the man for the job. Relate your accomplishments to the elements of the job role.

Design the CV in such a way that it directly responds to the job description you’re applying for.

These are key elements an employer would look out for in a CV when hiring. They want candidates to understand the job role they are applying for.

However, don’t copy and paste directly the job description found on the job advert or online write ups of the same job type.

So if your CV can demonstrate this, you’re on the right footing

Emphasize achievements

A professional CV shouldn’t focus on past job roles and responsibilities so much that it forget to emphasize on achievements.

What results were you able to accomplish in your past job roles? And in what ways can you leverage that to benefit your prospective employer? Write it down.

Give a relevant example of when and how you’ve proved that you are.

Also when talking about achievements, use power words moderately, such as; leveraged, managed, innovative, implemented and so on.

Grammatical accuracy

This is obvious if your CV must stand out. Grammatical errors are a distraction, and even, turnoff. So look out for them. The moment a recruiter spots more than necessary grammatical flaw, they’ll begin to lose focus.

You don’t want that.

Understand that a recruiter is both physically and mentally busy. Do your very best to keep him/her interested in your CV and to decide if you’re the ideal candidate.  Even some of the most dedicated recruiters will skim read applications, so don’t make it hard for them to assimilate whatever you’re trying to communicate.


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