Updating your CV is a laborious task but so is looking for staff. Interviewers hate interviewing as much as you hate looking for a job. Hiring is often in addition to their normal workload and time is precious. So it’s no surprise that a 2015 study concluded that the average employer spends just 8.8 seconds looking at a CV. The Tinder effect apparently. This means that as well as reviewing grammar, spelling and formatting. Updating your CV should also cover efficiency.
Fashion has always been a competitive sector but with the application process being ‘Tinderised’, it is important now, more than ever, to have a concise and impactful CV. The easiest way to do this, is by splitting your application up into key CV sections that are tailored to the role for which you’re applying:
Updating your CV: Summary
Why: The shortest but often hardest part to write. The summary, AKA personal profile or personal statement is like the opening argument in a TV courtroom. The summary should highlight your unique set of skills. Telling the interviewer why they should read your CV at all.
How: State who you are and your key strengths that are relevant to the role: Do you need customer service skills? Is it a luxury role? Will you be part of a team? Is it a junior role? Do you need leadership skills? Answer the demands of the role, but keep it concise. It’s all about selling your best points as quickly as possible.
Example: An ambitious and energetic Marketing graduate specialising in digital marketing. I am organised, analytical and experienced in fast-paced environments. While studying I filled a number of voluntary roles to support marketing teams in the luxury sector, working on product launches and strategy development. I am looking forward to contributing to end-to-end campaigns as part of a wider marketing strategy for greater brand reach.
TOP TIP: Your personal statement can be followed by a brief bullet-pointed list of your key skills. E.g experienced public speaker, advanced in Microsoft Office package – including Excel.
Updating your CV: Experience
Why: This is your evidence section. Time to show what your relevant learnings and achievements in previous roles that make you eligible.
How: Use bullet points and focus on unique skills and achievements in each role. Do not repeat skills. You learned customer service skills at a luxury department store? Good, there’s no need to highlight the same skill at a personal shopping role.
- Create and schedule social media content
- Increased Instagram followers by 1200 in a three month period.
- Collate and present reports using Google Analytics and data studio
TOP TIP: Reference industry/role specific terms and programmes to demonstrate that you are informed about your industry.
Updating your CV: Education
Why: Employers want to know that you are fundamentally qualified to do the job.
How: Summarise your education, starting with the most recent. You do not need to include every single grade. Most interviewers are more interested in where you studied rather than what grade you achieved. Select key achievements tailored to the role.
- Fashion Marketing BA from London College of Fashion
- 3 A-Levels (A – B)
- 10 GCSEs (A*- C)
- Key Achievements: Leadership Award in 2011. Acted as course rep throughout my university career: liaising with students and feeding back to the student union to improve the course.
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Updating your CV: Hobbies and Interests
Why: Company culture has become a priority for most brands. The best companies will be looking for employees that can enrich their teams with skills outside of those required by their role. This is even truer for startups and small businesses.
How: Interesting and individual extracurriculars only. Make it specific. Everyone likes to travel, highlight a memorable place you’ve been or would like to go. Use this section to substantiate claims you’ve made earlier. E.g. if your personal profile describes you as goal focussed then it would be useful to refer to an interest in competitive sport or training for an organised run.
Example: I love baking and cooking. Desserts are my speciality and I am looking forward to a one-day patisserie course at the end of next month.
TOP TIP: Don’t lie to sound more interesting. The interviewer is more likely to ask you about your hobbies than they are about your degree classification.
Updating your CV using sections will help streamline the information. Consider the purpose of each sentence – if it isn’t adding new and relevant information, it’s got to go. Splitting your CV into sections will signpost an employer through your application, highlighting the many reasons they should hire you.
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Words by Akilah Cohen