Building Excellence into Your CV
One of the most important tools in the application process is a CV. Not only does a CV act as a gateway, helping admissions committees determine whether to invest more time into reviewing your candidacy, but it also often serves as the sole document utilized for interviews. While a CV is central to your application’s success, most admissions personnel will spend less than a minute reading it. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that it is built to maximize impact. Here are three ways in which you can increase the impact of your CV:
Tell a Consistent Story
While looking at your CV, a reader needs to feel that he’s following a single, purposeful and evolving character. Too many times, writers concentrate on the details of their experiences to the detriment of expressing how all of their experiences connect and form a consistent picture. To connect your various experiences, you need to highlight your evolving role, in terms of responsibilities and impact, as well as to try to make clear for the readers the skills that you transferred and expanded over the years.
Limit the Mundane and Concentrate on the Exceptional
A lot of people try to pad their CVs with each and every daily duty they’ve carried out or papers they’ve submitted. However, among a sea of applicants, the ordinary can hurt your application. Instead of listing every duty, highlight your accomplishments. Ask yourself what challenges have you surmounted, in what ways have you stood out from your peers, and what impact have you had on your projects, your team, your company and even your industry. An admissions team doesn’t expect that their future students have saved the world, but they do expect them to have had a positive impact on their workspace. This brings us to the final point.
Quantify and Compare
How would you compare the impact a food scientist has had on her company with that of an investment banker’s? Every achievement in your CV should have a direct and clear outcome that can be easily compared with that of someone from a completely different field. If your results are hidden behind industry terms and generic descriptions, the admissions committee may simply be left unimpressed or, even worse, confused. Instead, always try to quantify your outcomes. If there are multiple ways to do so, ask yourself which way is the most attractive? Maybe it’s an absolute figure or maybe a percentage. Another way to clearly illustrate your impact is to compare yourself to your colleagues. Was your team the only one to consistently beat the benchmarks? Did your project lead you to be the youngest employee promoted to junior director?