Last week, GWNET held a knowledge-transfer webinar for mentees and alumni across all mentoring programmes, on Best Practices for CV Writing. We were delighted to welcome key speaker Katie Howard Cross, Head of Recruitment and founder of Eva Talent. Katie has more than 19 years’ experience in executive recruitment, training & development and career coaching and has a passion for developing a company culture that supports women to rise to the top of her profession.
Considering that a normal CV is viewed for an average of only 6 seconds, it becomes quite apparent how important first impressions are. During this webinar, Katie stressed that a CV should be considered as a strategic marketing piece rather than a simple biographical narrative. She encouraged participants to craft a target-oriented CV which shows the benefits they bring to an organization and what problems they can solve.
Additionally, Katie demonstrated the features of a winning CV and outlined common mistakes to be avoided. She pointed out the different CV formats – chronological, functional, and a combination of the two – and shared that depending on the applicant’s current life situation and professional pathway, it is crucial to choose the right one. For instance, if a person has gaps in their career, it makes little sense to rely on a chronological CV, as these gaps will be more apparent. This is an especially useful tip for women who have taken time off from their workplace due to maternity leave, although – placed correctly – the skills learned during this time can also be included in a CV.
Apart from a well-rounded CV, there is another aspect that should not be ignored when applying for a job: networking! Katie pointed out that 85% of jobs are filled through networking. Therefore, we should activate our network and think about the people we want to be talking to. She also mentioned the significance of investing time in creating a high-quality LinkedIn profile, as LinkedIn is the biggest professional online network.
In a subsequent Q&A session, the webinar participants were able to share their personal questions allowing Katie to address specific situations and difficulties. Some of the key insights from the presentation and Q&A session included:
- Do not use one CV for all job applications. Each job requires a specific CV with key words that are related to the applied position.
- Ask yourself questions before writing your CV: Why do you do what you do? What makes you unique? What are your qualities?
- Avoid common mistakes like summarising your biography instead of selling your qualities.
- Think about the hiring organisation’s goals, and not about your personal goals.
- Do not underestimate the importance of networking! Go to relevant events to connect with people and use platforms e.g. LinkedIn, for networking in the virtual world.
We appreciate the expertise shared by Katie and look forward to witnessing the impact of her guidance on the professional endeavours of our mentees and alumni.
Learn more about GWNET’s mentoring programmes.