Your Personal Brand can be used very powerfully in your CV. We have referred to this in earlier lessons as your Value Proposition, the clear illustration of what you contribute to your employer.
It is useful to be able to articulate this to your manager, or to people you meet at a network event, to senior managers and directors if you get the chance. And of course to potential recruiters and managers.
Think of it as the Return on Investment you offer to anyone who hires you! Follow these steps to refresh and revitalise your CV.
1. Evaluate how you add value to your role and your company, spend some time assessing and defining how you innovate, solve problems and deal with obstacles. It is quite difficult to analyse your own behaviour, so it can be illuminating to ask close friends and colleagues to give you feedback about how they interpret your performance. Prepare to be surprised at how others view you!!
2. Create (and maintain) a list of your career achievements, the things that have been your individual accomplishments, the ones you would list on your CV as significant achievements. Try to quantify them if you can. They will depend on the level you are working at, but if you are in an executive or management position could include;-
Creating new sources of revenue
Spotting (and implementing ) cost-cutting opportunities
Adding new distribution channels
Developing/Launching new products
Entering new markets
Leading a successful team
Delivering results on time, and in budget (or ahead of them )
Turning around a struggling team, department or company
3. Quantify these achievements by adding detail. For example
Quantify the Size of budgets managed
Give actual or percentage savings achieved,
State actual or percentage sales increases
Compare achievements to budget
Disclose how many employees you managed
Make comparisons that show progression, such as year-on -year increases in sales or market share
4. Prepare a Challenge, Action, Result story for each of the achievements you have listed. What was the problem you were addressing, what action you took, what was the result? You will use these anecdotes when you get to interview.
5. Assess your reputation at the company where you work. What is the perception of you? What is your leadership style? Do you influence others? Are you recognized as a negotiator, or a trouble-shooter?
Again discussions with colleagues can be informative here. Ask them to give you 5 words to describe your management style. This sort of discussion, giving you feedback about how you are perceived, should be part of your annual performance management meeting.You may be able to review those documents for information.
Can you define a niche role that is attributed to you, by yourself and others?
Consider your reputation with members of your team, your staff, colleagues, and even suppliers. And what about the Management team or Board –how do they see your contribution?
6 Pull together any supporting feedback, such as Performance Reviews, LinkedIn recommendations, references, or even informal e-mail messages, thanking you for contributing/achieving/managing .Again create a Challenge, Action, Result story for each of the comments you have.
But what if it is difficult to point to career success stories ,perhaps because you are in a position where you don’t have enough influence or seniority to make a difference, or you are a contractor, or the company you are with hasn’t experienced success, due to difficult market conditions
In this case you could draw comparisons, and point to the fact that your actions averted a worse disaster than actually occurred.
Maybe you halted a sales downturn and held sales steady when all around you competitors were going out of business. Or you cut costs enough to keep the business afloat, while still maintaining customer service.
Again, develop your Challenge, Action, Result stories that will illustrate your ability to take on and overcome challenges that others failed to achieve.
7 Pull all this new information together and review your CV, using the points above to develop your brand and communicate powerfully your value proposition. Work your best Challenge, Action, Result stories, in shortened format, into your CV, and make them into a statement of brand value in your profile.
For example “ developing business in new sectors”, or “delivering above target revenue increases “or “consistently achieving 2% market share growth annually “ “Successful change management leadership “
Once you have reviewed and refreshed your CV, highlighting your value proposition, defining achievements and building your brand, potential recruiters will clearly see the value in hiring you.