As a marketing expert looking for a new role, your CV can strengthen your personal brand, showcase your skillset and sell yourself as the right marketing professional for your ideal role. However, it can be a daunting task to sell yourself in your marketing CV. Here are the main steps to follow to write an effective CV and the biggest mistakes to avoid!
1. Make sure your marketing CV is tailor made
When writing a marketing CV it’s always good to tailor it to the role or company that you’re applying to. Unfortunately, when it comes to CVs, one size doesn’t fit all. Don't just use the exact same CV for every role you apply to, edit it each time (even just slightly) to fit the specific role. As a marketing professional, you would never invest your budget in a campaign or spend time on design work without understanding your target audience and analysing customer behaviours before shaping your message. Approach your marketing CV in the same way!
What areas of marketing do you specialise in? Are you a digital marketer, an SEO specialist, a content marketer, a social media expert, a or a multi-channel marketer? What kind of organisation do you want to work for? Are you looking to work for a marketing agency or for an in-house role? Maybe you want to join a large organisation with opportunities for international travel, or a small start-up with growth potential? These are the essential questions you should ask yourself before applying for any role, and tailoring your CV accordingly.
2. Quantify your most relevant experience
Do you have any marketing qualifications? Fact and figures are a great way to reinforce your results and help you stand out. What specifically did you achieve in your last role - maybe you increased engagement across social media channels, won new clients, generated % ROI with a new marketing campaign, or increased traffic to your website through content creation? Think of your marketing CV as the About Us page on your website - it's your chance to sell yourself and showcase why you are the right choice. Highlight your relevant qualifications, marketing experience and your career achievements. Use your CV as a chance to highlight your unique selling points and don't include unnecessary details - stick to showcasing your skills and experience that make you the ideal person for the role.
3. Write an effective introduction
As a marketing professional, you know more than anyone how an introduction or heading can either draw people in, or make them move on. Be selective and creative. When it comes to the introduction, or executive summary, of your CV, you need to think like a content marketer - highlight the reasons you are well suited to the specific role in a conversational way, explain your unique selling points and ensure that the employer wants to find out more about you.
This is not only about creativity but also using your SEO knowledge to concisely summarise and include the relevant keywords, experience and skills to make your potential employer want to read on. Some companies may use an Applicant Tracking System and scan your CV for the inclusion of certain key elements before a human actually sees it. Identify key words and phrases from the job description and include them in your introduction, as well as throughout your CV.
4. Highlight your wide range of skills
When applying for a marketing role, you of course want to make the experience and skills on your CV as specific as possible, particularly when applying for a highly specialised role. However, don't underestimate the value of your other skills and don't entirely miss them out. These include organisation skills (for managing multi-channel campaigns), numeracy skills (for analysing campaign performance and budgeting), digital skills (even without coding you'll need to show your aptitude for technology), communication skills (for written and video content, as well as communicating with your team, wider company and clients), and leadership and people skills (for understanding customers and clients, and managing a team effectively), as well as many more.
5. Protect your personal brand and keep formatting simple
Although it is good to be creative and stand out, it is not always the best idea to do this through formatting. Employers will receive so many applications that basic errors could end in rejection. Bad formatting, typos, awkward layouts and inconsistencies can damage your brand and halt your application before it's even started - don't make that mistake!
It’s always a great idea to put the order of your previous jobs in chronological order, and date them so it’s clear where you worked, when and how long for. If you don't do this, it instantly sends out the wrong message and reflects negatively on your organisational and communication skills and almost immediately disqualifies you from progressing further.
While it’s fine to show a bit of personality in a CV do not go over the top. Nearly 40% of respondents in a YouGov poll put poor design down as a reason to disqualify an applicant. So what counts as over the top? Unusual fonts for one - stick with Arial, 11pt in black, it's easily read, smart and formal. What paper should you use? Easy - white A4. Do you need any snazzy borders to jazz it up? Absolutely not. Remember this is a professional document with the aim of selling you in a few seconds. You’ll definitely stand out using unusual formats, fonts and colours but not in the way that you want. Bullet points are your friend here. They’re to the point (no pun intended), easy to read and are great for people who are reading in a rush. Keep your CV clean and simple and let the content sell itself.
6. Honesty is the only policy
It goes without saying that all information must be accurate and correct. Most companies carry out thier due diligence, so only note the skills you have, the systems you are capable of using, and the marketing knowledge you have gained in your career.
There we have it - if you follow this advice and avoid the big mistakes, your marketing CV will be infinitely better and will strengthen your personal brand, showcase your skillset and sell yourself as the ideal marketing professional.