Monthly Archives: January 2016

Five tips to a winning CV

Five tips to a winning CV

I saw thousands of CVs in my HR career and it never failed to surprise me how bad they could be!

From being six pages long to tonnes of spelling & grammar mistakes and cover notes stating the wrong job title or, even worse, the wrong company name – to highlight a few of the horrors.

If you’re thinking about applying for a new job, whether internally or externally, you’ll only have seconds to impress the hiring manager/recruitment consultant/HR team. So it’s important you get it right the first time otherwise you’ll simply waste your time and theirs.

1.List your achievements

Go through your performance appraisals and your email folders and write down all your accomplishments and then highlight the top ones in your CV.

Make sure that you highlight key figures such as ‘I increased sales by 20%, I reduced costs by 10% or I recruited ten people every month’.

The number of accomplishments you have may depend on how long you’ve been in that role. So, if you’ve been with a particular company for a year then you may only have three bullet points, but if you’ve been with them for ten years then you may have seven achievements that you want to state.

Above all make the CV no longer than two pages.

2.Talk to a recruiting company

Recruiters can get a bad name but I’ve worked with some fantastic ones so it’s definitely worth building relationships with those in your industry.

They can give you advice on your CV, the buoyancy of the market and the realism of your salary expectations. They’ll also ask questions to understand what you are looking for.

They can then additionally look for opportunities on your behalf – roles that you would perhaps not have come across because they weren’t advertised on their website or LinkedIn.

You can download a list of recruitment companies HERE that I have put together so that you don’t have to spend time googling, you can concentrate to contacting them and getting that new role you deserve.

3.Be truthful

If you have said that you led a team of fifty then have ready examples of how you did this, what were your successes and your challenges and what you learnt.

If you’ve lied on your CV then be sure it will come out – maybe not at interview but definitely once you are in the job. And then it’s simply uncomfortable for everyone and you risk losing your job.

4.Tailor your CV to the role that you are applying for

Read the job description thoroughly and make sure somewhere on your CV you’ve covered all the requirements as best you can.

If there’s a skill on the job description that you don’t have then that is absolutely fine – but think about how you’ll learn that skill once you start so that it’s not a problem for the recruiting company.

5.Vary the vocabulary on your CV

I have seen CVs where each line begins with managed, implemented or introduced. This shows lack of imagination and laziness so don’t do it!  You can download a list of 180 CV power words HERE that I have put together that CV experts recommend, so have that by you and introduce them throughout your CV.

I quite often got asked whether to include a photo or not on a CV or cover letter.  I personally didn’t attach one but I would love to know what you think. Get in touch with your thoughts and connect with me on LinkedIn.


Caroline Arnold 

Executive Coach 

T: @carnoldcoaching

F: Caroline Arnold Coaching



New Year – New Job

New Year – New Job

So, you’ve been back at work for a few weeks now after a great Christmas holiday and you’re possibly thinking about one or more of following:

1.I already need a holiday

2. I’ll eat more healthily

3. I need a new job

If you’re thinking you need a holiday then I like you already.  I’ve never understood how people got to the end of the year with holiday allowance to spare. I always suggested they could give them to me but no one ever did!

If you’re thinking to yourself ‘I need a new job’ then I completely get where you are coming from. I loved my ten years in the corporate world but every January I would always have a look at what else was out there.

If you’re thinking you need to eat more healthily then definitely look out for my fantastic guest blogger, Claire Stone, who will be ‘appearing’ here in a couple of weeks time.

Here are some tips to help you get that fantastic new job in 2016 that you absolutely deserve.

1.Be Specific

Start by jotting down these points:

  • What new job you want
  • Which company you want to work for
  • What salary and benefits you deserve
  • What your ideal team looks like
  • The ideal location.

Then against each point write down why you want it. For example, perhaps you want to work for a particular company because they are known for their leadership training – and this is an aspect that you want to focus on.

2. Experience

Use this year to get as much experience as you can so that you continuously develop your skills and grow your network.  Volunteer for projects or secondments so that you get experience and gain exposure to a different division and team. Talk to your HR team and see if they need any help sponsoring any company initiatives or if they need someone to lead a disciplinary meeting.

3.  Job Description

Get a copy of the job description of your new role and against each bullet point write down two examples of how you can demonstrate that criteria.  If there are any genuine gaps then make a plan on how to overcome that gap or at least be prepared to answer how you will learn it quickly on the job. Then highlight what skills you do bring to the role.  Remember that, generally speaking, men will read a job description and think to themselves ‘I match some of that’ and apply.  Whereas women will tend to view a job description and think to themselves ‘I can’t do some of what’s being asked for’ and so won’t apply. Stop doubting yourself and apply!  If you actually apply you may get an interview and may even get the job.  The worst that can happen is that you don’t get the role but at least you’ll have gained from the experience and if you ask for feedback then you demonstrate that you are engaged with the process and they may keep you on their books for another opportunity.

4. Communication 

Talk to your manager and HR about your aspirations and how you can work together to achieve that. Don’t wait for your annual appraisal in October – get on their radar NOW.   I was a Senior HR Manager in London and it never failed to surprise me how many people didn’t tell their manager that they wanted to succeed in the company.

5. Coach

Talk to your Director or HR and ask if your company has an executive coach. If it does then ask if you can have some sessions with the coach.  If they don’t have such a one then consider hiring one yourself as it will make a huge difference.  I coach women to change their mindset and become more confident helping them to achieve more rapid career progression.  It’s always such a pleasure to see women achieve their dreams.  I wish you all the best in your search for that amazing new job that you deserve.

I just gave you 5 tips on how to get a new job, it would be good to hear which one stood out to you the most and why. Please do connect with me on LinkedIn, it would be great to see you there.


Caroline Arnold 

Executive Coach

M: 07886 794 742

T: @carnoldcoaching

F: Caroline Arnold Coaching