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Laszlo Bock, Google’s head of People and HR, has written a piece on LinkedIn recently which I think is really important and applies to CV tips for sales and marketing professionals. We work in a ‘numbers-based’ business and Laszlo’s advice really applies in our industry. I read so many CVs which only state what candidates do but fail to explain how well they do them. Those candidates might be brilliant or rubbish as far as the reader is concerned. You might know you’re the former but unless you tell the reader then they might assume you’re the latter. Here’s a key part missing from most CVs (a link to the full article is provided both above and below) “How do you make your accomplishments stand out? There’s a simple formula. Every one of your accomplishments should be presented as:

Accomplished [X] as measured by [Y] by doing [Z]

In other words, start with an active verb, numerically measure what you accomplished, provide a baseline for comparison, and detail what you did to achieve your goal. Consider the following two descriptions of the same work, and ask yourself which would look better on a resume:
  1. Studied financial performance of companies and made investment recommendations
  2. Improved portfolio performance by 12% ($1.2M) over one year by refining cost of capital calculations for information-poor markets and re-weighting portfolio based on resulting valuations
The addition of the “12% improvement” makes the statement more powerful. Adding “($1.2M)” anticipates the reviewer’s question about whether 12% is a big deal or not. If you improved investment results by 12%, but that meant going from $100 to $112, that’s not too impressive. But adding $1.2M to the starting portfolio value of $10 million is huge. Explaining how you did it adds credibility and gives insight into your strengths.”

Post Author: Ewan McKay

Ewan runs a recruitment business specialising in sales jobs and marketing jobs for media companies.

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