CV Partner is used to submit CVs and Case Studies for thousands of bids, proposals and offers every year. Based on what we have learned talking to bid managers all over the world, we have gathered some top tips we can share with everyone. The tips and tricks are ranging from wording, formatting, size, length, colors, images and the use of logos. Some of these tips seems simple and obvious, but if you go through the checklist for a specific bid, we are sure you will find something to improve your CV Partner CVs and Case Studies with.
The checklist is divided into typical topics for each section of the CV or a Case Study. Feel free to use the ones that apply to your use case and disregard the ones that are not relevant. Also, as a precautionary note, CV Partner does not take responsibility for any of these guidelines.
General tips and tricks in the CV and Case Study writing process
- Do not use business jargon but keep a professional tone of voice
- Accomplishments and performance is more important than job description and duties
- If you use acronyms or abbreviations please explain them unless the recipient is familiar with them
- Peer review is often underestimated, if you have the time before the bid is due, make sure to include relevant people in your organisation for peer-review directly in the proposal in CV Partner
- Each bullet point should start with a verb (in the tense you have decided for your company, most CVs use the past tense)
- Pronouns “I” or “my” are typically used in recruiting and you can consider using the actual name, title or other terms instead
- Make sure you add the spell checker in your browser, this way those embarrassing spelling errors are avoided. Most major browsers have built-in spell check plugins, alternatively download the Word version of the CVs and use the built in spell checker, but make sure your Master CV in CV Partner is updated and not the downloaded Word document!
- Shorter sentences is often preferred as it is easier to read by the recipient
- Avoid lengthy bullet points. Bullet points with long sentences over several lines like we have in this blog post should be avoided.
- If you use images or logos in the CV, make sure you use sufficiently good quality
- Hire a professional graphic designer to look at your CV template if it is due for an update
- Photo should have professional (white) background, no holiday photos please!
- All profile photos in your company or department should have the same aspect ratio, background and lighting
- Include both country + local code in the phone number field
- Email addresses should be without capital letters unless your corporate guidelines tell you otherwise
- Consistency across the company in formatting personal information such as titles, phone numbers etc.
- Be consistent when adding professional qualifications after your name (e.g. PMP, CFA, PRINCE2) etc. Consider using the dedicated sections in CV Partner for this information instead.
Summary of qualifications or Executive summary
- Summary of qualifications should be regarded as your “Executive summary” someone should get an idea of the consultants background, skills and performance by reading the summary.
- Include bullet points (key competencies) to highlight most relevant skills or traits
- The information in the summary of qualifications will also be included in more detail further down in the CV (in the relevant section).
- Summary of qualifications should in most cases not include future ambitions etc, but rather be focused on achievements to date
- Tailor the summary for the client's industry or the clients specific challenge if you have time. Name achievements with similar clients, industries, projects etc.
- Make sure you include both start and end date for all projects, if you have ongoing projects use the "ongoing / d.d." functionality in CV Partner
- If you use bullet points, please standardise on the format. In CV Partner this can be done automatically by using “#” sign in the Case Studies
- Most recent project first, reverse chronological order, use the built in project sorting feature of CV Partner to make sure the order is correct
- If you have several ongoing projects in parallel sort by start date (the sorting button in CV Partner does this for you)
- If the previous project experience was for a little known company or industry, feel free to include relevant metrics such as turnover, market size etc
- Standardise on numbering and use the same number punctuation as the client if you can choose
- Use currency symbols before the number. Examples: £12B, €56M, $34K, etc. Your CV Partner template can manage this for you
- The “Role Description” is often the consultant specific addition and unique contribution to the project, and can be highlight on the front page using the CV Partner highlighting/star marking functionality
- If possible, quantify the results you or your team achieved in the project
- If you have experience from non consulting or professional services work, and have had internal projects or worked on product or service development, this can described as and added as a project experience in addition to the work experience section
- Standardise on terminology i.e. M.Sc, B.S etc. (this can easily be achieved with the CV Partner master data tool)
- Exchange programs can be added either as separate education, or as a part of the summary (additional info) field
- Academic Results, GPA, GMAT scores etc belongs in the description field, not the top two fields
- Do not include extra curricular activities unless it is very specific for the bid you are working with
- List languages in order of decreasing proficiency
- Use a skill level set in your account (eg. Native, Fluent, Intermediate, or Basic) If you have not set this in your account, you can do it in the master data tool in CV Partner
- Unless otherwise specified, you can consider using the CEFR proficiency level taxonomy or the ACTFL proficiency guidelines. First step is to add these in master data together with a quick introduction in the help text field over the language section.
Publications, patents and or conferences
If you have publications such as patents or white papers please add these to Master CV but only use it in the bid if it is a relevant science or technology, or in a relevant industry. Also, if you have attended one or several relevant industry conferences this could also be relevant.
Uniqueness and differentiation
Lastly, think for a moment about competitors that might tender or bid for the same business. What are your unique differentiators? Differentiation is often a part of the bid document, but not as often it is also a red thread in the CVs or Case Studies. If you can manage this as well, you are a true bid and proposal champion!
A good Master CV takes at least 3 hours to write from scratch, even for relatively junior employees. Spend the time when you have time (for example right after you read this) to avoid spending the night before the bid is due. Despite taking several hours to write, a good CV is also a short CV. The Master CV might be long, but the CV which is sent for the bid benefits from being to the point, therefore use the proposal functionality in CV Partner to narrow down and tailor for each bid.
Before your write your own CV or Case Study, reading up and getting some inspiration on synonyms which are more precise and professional can add value. A good list can be found here. http://www.resumewritingacademy.com/
Do you have any best practices to add to this list? Feel free to share with us on social media or reach out to us on the chat down on the bottom right side.