I’ve been having the same conversation with a lot of HR Leaders recently about their CV's being frankly, pretty crap, and thought I would share my insights here for anyone that might be looking for a bit of advice on how to stand out.
If I read “I am a strategic and operational HR professional” or “I am a pragmatic, senior HR professional with over X years experience..” one more time I think I might explode. That doesn’t mean anything, and believe me, EVERYONE says the same thing. Tell me about YOU, tell me something different, grab my attention – what type of HR person are you? Why you do what you do? What you are passionate about? What do you enjoy doing the most?
Clarify the context of your role, i.e – what the business does, how many employees the company has, over which locations, how much the business has grown in your time there. Then a (brief) overview of your role, who you report to, how many people are on your team, what client group you look after, the size of your client group.
Responsibilities VS achievements
These sort of sentences belong on a job description, not a CV, and don’t set you apart from any other HR professional doing the same type of role-
- "Responsible for delivering a full HR service across HR Operations, L&D, Payroll, Reward", etc etc – we all know what a HR leader does…
“Responsible for setting the people strategy"
"Responsible for driving cultural initiatives globally"
" Responsible for designing policies and processes"
" Providing a HR service to all employees"
In my mind, it doesn't matter what you're "responsible for", how do I know if you've actually delivered against it? Instead, write about what you've done that you're proud of, your achievements, and the impact and value that you're adding. Think deeply about the OUTCOMES of your work. Use data to back it up. Think about your Glassdoor score, engagement scores, turnover, can you authentically articulate the culture in your business and how you've helped to foster it?
What makes you stand out?
We look for People leaders that are passionate about what they do, and who think differently about the people function and what it can achieve.
What have you done that is innovative / different? Have you won awards, implemented something really ground-breaking that has received really good press? Can you give links to your Notion page, any articles you've written, podcasts you've been on or your culture deck?
How many pages?
There is no magic number, but your CV shouldn’t be 10 pages long. It shouldn’t have unnecessary detail about a job you were doing 20 years ago. It should be punchy. Anything past the last few jobs you were doing should be summarised so it tells a story and clearly shows what you've learnt from a role, not have 20 bullet points underneath a job you were doing in 2005.
I would love to know about you as a person so yes, hobbies or interests are a great addition to a CV.
Hope this helps!
Penny Daniels, Founder