Creating an outstanding CV is fundamental in a fruitful job search in health and safety. While an outstanding resume doesn't ensure the job, it significantly increases the chances of landing an interview. However, it is important to know the ‘perfect’ CV does not exist. There is no CV template that ticks every single box; a CV should be unique to you, your experience, and your career goals. Below we outline our thoughts on what can help to make a great CV and make you standout -
What are you looking to achieve?
The first step in building your CV, is to invest time deciding where you want to get to in your career and mapping back to see the steps you need to take to get there. Once complete, you will have a clear understanding of where you want to go and can repurpose your CV accordingly highlighting the skills that may help you to get there. For example, you may decide you want to step up into a more senior management role, so you would highlight any previous people management, training, project management and leadership experience you have gained.
If you have a number of career goals and are looking at a mix of potential positions, you may well end up with more than one version of your CV, each focusing on different areas. For instance, you may have a CV that focuses on technical specialism, one for team management, and perhaps highlighting international work – everyone is different.
This is where you can set yourself apart from other candidates. Be specific, with concise examples backed by facts and figures. How much did you reduce the accident rate by? What new wellbeing initiatives have you implemented and what was the impact? What cost savings did you make? Did you successfully take the company through ISO 45001?
It is important to make an impact with your CV. Reduce space talking about roles that you had X number of years ago and really focus on those that are most recent and relevant to where you want to be. Of course, include the job title, company, and dates, but you may decide to not expand your responsibilities there and instead invest the space with your latest achievements. If you do expand, bullet points are your friend!
This is a tough one and is helped by looking at hint 1 and 2 above. The ‘two page rule’ does hold true and this is most preferred however a slightly longer CV will unlikely hamper you, as long as it is relevant. An 8, 10, or 12 page+ CV will very likely hamper your CV, this is a big red flag for clients and something to avoid at all costs.
Certifications and Education
These are critical for many health and safety jobs, and it is important to communicate clearly. Your CV may be reviewed by HR Teams who may be unfamiliar with health and safety qualifications and memberships, as a result present these as clearly as possible with your highest level of qualification / membership at the top of your CV. Check the relevance of other qualifications for the CV, a list of every qualification ever obtained in a career is unlikely to be the best solution for every CV.
Many Recruiters will search and match keywords in some form to search for candidates for a particular role. As a result, it is important to include these in your CV. COMAH, Fire, strategy? whatever it is you have specialised in and especially what you are looking to moving into – make sure this is mentioned in your CV.
Volunteer Work and interests
Many of us will spend more time with our colleagues than with our families! Prospective clients want to know what makes you tick out of the office – you may also find some common ground.
If you are a health, safety, environment, or sustainability professional currently looking for a new position, and would like advice on your CV, our team would be more than happy to help. Get in touch here.