Image module

Marketing Yourself with a Winning CV and LinkedIn Profile


These are challenging times and to find the right job, you’ll need to stand out from the crowd.

In my 25-year FMCG recruitment career this is the topic that most people want to talk about. Creating a winning CV and LinkedIn profile seems to be the part of the recruitment process that most people jump to as the most important thing to “get right”.

Of course, it is important and after reading thousands of CVs over 25 years I’d like to share some thoughts with you.

In that time, I’ve seen all manner of CVs: with fancy fonts, typefaces and layouts – logos, pictures and graphs. Some remarkable photos of smiling or rather earnest looking candidates all keen to impress and present the “right” image.

But therein lies the fundamental point. There is no “right” image for a winning CV. It is your CV and you are unique and so must be your CV. Sure there are guidelines to follow and it needs to be clear and easy to read, but it is essential that it is true to you, your strengths and achievements to date.

Creating a Winning CV

There are companies which charge hundreds of pounds for “Professional CV Writing” services. Yes, they will offer you advice and support and why not look online for ideas. However, most CVs follow a similar format. I have highlighted below my advice on how to create a winning CV:

  • I recommend that you start with a punchy profile statement (4 or 5 comments about YOU which communicate your strengths and experience). Think of this like the front cover of a book. The first thing you want people to see when they open your CV is your 4 or 5 profile statements and what you will bring to their business.
  • Then your career to date. This needs to start with your most recent role, with a maximum of 5 or 6 main responsibilities and achievements. Very few people will want to read more detail than that!!
  • Then go back through your career to explain the roles you’ve had and your successes. Make it clear the value you added and how this will benefit the new employer. That’s what they want to read. What YOU will bring to their company and to their role.
  • Include details with numbers, percentages and tangible results where you can – clearly being careful about confidentiality.
  • Also include your academic background.
  • Then a short, very short section about you. Explain a little about your interests and out of work achievements.
  • Personal information such as your address and contact details should be at the end of your CV out of the way.

This should all be in 2 or 3 pages tops!! and it is vital that your CV reflects you, who you are and your achievements.

Leveraging LinkedIn

In terms of LinkedIn this is pretty much ubiquitous nowadays and having a strong profile is essential. The same guidelines apply as a CV, but here you can add skills, join groups, recommend others, like posts and more.

My advice is to invest time to keep your LinkedIn profile relevant and up to date. The more active you are and the more details on your profile – the more likely it is that a recruiter will “find” you in a search for their role.

Some recruiters will also look at your other social media profiles (including twitter, Facebook and Instagram) so be sure that they give the impression you want. Have a look at your profiles, ask others and review your privacy settings to understand how others see you online.

Remember, the key point is that your Winning CV and LinkedIn profile will represent and sum up who you are, not a cut and paste copy of what someone else thinks you should be.

Image module

Want to know more?

If you want to know more about how to market yourself and navigate your career, sign up to one of our Career Management programmes. Or contact us at