How to write a ‘show don’t tell’ international CV

How to write a ‘show don’t tell’ international CV

Writing a believable international CV is harder than it appears, and is one of the most important aspects of the whole application process. If you choose to go down the route of making bold claims on your CV without providing any evidence, you are going to struggle to be believed – that’s the cold hard truth.

So what’s the other approach to writing a CV?

The ‘show don’t tell’ method of writing a CV has a far greater chance of landing an interview. Why? Because it provides evidence of performance, and proves to the employer you have what it takes.

“Numbers provide a measurable outcome to your skills and they draw the eye.” – Sparks Group

Show the employer you have the skills and experience they want – don’t just tell them. There isn’t much point to a CV if you are not going to provide a performance indicator. You might as well just write a one sentence application that reads, ‘I have what you need – hire me’.

If you want to dramatically increase your chances of getting an interview, here’s how to write a ‘show don’t tell’ international CV:

Understand what ‘show don’t tell’ means

If you think the employer will take you for your word, then go ahead with the cliché statements like – ‘I have great communication skills’. You still may get an interview, but most employers will favour a CV that shows performance.

‘Show’ you have the skills by providing examples of when they were put to the test. ‘Don’t tell’ the employers what they want to hear, as although listing the relevant skills and qualifications is a mandatory part of writing a CV, there is much more you can offer.

Provide facts, figures and results

“One of the biggest ways to make an impact right from the get-go in your resume application is to include quantifiable statements, goals, and accomplishments.” – Simply Hired

The work experience section is typically the largest part of a CV, and for good reason. This is the place you can really shine and impress the employer if you want to take the opportunity. But is there more to writing the work history section than simply listing all the job titles and tasks?

Yes, there certainly is! This is the best place to insert the ‘show don’t tell’ approach as you have an abundance of opportunity to demonstrate your talents. Remember, just because you listed all the right skills on your CV doesn’t mean to say you are actually proficient with those skills.

Don’t be afraid to use facts, figures and examples from your past performances to demonstrate your worth. Here are two examples below of what you could write on your CV for a sales role:

I have great communication skills and am able to build up a rapport with customers due to my friendly and approachable nature.

I have consistently met and exceeded my sales targets for 2017-18. Due to my efforts and results I was nominated for ‘Regional Sales Person of the year’ and came second. Over 500 people were nominated.

You can see from the above two examples that the first one is a typical example of a ‘tell’ or ‘cliché’ statement. It doesn’t add any value to the CV and doesn’t provide the employer with any indication of what the candidate has to offer.

The second statement provides a far greater insight into how the candidate is likely to perform, as it shows an indication of performance as well as results. Depending on the role there could even be the opportunity to include revenue, number of units sold, profit, and so on.

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