How to write the perfect CV for jobs in the Process Industry
There is no perfect template for writing a CV, and there is a lot of conflicting advice out there. This article will assume you know the basics, in terms of length, structure, personal details, contact details etc. If not, I found this Factsheet to be helpful.
Helpful CV Factsheet [http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/jobkit-cv-writing.pdf]
This article is tailored for professionals looking for jobs in the Process Industry, so it will be helpful to engineers, project managers, technical sales, plant maintenance, system designers and so on.
Tip 1 – Know the Company!
Let’s start with the opening paragraph in your cover letter or accompanying email.
Demonstrate you have done your research into the company you are applying for a position with. The most off-putting scenario is a candidate making out he/she is desperate to work for your company, and then not being able to tell you the first thing about your product range or industry specialisms.
Research the company, read the news section of their website, understand the companies aims and objectives and subtly introduce this knowledge in your opening paragraph. Print off this paragraph, fold the paragraph in half and make sure the first 2 sentences are hard-hitting, clear and to-the-point.
“I was interested to read (on your company news page, in X magazine) that your company has recently expanded into (sector xX product range X). I would like to highlight my skills in this area to you as I am currently looking for a new position and know I would relish at an opportunity such as this”.
Tip 2 – Experience Vs. Qualifications?
CV’s should always be ‘balanced’ documents, integrating relevant experience and necessary qualifications. However, my view is for the Process Industry, your CV should be ‘experience-heavy’. Usually, engineering or system design qualifications are a necessity, but there is not really much you can say about your qualifications that are going to ‘impress’ the recipient.
Relevant experience is king so instead of listing your previous job roles in date order why not list them in order of relevance to the role you are applying for? This will make your CV much more impelling to read.
“My most relevant experience involves (working at company X, carrying out role X). This role included the following…(list of all requirements listed in the job specification – word for word if possible)”.
Tip 3 – Remove the elephant from the room…
Be honest. A CV that is lacking in relevant experience is blindingly obvious to the recipient – remember, they know exactly what they are looking for.
If you don’t have the relevant experience or skills, but really want a role in the company, it could still be worth sending your CV over. Instead of trying to gloss over the fact that your experience isn’t really relevant, address it. State in your cover letter your experience is not entirely relevant to the role, but your experience does demonstrate the following skills, that are relevant to the role.
Use your valuable space in your CV to demonstrate this, rather than irrelevant experience.
Tip 4 – Feel free to explain!
The Process Industry is a competitive and fast-moving industry, with employees often moving to competitive organisations in relatively short periods of time. It is easy to make assumptions when you see a CV like this, that the candidate is never satisfied, moves too easily for money, or simply didn’t perform.
So make it explicit. Next to each experience entry, state the reason why you left. Moving once for a better package, moving once for better experience and moving once because the cultural fit wasn’t right creates a much better perception in the mind of the recipient.
I hope the above tips are useful for candidates looking to improve their CV’s, and good luck to those of you applying for jobs!