Growth through Talent

Pivotal’s top CV tips

 5th Apr 2020

In 2019, Pivotal London helped over 300 digital marketing and advertising professionals find their new dream job. Due to our years of experience, we know what hiring managers look for and what candidates need to successfully build their future careers. Below are some of Pivotal’s top CV tips that will help your CV stand out from the competitive job market and get you the job you’ve been waiting for. 
Personal Statement (no more than 100 words)
Give some opening insight into you
  • Facts about your years of experience, international background, specific things that differentiate you
    • What not to include: generic “hard-working”, “reliable” keywords because in truth, anyone can say this
  • Balance technical skills with soft skills
    • For example, if you are an expert in certain IT Technologies, Marketing Tools – highlight this!
    • And also on the soft skill front – if you think you are a great team player, fantastic, but it will back it up more if you highlight you were awarded team member of the quarter twice in the last year (for example)
  • Want to describe what personality type you are? – then do you have your Myers Briggs personality type result that you can include? 
  • Finally…if you are applying for a very specific type of role there is no harm in including this in your personal statement, just consider you may rule yourself out of potential other opportunities that are more general

Example: Having built my career as a successful Performance Marketing Director, then developed into a Performance Marketing Agency business owner with experience of founding XYZ Marketing Agency, a well-respected London based performance marketing agency. This has resulted in XYZ growing from a bootstrapped start-up to achieve a turnover of £2.3m million, 27 employees within seven years. With a track record of embracing new challenges and successfully delivering key business projects, my personality type is an Entrepreneur, of which traits include extrovert, observant and committed


Key Achievements (3-5)

  • Bullet point format
  • GET TO THE POINT! Give an outcome and back these up by figures, %’s, results. These can be career or personal achievements:
    • What are you most proud of?
    • What were you instrumental in achieving

Example: Highest personal revenue contributor at XYZ and top achiever in years 2015, 2016, 2017

Career History (before Education if you have work experience)
  • Most recent experience first
  • Short summary of your employer, ie: Global computer software company, 2000 employees and HQ’d in San Francisco
  • Focus on your most recent OR most relevant experience for roles you are applying for the most, rather than a role you did 7 years ago that doesn’t compliment your application
  • Structure: Role, How, Outcome
    • Role – describe the situation you were in or the task that you needed to accomplish
    • How - what key competencies and capabilities that you used
      • Highlight what may have made the situation more complex or challenging, what action did you take (not your colleagues – this isn’t about bragging, but highlight what you did)
    • Outcome - quantify the outcome in figures or percentages if possible because this is universally understood – ie: % increase in sales, % reduction in time saved, % increase in customer satisfaction for example…

Example: New Business: Since 2016 I have won 14 new clients which have resulted in 22% of our companies overall revenue spend...

Education (before work experience if you are a graduate)
  • Only Higher Education is needed (don’t worry about GCSE’s etc, unless you are a fresh graduate, then it’s still relevant)
  • Discipline, Subject, University, Grade

Example: BSc Information Technology: University of Liverpool – 2:1 (2007-2010)

Skills, Interests and Extra-Curricular Activities
  • Be honest! Because if you get asked in an interview what book you are reading at the moment and you aren’t, yet claim to read 100 books a year it could be a bit embarrassing!
  • Give things context, not just say you are charitable
  • 3-5 bullet points is fine

Example: Raised money for Children with Cancer by completing Tough Mudder. Also, contribute to Wrap Up London to support homelessness

A few key general tips:
  • Length – 2 pages (absolute maximum is 3 and only if entirely necessary)
  • Ensure you highlight as many keywords as possible – recruiters will be searching job boards CV’s based on “Boolean searches” so make sure to highlight those likely search strings, ie: “Sales Manager”, Performance Marketing, PPC, Paid Social, Java, SQL, HTML, etc.
  • Upload your CV onto job boards including, Total Jobs,
  • Download Grammarly app on your computer on google chrome– it is free and you can upload documents to it in which it checks grammar, your tone – ie: informal, formal, friendly, academic, technical, confident, joyful, analytical and gives you a % score! 
  • It also makes recommendations of the words you can change if you want it to be more/less formal etc. It’s really good 
If you’d like to get help on creating or improving your CV, let us know! Get in touch with our specialist team here, we’d love to advise you.
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