Making my CV Great

In this episode Tamsin speaks to CV expert Suzie Henriques of the CV Bee about how to present your CV in the best possible light if you are looking for a new job, promotion, change of direction or returning to the workplace after a career break. Post-divorce, this is often a course of action people need to take. Suzie’s advice will help you to be as well prepared as possible.

Known as The CV Bee, Suzie Henriques offers CV writing services that support professionals to showcase their skills, strengths and experience. She specialises in a personalised approach, working closely with each client to build their confidence and help them achieve their career goals through expertly written documents and knowledgeable guidance.

Suzie has over 18 years of professional experience and began her career with John Lewis, the UK’s leading employee-owned business, where she held a range of project management, leadership and HR positions. She joined the Civil Service in 2017 as a talent manager with the flagship cross-government Fast Stream programme, enabling high-potential future leaders to learn, grow and develop, before moving to the Department for Work and Pensions where she delivered digital apprenticeships, internships and skills pathway programmes.

She established her business in 2020 and as a Level 7 qualified coach, Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), has the insight and experience to help people identify their strengths and demonstrate their value on that all-important CV. She also provides support for LinkedIn profiles, covering letters and application forms, enabling clients to present their best professional self when it really matters.

The CV Bee


Tamsin is a Chartered Financial Planner with over 20 years experience. She works with couples and individuals who are at the end of a relationship and want agree how to divide their assets FAIRLY without a fight.

You can contact Tamsin at or arrange a free initial meeting using She is also part of the team running Facebook group Separation, Divorce and Dissolution UK

Tamsin Caine MSc., FPFS
Chartered Financial Planner
Smart Divorce Ltd

P.S. I am the co-author of “My Divorce Handbook – It’s What You Do Next That Counts”, written by divorce specialists and lawyers writing about their area of expertise to help walk you through the divorce process. You can buy it by scanning the QR code…
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(The transcript has been created by an AI, apologies for any mistakes)

Tamsin Caine 0:06
Hello, and welcome to the Smart Divorce podcast. In series 5, my guests will be helping you to come out of your divorce, dissolution, or big breakup and create a different you move forward with the things that you want to be able to achieve. And think about things differently. I really hope you enjoy this series. I'm your host, Tamsin Caine. And we'll be meeting some fabulous guests, I hope you enjoy them. If you do have any suggestions as to the guests that we could have on, then we'd be more than delighted to hear from you. I hope you enjoy.

Hello, and I am absolutely delighted to be joined today by Suzie Henriques, hope that's how you pronounce it, but I'm sure... Nailed it! So Suzy, who is also known as the CV Bee is a CV writer with over 18 years of professional experience in people development, beginning of her career with John Lewis, very nice, I, that would be a bad plan for me, I just spend too much. She later joined the civil service in 2017, as a talent manager before establishing your own business in 2020. She's a level seven certified executive coach, chartered member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, and a fellow of the chartered Management Institute, and has the insight and experience to help people identify their strengths, build their confidence and demonstrate the value on that all important CV. So why am I talking to somebody who writes CVS on a divorce podcast? Well, it seemed like a good plan as lots of people want to change jobs going different direction, need to earn more money, etc, etc. So having some helpful handy tips as to how to Kacie B's? Absolutely. Bob on seemed like a great idea. So where do we start? So I guess, I guess to start with, probably what, what makes a good CV?

Suzie Henriques 2:32
Okay, so it's kind of a million dollar question. In many ways, it's quite interesting that with all the changes in the recruitment space, in terms of kind of new technologies and new tools, the CV really still is very much kind of the gold standard, you know, in terms of presenting your professional experience, what you can contribute the value you can add to an organisation. And the way I approach approach it is kind of what I described as the five R's. So if you're okay with me to kind of go straight into that, because there's quite a bit into each of those areas, to kind of talk through, and sort of my my approach to that, really, and I could talk about this topic all day, by the way, you may be back, because I absolutely love what I do. And it's a real privilege to work with the clients, I do support. And I think the important thing to say about CV writing is kind of starting the importance really of starting right at the beginning. So it's really tempting to just kind of maybe pull off a template online, just to kind of keep adding your experience to a document that you've maybe sort of had in your possession that you've been dragged out every few years. And you have this kind of really lengthy, kind of quite unwieldy document. And actually, particularly if you're at a stage of your life, where you know, you're going through some change in transition, you're, you know, making some different steps, and you've got perhaps quite a clear focus about where you want to go. That's the time to really sit down and reflect, first of all, so before you even kind of hit keyboard, got that pen and paper in hand, really just take some time to think about, you know, your strengths, your skills and capabilities, what you want as well, you know what the goal is, because when you're writing your CV, you you need to focus it towards where you want to go. And so that's a really important stage. And I think that's something that people often overlook, in the eagerness to kind of, you know, get down to what font size should I use? How many pages should it be? How should it be structured, but actually, you know, taking that time to really reflect on your USP, the value that you add, you know, what you can uniquely bring to organisations is a really kind of key key stage. So I would definitely, you know, really sit down and think about that. And part of that process might be having some conversations with colleagues and you know, with friends to reflect on your experience to draw out some of those kind of old pieces of feedback or maybe awards or kind of those professional highlights that you can think back on and draw some some sort of key attributes from?

Tamsin Caine 5:06
Can I ask you a question? Just because a lot of the people who are listening have gone through a massive life change. And post divorce, I often find that people's confidence is at an all time low. And especially if they feel they're under pressure to get the job or to earn a certain amount of money. So that they can kind of maintain their lifestyle that they that they were used to, before or or to, to maintain their kids lifestyle is often another one, and actually thinking about what you're good at, and think and kind of carry it sort of shoulders back head up. This is who I am. And this, this is kind of what I'm great at is a really difficult thing to do. I like the idea that you suggested about talking to friends, but what what else might they be able to do? How else might they be able to kind of draw out that confidence on the page? Because that, you know, putting yourself forward in a positive light is going to be massively important, isn't it?

Suzie Henriques 6:17
Yeah, it is. And in normal circumstances, what I'd be really recommending people do is to really, you know, write their CV, ideally, at a time and place where they do feel positive, or they can reflect well on their experiences. But yeah, fully accepting that that's not always easy. And I work with clients in a range of different positions, it might be someone that's looking simply for a career change, might be someone looking for a promotion, it could be somebody who's in, you know, an unhappy place in a role, you know, divorce may be part of that experience, you know, they may be in a redundant situation, and that, that's really tough. So the journey of writing a CV, in some ways, can be quite emotional. And it's as important as the end product in many respects. And I would say that, you know, if you are someone that's finding it tough to kind of, you know, reflect on that positively and draw strength from from those reflections, then working with a professional CV writer might be a great thing to do, because actually, then you're not on your own. If you're working with somebody like me, you know, I've got a background in coaching, it's not just about the piece of paper we produce, it's about the conversation, we have the support and knowing that you've got somebody in your corner, that's going to present you in the best possible light, what we record in coaching, unconditional positive regard, you know, full fully respectful of the client's position. And, you know, certainly in my experience with the clients that I've worked with many, many different sort of roller coasters of emotion that we've been through. And that's overwhelmingly, kind of the feedback that I get is that it's not just been about the product, it's not just about the written document, it's about the thinking, the reflection, and the support the as I say, the sort of championing from my point of view of that person's strengths and capabilities, and asking the right questions, you know, and if you are working with a professional CV writer, clearly, obviously, I would always recommend that because I think it's a really good investment to make and in you, you know, work with somebody that you feel you can connect with, you can feel that you've got that chemistry, where that's maybe got a background or experience that sort of, you know, resonates with yours, you know, have a conversation, check out their credentials, do all that due diligence. And, you know, one of the key aspects of the way I work and that, you know, I think SIBO writers should be taking this approach is to really, you know, have that consultation, have that call, have that conversation where, you know, I can ask those questions, I can reflect that back to the client and seeing yourself kind of captured on paper, objectively, by a professional, in, you know, in the experience that my clients have is, is overwhelmingly positive and can make you it can be a real game changer. So I think there are other techniques, you know, there might be sort of broader coaching that you can do, there might be some work on your strengths and sort of, you know, there's different sort of tools and mechanisms out there that are available for you to sort of really think about what your strengths are reflective, journaling, you know, going back and drawing out sort of, as I say, key pieces of feedback, maybe previous appraisals, if you've been in what sort of, you know, you know, kind of gathering that, that that evidence, if you like that sort of homework, that you can start to translate that into a CV in a way that, you know, employers need to sort of see it and understand it, but I would say that sort of working with somebody, and I'm sure that, you know, I mean that that's your role as well. Townsend, I'm sure that you know, for you, being able to sort of support and champion your clients through that process is a key part of sort of, you know, their their confidence building and it's exactly the same, I think for CV writing.

Tamsin Caine 9:47
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Sorry, I interrupted you in your flow

Suzie Henriques 9:56
...We were talking about when we're just sort of starting starting in that that that plan and drawing on as much positivity and strength as you can, because that will come through in your CV, you know, and what you need to be doing is showcasing the best professional version of yourself if you like, and you do need to be able to, you know, sing your praises for want of a better expression, and there's no place to do that, like on a CD. So I would definitely say in terms of starting to consider before you know, before you even start to put the document together, that's a really important place to start. So that's kind of kind of what I like to, I guess, cover off. Before sort of thinking about the CD itself, so yes, so assuming we've kind of done that we're in that space, we've, we've, you know, worked through those strengths got a clear, clear goal as well, so that we can kind of orientate that CV towards that goal, because it may be that someone's looking to make a career shift, you know, as you say, secure a promotion, you know, make a bit of a transition into a different sort of career, you know, so you might write quite a different CV, depending on those circumstances. So that's why it's really important to kind of have that focus. And then I mentioned the sort of five R's, which is the approach that I take when you're writing CV, so I can work through all of that, but Do do do to fit and interrupt, kind of going off on one too. My five Rs, that's kind of a group of three. So your CB, in terms of the document itself needs to be recent, relevant and results focused. So in terms of your core kind of content, you need to make sure that it really is focusing on your, you know, most recent achievements, your accomplishments, the kind of real focus in, in the last sort of maybe five to 10 years, certainly in kinds of drawing some of those achievements out, you know, you're really looking at making sure that that's, you know, you're not dining out on things that you did 20 years ago, you know, and particularly making sure that you're using the sort of terminology and language that's up to date, that that's, that's modern, that's reflective of current practice, you know, particularly perhaps, if you're in a sort of technical fields, and making sure it's really recently focused. That doesn't mean to say that you don't include your whole career history. But it may be that you drop some of those earlier roles, for example, into a nice sort of simple summary, so that you can really focus the majority of the content on what's happened, as I say, in the last sort of 510, maybe up to 15 years, can depend a bit a little bit on how many roles you've had in that time, but you want to make sure that it feels really timely, then it needs to be really relevant. So this is a really important part of writing a CV, particularly when you're looking to apply for roles, you need to make sure that what you're talking about, and what you're presenting is relevant to the person reading the CV. And I know it sounds like a really odd thing to say, but you don't actually write your CV for you. You're writing it for the employer, or the recruiter or the highest, ultimately, the hiring manager. So you need to kind of think about what their needs are, what are they looking for? And how do you need to present your experience in a way that's meaningful to them. And there are loads of clues about how to do that, primarily through the job description, if you're applying for a role, you know, that's been been advertised, which is, you know, a pretty common route away, you'd often use a CV. So you know, make sure that you're mirroring the language of the job description, for example, you're not including things that aren't relevant, that you're focusing on what that employer needs. And sometimes the way I like to think about this is to remember those Venn diagrams you had at school.

Tamsin Caine 13:21
I like them

Suzie Henriques 13:23
Should have some little props here for this, but haven't, you kind of there's one circle, which is what the employer is looking for what they need. And they've articulated that in the job description, and you know, through the person specification, and then as you your experience, and what you need to do is kind of make that those two circles crossover as much as possible so that you'll know, exactly, you need to map your experience and skills into what they're looking for, to make sure that it's relevant to them, and to make sure they feel that you have absolutely wholeheartedly applied for this role. That's not to say you're not truthful, because I would never ever recommend lying on a CV, clearly, you've got to substantiate it or, but you need to express it in a way, as I say that's meaningful to your audience. And that's where writing a CV is, the trick of it is not to include everything. So it's not your autobiography, ironically, given that and meaning it's not the story of your entire life, it's what the employer needs to know about what you can bring to the organisation, you know, based on what they're looking for, and make them feel that you've really tailored that CV to that position. So that's the relevant bit. And that's kind of really, really key.

Tamsin Caine 14:34
So even if you're wanting to go down a different route, look at different types of roles, then then you've had before, actually that not a major problem as long as you pull out of the roles that you've had before the things that are relevant, they call them and transferable skills. Absolutely, yes. Yeah. So So those sorts of things that are that you might have And before, not not in the same role, but that are relevant to to what you're going to do now. Is that pretty much, right?

Suzie Henriques 15:08
Yeah, absolutely. So, you know, if you're in a really technical environment, and you're wanting to continue that, you really would be looking to leverage those technical skills, particularly whether specified, you know, if you're looking for a, you know, a more senior position or greater leadership role, really, you'd be focusing, then your language would need to shift that you're really placing that emphasis, you know, on that leadership capability to really evidence where you have that potential and where you've demonstrated that either, you know, in a different in a different scope, or whether you've sort of started to make those steps into that early leadership role. And so yeah, absolutely. Transferable skills are key. And I've seen quite a lot of that really over the last couple of years, you know, from particular sectors that have been affected by the pandemic, where clients and people are looking to shift that career. And they're looking to really, you know, not overly emphasised, perhaps the technical experience they've developed in those professions, but the transferable skills that they have developed during that time, and that's what we really look to focus on, you know, so you're absolutely right, it's about transferable skills, and, you know, pivoting or transitioning your career is entirely possible, you've just got to present that in a way that, as I say, is meaningful, and that you can demonstrate that you have real value to bring to that new organisation or that new sector. So yeah, absolutely transferable skills, okay, and really important to draw out. And again, the job description, you know, the language of the person specification will tell you what they're looking for. So if it's communicating skills, if it's influencing its negotiation, that's the sort of stuff you need to be drawing out, you can't make it up, of course, you know, and the more evidence based your CV is, the more clear outcomes are there are in there about how you've demonstrated that to what end the impacts that you've had, you know, all the better. The results focused elements. So you've got your kind of recent focus, you know, it's tailored and relevant to the role that you're looking for. And then it needs to be results focused, you need to kind of bake into your CV, as much evidence as you can about what you've delivered and the impact of that. So it needs to have, you know, outcomes as far as possible. And if they're numeric, all the better. Because that looks great on the page, your eyes are drawn to the numbers in another wise quite text based documents that helps the reader navigate, but it really clearly helps show, you know, how you add value where you contribute to organisational success. So you know, if you're talking about bringing new brands on board and developing business, great, but actually, if you can talk about securing, you know, for new brand contracts worth 100,000 pounds, that's a much more kind of solid example, a much more robust way to sort of position that. And I think it's really easy to overlook that sometimes. Because people just kind of get on with a job, don't they and kind of, you know, move from one project on to the next. And that's where kind of going back to that time of reflecting and drawing some of that out will really sort of pay dividends where you can really pepper those, if you like throughout the CV and really focus on the achievements and the outcomes that you've delivered. So in terms of your kind of written content, I would make, you know, that would be my advice, make sure it's recent, it's relevant to the role that you're applying for, tailor it every time. And then it's result focus, you've got achievements, you've got metrics, you've got accomplishments in the in there. And then the final two areas, I would say that make a great CV are that it's readable. So you know, visually, it's like, okay.

And if you've done some recruitment, you'll know the pain of where you get, I don't know, four pages of kind of solid block text, that's just all your eyes just kind of smart don't lay in response. So yeah, so making sure it's readable. So you know, make sure it can breathe, make sure you've got whitespace that you're using bullets, bit of light shading, maybe some nice borders, or page breaks, you know, bold or italic, where relevant, you know, just to make it easy for the for the very busy hiring manager or recruiter that's probably got lots and lots of CVS to go through. You want yours to stand out. You want the eye to be drawn right through your CV. So just think about your audience. Think about how it feels when your CV lands on that person's desk, how are you going to attract and kind of maintain their attention and make it pleasurable for them to read through so that they get the kind of full, full picture that you're presenting in the CV? I genuinely don't use kind of, sort of graphically designed CVS do they do tend to be fairly conservative sort of professional, relatively pretty corporate, I suppose sort of word based documents. I think the kind of more graphic designed options can work well in those sorts of industries, creative industries, but sort of for those more corporate environments, tend to sort of stick to the To the nice traditional Word documents, so yeah, make sure it's presentable, make sure it's easy on the eye as it as it were. And then finally, make sure your CV has reach. So make sure that you're clear about your goal and that your CV will help you reach that goal. And that kind of takes us almost back to that starting point, you know, make sure that it does capture, you know, you, what you do, who you are, how you deliver that, and where you are wanting to go what you want to achieve that, you know, the kind of goal that you have, that that CV needs to help you deliver. And I think that's a really important kind of point to, to almost start and finish on. So that would be the sort of five R's, I suppose that I would use as a as a sort of an approach to CV writing.

Tamsin Caine 20:44
I like those, I like that, that that's all that all makes complete sense. And, and in conjunction with the CV, you have the covering letter. And in my reasonably limited experience of recruiting, the covering letter is where everything falls apart. The problem is that that's usually the first bit that's received and read by the recruiter or or the or the hiring manager. So help can do you. And our listeners some some help with writing, covering letters, what should be in it, what shouldn't be in it?

Suzie Henriques 21:28
Yeah. So yeah, I think covering letters or you know, personal statements, or, in fact, even as far as LinkedIn profiles, any of what I would describe as that kind of, you know, CV related toolkit, all of those kind of documents, yeah, you need to think about that as a kind of, almost as a from a personal branding perspective that you've got, you know, a suite of documents that you've prepared that are consistent, that, you know, like all good personal branding, they're memorable, they're honest, visually appealing, kind of, you know, really do sort of, you know, give a clear message about who you are and what you bring. So in terms of the covering letter, keep it to one page. First of all, nobody wants to read more than a one page cover letter. Don't make it too long, either. So you know, again, like we said, with a CB, break it up, please, please use paragraph, please use kind of bullets and bold to just draw the eye because somebody will be skimming over that so quickly, you want their eye to be drawn to the kind of key areas. The other really important point, I think that you know, I've touched on in terms of the CV writing, but again, make it relevant, make it tailored write it for that organisation, try not to send a generic cover letter, you can have a sort of generic, or you can have a sort of core structure. So you know, for example, I would do a little couple of lines on who you are to introduce yourself, you know, what you do. So you know, how you were what you do that delivers value, what do you impact, you make an organization's a little bit about how you do that. And that's where you might talk about, you know, being highly collaborative, that you're going to influence, being a really inclusive leader, those kinds of things. And then you talk about why as well. So it's really important that in that why you talk about your motivations for this job, and nothing else. So you need to make sure that you you're talking about being excited, you're talking about, you know, something, you know, you're lifting something from that company's mission statement, or values or, or vision that shows that you understand and engaged in it and talking to their language and talking their language. And I would also highlight in the cover letter, kind of depending on what the brief is, but I would, as far as possible, highlight how you meet their requirements. So usually, a job description will have a list of essential criteria or essential skills, pick those out and tell them how you have demonstrated that because that's the best evidence they will have about your suitability to do that in their organisation. And if you've got some evidence, if you've got some metrics around that, all the better and quite literally bullet points it so if they're looking for, you know, someone with excellent communication skills, the ability to negotiate, and I don't know, technical procurement knowledge, you know, take those three points and bullet them in your cover letter and just give a brief kind of two line bullet point for each of that, you know, some examples of where you've evidence that you're making it easy for them. So think about your audience, make it easy. And just Yeah, keep it keep it simple, keep it focused, and keep it personalised to that to that position.

Tamsin Caine 24:26
I love that. Are they personalised is the one thing that that that I think it's really important because it says, I want to work for your company. Not I want to work for anybody who will take me and we've, you know, we've had we have genuinely had people applying for jobs sending us a covering letter that says, you know, I'm really interested in in working for your company, because I think stockbroking is the way that I want to go. When will I? Yeah, well, that's lovely. But we don't do stockbroking. So like, you clearly haven't read our website, you don't know who we are and, and you've fallen hurt or one. And they might have been an absolutely brilliant candidate, but they've not taken the time to research. And when I say research, I'm talking, looking at our website and finding out who we are and what we do. Because actually, that's that's kind of base level, please make sure that, that you do that.

Suzie Henriques 25:31
Absolutely. And I think there's, it's so much better to spend time on five really good applications than what I would describe as the spray and pray approach and just fire out your CV to 25 different organisations and hope for the best because because you know, a hiring manager, and you've just described that you absolutely know when a CV and a covering letter lands on your desk, when somebody's done that. So it's really, really important that you absolutely do that you want to make that hiring manager feel like theirs is the only organisation you want to work for, you know, it might not be, of course, tactically, you'll be applying to a number of different roles, but you want to make somebody feel like that. And the irony is that that's you evidencing, you know your ability to communicate and implement really effectively. So, you know, as they say, the medium is the message. So if you're, if you're describing the fact that you've got great communication skills, make sure you're really showing that in your covering letter, by the way in which you are communicating your suitability and your experience. The other thing about cover letters as well covering letters as well as that, it can be very tempting to talk about what you want, you kind of need to make sure the focus is on what you can bring to that organisation, you can talk about your passions and your motivations. But make sure you're talking about the value that you will add to that organisation. Because sometimes I see a bit of that as well, sort of a lot of what I want, kind of objective statements, it needs to be about, you know, just positioning that to kind of this is, you know, this is all the great stuff about me. And this is how it can add value to you as an organisation and ultimately to your bottom line.

Tamsin Caine 27:05
Yeah, no, absolutely. That's a really good point. I'm kind of on the subject of if kind of things in your CV and cover letter that that you've got to demonstrate what you're saying, if you say I've got really good attention to detail, make sure everything's spelled right. Yeah. And make sure your grammar right, because again, these are massive bugbears in my, in my book, and they're things that I see all the time. So grammatical errors, spelling errors, and I've had a couple of recruiters send me CVS, we've, we've recently hired the most amazing new assistant. And we're absolutely delighted whether she's Brown. But when we were receiving CVS, I'd get them in from recruiters. And I would say, can I just be clear did was this the CV that you actually received in from the person who you're applying for? Or have you re typed it? Because I want to know that if I find spelling and grammar mistakes, I want to make sure that they should be attributed to the person whose names at the top or whether there's actually a possibility that the recruiters kind of typed it onwards, and it might be their mistake, rather, original versus mistake.

Suzie Henriques 28:23
Yeah. And it's such a shame to miss out on an opportunity because of like, you know, a typo basically. And you know, a few tips on that. If you haven't ever used it use the read aloud function in Word is in the Review menu. It's this funny sort of slightly stilted American voice, I'm very, very fond of it. Now. It's my best. I use it all the time. Because sometimes when you read something your brain knows what it's meant to say. So it overcompensating compensates for it. When you need to read aloud, you realise how it's going to sound to somebody reading it for the first time, and you sort of say, oh, no, that's expressions not quite right, or that's definitely a typo. So use that if you're doing online application forms get Grammarly on your Chrome, you know, as an extension, because that will pick up grammar and spelling, you know, in, you know, on online applications, you know, it's pretty basic, but you know, check it, check it again, I find reading your CV or your covering letter, and it sounds old, from the bottom of the document the top quite effective, because again, you're having to read it properly, rather than your brain sort of skipping what it thinks should be there. Also, just something as simple as, leave it for a couple of days, forget what it says and come back to it. Get someone else to check it over for you. The other thing I find quite helpful, oddly, is if I save a Word document as a PDF, for some reason, when it's in a PDF, I spot certainly sort of more visual issues, you know, maybe if I've got something aligned properly or there's a slightly different font size, I'm much more likely to see that in PDF for some reason. So that's kind of some of the techniques I use, because it's such a shame to miss out on a great oppertunity because of a typo,

Tamsin Caine 30:02
yeah, but I think we all assume that, you know if you see these not absolutely perfect. What's going to happen in the kind of day to day tasks when we're working at speed at that? That's sort of my, my assumption with that, which, rightly or wrongly. So I have another question. So LinkedIn has the capacity to click a button. Well, I don't know if it does now, but it used to. So you can click a button and essentially generate self generates the CV. my LinkedIn profile is mostly - I better go and check after this. To make sure it is. But it's tends to be the most up to date record of where I've worked, and what and the stuff that I've done stuff that I'm doing. Yeah. So why should I not just click the button in LinkedIn and generate a CV from LinkedIn?

Suzie Henriques 31:01
So couple of things. One, you know, I suppose it's making sure that first of all, your LinkedIn profile really is showcasing demonstrating evidence, then your skills, strengths and achievements for a lot of people it might not be. So you know, have you got a really well written headline? Have you got a really well written about profile? Are your skills up to date? Have you written something in all of your experiences, to talk about what you delivered in that role is your education up to date, you know, have you got all your sort of memberships and training on there, so that'd be the first thing and it is brilliant, I think there's sort of instant click here button. The risk with that is that you're not tailoring your CV or your application in the way that we've just talked about. So I think it's, it's the sort of easy equivalent of the spray and pray approach, because all you have to do is click that button. And I think it, you know, I think it's really easy to do, but I think there are sort of some downsides to it, I think the functionality is great, but I think that you're missing the opportunity, then to really sort of tailor your CV and I think it's thinking about your LinkedIn profile, and your CV as, as sort of complementary to each other. So a lot of the time I include somebody's LinkedIn profile, you know, link a hyperlink in a CV, because you want the recruiter or the hiring manager to go and have a look, assuming that the LinkedIn profile is nicely up to date. And it's looking great, you know, nice, friendly photograph on there, you know, some good good posting good content and all the rest of it. So I think they absolutely can and do work hand in hand, if you you know, if you do so kind of judiciously and wisely and with that kind of personal brand perspective on it. Because I think what you want to avoid, particularly if you are, you know, in a challenging place, is kind of firing out your CV, pressing Quick, quick apply, you know, again, and again, and again, and just not hearing back, because then you'll get into this kind of terribly, sort of, you know, vicious cycle of sort of, you know, losing confidence, and then you sort of, it's harder to come back to that. And that's why I say, you know, making some choices about what role to apply for, and really focusing your time and attention on tailoring your application very carefully, as well as potentially doing some kind of, you know, networking, you know, building your relationships, reaching out all of those things that you hear about the kind of hidden job market, it's not so much that it's hidden, it's just about, you know, creating opportunity, you know, where, you know, sort of proactive rather than a reactive way, sometimes I think you can do both, you know, your job search strategy should be about kind of almost all of that really, you know, in balance with each other.

Tamsin Caine 33:35
Yeah, no, I think that I think that's excellent advice. And I guess sort of quite dull questions to ask you. But But I'm kind of important. You know, we're at a point where we've, where we've kind of know what what we're saying in our CV, we've, we've tailored it all, beautifully. Is there a optimum length? How should we lay out I've heard, you know, you hear what you should have a photo at the top, you shouldn't have your date of birth, you should have your address and phone number, you shouldn't have your address and phone number. There's a lot of conflicting information out there. But what's what should we be listening to?

Suzie Henriques 34:20
Right? There's lots of advice, lots of theories, lots of guidance, lots of people in this space, so it is quite busy. So you're right. Sometimes it can feel a bit overwhelming. I suppose the truth is that in some respects, there's no one way to write a CV, so how I approach it works for my clients, and that's sort of based on my experiences and my professional knowledge in sort of people development, particularly recruitment, and so on. You know, what, what I think works is, you know, clear, logical, sensible headings, so professional experience, education and qualifications. For example, I would avoid sort of any of those quirky gimmicky things like you know, I don't know describing sort of the Writing a section that says, This is what I do, or this is what I've done, you know, it needs to be sort of fairly sort of standard, don't include a photo, you definitely don't need that in the UK market, it's just a little bit cheesy, I can't offer a more sophisticated explanation that you don't need a photo. Sometimes people say, Well, somebody will click on LinkedIn and see me anyway. Well, yeah, you can't stop that. But, you know, through a CV, most companies will have quite rigorous screening processes in place, and you're wanting to avoid anything that can leave anybody open to discrimination. So no photo, no date of birth, no address full address, you just put your location, so Manchester is sufficient, or wherever you might be some people just sort of writing things like Manchester or hybrid Manchester hybrid, or working from home, for example, just to give the recruiter or hiring manager an idea of sort of where you based. So yes, you don't need to date of birth, you don't need, you know, I've seen marital status, and then sort of names and ages of people's children on a CV, you don't need any of that that's definitely a not relevant and sort of category. And so keep it simple, I use a nice kind of profile at the top, maybe six or seven lines, 100 words maximum, just to outline who you are, you know, again, that's where you'd be wanting to work in some key credentials in there. So if you're looking for a technical role that requires a technical qualification, you know, you put in there that you're, you know, a lien practitioner, for example, that you've worked in, I don't know, three or four different sectors, name those sectors, or that you've got particular experience in, you know, a particular discipline. And so nice little profile at the top, which you don't need to write profile for, by the way, you don't need to also write CV, CV just takes up space, you don't need it, it's pretty obvious when it is so nice profile, then I use a skill section to just really detail those particular specific hard skills, you know, so, so that real those kind of real key areas of knowledge that you'll be lucky to bring the roll again, really easy to tailor that, so make sure you do tailor that because it's a nice section, you can really adapt that quite easily. I tend to include some key achievements or highlights as well, in one space, but you know, the top third of the first page is really key. And usually the kind of very end of the CV is kind of what I miss people look first and then kind of glanced over the stuff in the middle. And then you know, nice, you know, reverse chronological professional experience working from your current role backwards, maybe 656 bullet points for each role, again, really evidencing what you've delivered. So start each of those with a really nice, past tense power verbs. There's something like delivered lead managed, coordinated, you know, organised, designed, developed, directed, whatever those sorts of really nice punchy words that show that what you have delivered, and that you can you can tag an outcome to that as well. And then you to work through that. And then you've got your education and qualifications, this sort of end of the CV, can you be a bit variable. So this will look quite different for clients for me, depending on sort of what what they've got in there. And I would avoid things like interests like gardening, baking and socialising. Then put that on your CV because we all like to do stuff in your spare time, depending on what your guilty pleasures may be. But you know, if you do stuff that's professionally relevant, you know, if you blog in your spare time, if you're a Samaritans listener, on a voluntary basis, if you're your school governor, if you coach a football team, anything like that, you know, that adds colour, it adds interest, it gives an insight into your passions, and it's got the other so I'm really relevant skills, you can maybe just drop a little one liner in there to draw out the skills that you sort of demonstrate. And then sometimes that can be a bit of a talking point. You know, make sure you include your relevant education and sort of certifications. If, for example, you've got a degree, you really don't need to put your A Levels GCSEs. And goodness me, I don't wanna see any old levels on a CV that's far too far back in time. So just make sure that you've put your kind of most advanced level of qualification and certifications that are relevant to the roles if you're applying for a role as a, I don't know, process improvement practitioner, but you've I don't know, done something kind of quirky and slightly interesting on the outside for like, for personal enjoyment, like, I don't know, you have a certificate in pastry making or something like that. I would suggest that that is not the place to put that because it's just not relevant. And it's, you know, just it doesn't sit well, on an otherwise very focused CV. So sure, if that kind of comes up in conversation in the interview, you've absolutely got opportunity to talk about that. But you haven't a pastry qualification is not going to make or break whether you make the SIFT and the cut for a process improvement manager role. So just leave it out and keep it really focused on what you're doing and what you're applying for. And so yeah, sorry, you asked the million dollar question, didn't you the length of a CV? Yeah, I would say the optimum length for most people is going to be two pages. Now, that is not definitive. Nobody's gonna you know, you're not gonna get no points. If you kind of go on to two and a half or three, particularly if you're in a more senior role, or again, you're in a role where, you know, I've worked with clients that I've got all sorts They've kind of made publications, kind of almost like a media appearances, that kind of thing, you know that that can sort of warrant a bit of extra space. But it really does depend if you're a very recent graduate, you know, what one page is probably enough, don't make it feel two pages if it doesn't need to. But equally, if it's on more than two pages, just really challenge yourself, have you written your entire life story from the you know, the day you started work, you know, age 16? Or, you know, have you really focused it around those kind of, you know, five to 10 year achievements with your nice, neat list of kind of early career summary? So, yeah, I would say two pages is the optimum, but you know, there's a case, you know, always a case, you know, for for a little bit more, a little bit less.

Tamsin Caine 40:47
Fair enough, I'll remove my time tending the peacock hotel when I was 15, from my pink cookery certificate, like

Suzie Henriques 41:02
five metre swimming badges as well, I'm sorry

Tamsin Caine 41:04
I need to take those off?? Very disappointing.

Suzie Henriques 41:09
If you don't know, you don't know, I think that's the case with so many people is that, you know, CVS, it tends to be something that people sort of Trundle out maybe when they change jobs every few years. And what do you do, you just kind of add to it and add to it and add to it. And I would say that if you're struggling with that, think about how you can build in kind of reviewing and refreshing your CV, perhaps every six months or so perhaps in line with your maybe your performance reviews in work, you know, where you're sort of capturing your achievements, aren't you usually and talking those through with your with your boss, or your line manager or your colleagues, you know, take the opportunity at that stage to then to build that into your CV, because that's the thing is that most clients, the thing that most clients find hardest sometimes is going back and sort of digging those out of history, particularly if you've moved on from that organisation. And they always promise faithfully to keep a log of, you know, achievements and accomplishments that you know, quickly get forgotten when you move on to the next project. So if anything, you know, try and build in that discipline, because it makes you feel good about yourself. And it makes you feel positive about what you've achieved, and clear about what you can contribute. So just think about trying to build it into a routine rather than it being something that yeah, get stuck out on a dusty draw. And just simply added to and it gets a bit unwieldy.

Tamsin Caine 42:23
I love that. There's such brilliant advice. And I think you're absolutely right, I think we could talk about talk about this all day. There's just so much to it. But I know that your advice will be so valuable to so many people who were in this position here went into wanting to move forward and get a new job or get a promotion or do something completely different with their lives post divorce. So massively appreciate that. And for any of our listeners, who would like to get hold of you after this and get you to help them because that seems like a particularly good idea. Or after all the things that we could get wrong about this? How can our listeners get ahold of you?

Suzie Henriques 43:11
Yeah, so I'm on LinkedIn, that's probably the easiest place to get ahold of me Susie Henriques or the CVB, I do have a company page on there, but find me on my personal account, that's absolutely fine, send me a message, follow me or connect with me on there. I've also got a website, the So if you go to the contact page on there, you can pay me a message through and I'll come back to you and just reflect you actually on what you just said there, you know, CV can be so life changing, just as you were talking there about people that have you know, maybe come through some really challenging experiences, you know, it can be the difference can take can be a real game changer. So, yeah, spending that time and that investment on it, I think is I would say it, of course, but it's always worthwhile. So, yeah,

Tamsin Caine 43:53
I think you're absolutely right. And if you if you can put together a fantastic CV and get, you know, secure your dream job or put yourself in a position where, you know, money's not the issue that you thought it was gonna be or you can make your life just that little bit easier, then the time and investment is absolutely worth it. So, Susie's links will be in the show notes. So feel free to click on those and and link up with her that way. And thank you very much for joining me. It's been fantastic.

Suzie Henriques 44:29
Yeah, thanks for having me. And I hope I've not talked too much about my favourite topic.

Tamsin Caine 44:33
Not at all! So it was brilliant with some really good tips there. Thank you.

Suzie Henriques 44:37
Brilliant. Thank you, have a great rest of the day.

Tamsin Caine 44:44
And I hope you enjoyed the episode of the Smart Divorce podcast. If you would like to get in touch please have a look in the show notes for our details or go onto the website So if you are listening on Apple podcasts or on Spotify and you wouldn't mind leaving us a lovely five star review, that would be fantastic. I know that lots of our listeners are finding this is incredibly helpful in their journey through separation divorce and dissolving a simple partnership. Also, if you would like some further support, we do have Facebook group now. It's called separation divorce and dissolution UK. Please do go on to Facebook, search up the group and we'd be delighted to have you join us. The one thing I would say is do please answer their membership questions. Okay, have a great day and take care


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