I wrote an article some time ago about CVs and what you should think about before you sit down and start writing one.

Naturally, I then put together another article about the format and content of a professional CV. Well, as a follow on to these two previous articles, I thought I would write one for managers who are looking to profile themselves on their CV.

 

Leadership vs Management

A good manager is someone who can lead effectively, whether in thought, action or through people. It is all very well to have the manager or leadership title on a CV, but it is about quantifying exactly what you were responsible for and what impact you had as a leader. It is therefore worth taking time to think about the achievements you put into place through leading people rather than just due to being part of the management structure. This then may help the CV reader understand more about how you effectively lead, rather than just managing through the virtue of your position.

 

Language

There are many ways to describe yourself when writing a CV and it is always good to use positive words such as pro-active, developed, increased etc., but as a manager you also need to think about what wording you use to describe the impact mentioned above. The key words or phrases to consider are increasing staff productivity, empowering my team, encouraging team commitment etc.- all these examples show where you become a catalyst for growth, not just in terms of the business but also through the people.

 

Resources

Highlighting the resources you have control over or sign off for is a simple way for an employer to get a sense of your capability. It is therefore worth considering a number of factors to help you define this and to ensure that the potential employer gets a firm grasp of your management pedigree.

Initially, consider the value of the budget you control, or perhaps the assets that you are responsible for. You could provide details in terms of monetary value (remembering to use an appropriate currency when applying to a company from a certain region – i.e. dollars for a US company, Euros for European organisations etc.) or actual numbers (such as how many vehicles in the fleet you manage etc.). Either option helps the reader gauge your level of responsibility.

The same could also be said for the number of staff you manage as well. We all know that managing people is very different to simply managing a balance sheet. If you are the manager of a large number of staff, then ensure you mention this. Not only will it give the reader an idea of the size of organisation you have been responsible for, but also it often shows a greater complexity to the role.

In the same light, the span of control (number of staff managed by each manager in an organisation) will often differ depending on sector, technology, specialism etc., so don’t forget to ensure this is reflected in your CV. Some sectors, such as the high end technology companies will have less staff per manager as they often need a “high touch” environment, so don’t be put off by numbers alone, it is often about the complexity of the role. However, the number, level and capability of staff combined add to your perceived level of ability to manage in a complex environment.

 

Responsibilities

One of the first things we always make a list of when writing a CV is the tasks and responsibilities relating to the role. This is not something you should forget to do when writing a management CV, but it is the level of the responsibility that you need to consider.

As above, you need to consider quantifying as well as qualifying the level of management responsibility. This can be done through assets, value, budgets and staff as we have shown, but it is also what you do to make the above productive that really matters. For instance, consider mentioning training/coaching/mentoring that you may have provided to help staff develop. This could help explain increases in productivity or help drive staff commitment and capability.

You may wish to consider projects that not only you managed, but that you sponsored/empowered, encouraging teams or staff to develop solutions themselves with your support. You may also want to think of examples where you have helped get projects back on track through effective leadership or management. This then give some indication regarding you as a motivator and someone who is able to help guide staff in the right direction. So take a few moments to not only think about the simple things that define your role, but also the areas where you have influence or can motivate others to succeed.

 

Talent

The War for Talent is a phrase that has been around since the 1990s but it is something to keep in mind as a manager writing a CV. Think about what you have done in your roles to develop and mentor talent in your teams, how you have encouraged or empowered staff, or even enriched the roles they do in order to motivate productive staff to go that extra mile. If you show that you have what it takes to help foster and develop talent or succession in your business, this will really differentiate you from the rest of the marketplace.

So, as a manager, you are not only someone responsible for company assets, but more importantly the people. Some roles maybe technical managers with more focus on capability or a special skillset, but a manager will always have some direct or indirect influence on people in their role. You therefore need to think about the previous advice provided when writing a CV, but also consider the points above to ensure you attract the eye of a potential employer.