Working Transitions

5 minutes with... David Hardy - creating an impactful CV

Welcome to our monthly series - ‘5 minutes with…’ - quick, chatty interviews with specialists working across HR, Recruitment and Transition.

This month we talk to David Hardy, a Working Transitions Career Coach, about how to create a compelling CV. David talks us through how to take a personal profile statement to the next level and the framework he uses with clients to create a high-impact CV!

Hi David, how important is a profile statement and what’s the best way to create a statement that reflects you as an individual?

Generally, the profile statement should always be in a prominent position at the top of the CV, therefore the reader's eye is naturally drawn towards it. It’s a fantastic opportunity to concisely describe what you consider to be your unique selling points or ‘USP’. Your profile statement should tell the reader succinctly what your main area of expertise is and what value you can bring to the role you are applying for. Always tailor your profile so it reflects what the employer is looking for. A great profile statement is the “hook” that makes the reader read on.

I work with my clients to find key words that truly reflect who they are - both personally and professionally. There’s more to this than meets the eye. For example, when working with a Business Analyst, I asked him to tell me about how he added value to the organisation. He said that he anticipated potential problems and put contingency plans in place to mitigate risk. ‘So you are ‘forward thinking’?’ I said. These were the opening words of his profile. Somebody told me that you couldn’t possibly start your profile with the word ‘passionate’, but if you’re a Senior Fashion Designer producing high quality for the elite female apparel market, then being passionate, market-led, consumer-driven, innovative or creative may be appropriate when starting your profile. However, ‘Passionate Management Accountant’ would be wholly inappropriate.

How do you define previous roles?

I advise my clients to think carefully about what they want to project to prospective recruiters. The profile statement is the ideal place to tell the recruiter what YOU want them to hear. If you are changing sector, you may want to use a slightly different or more generic title. A ‘Sales Adviser’ within a travel company may call themselves a ‘Travel and Leisure Industry Adviser’ if they wish to remain in that sector. If they wish to pursue a role that does not involve sales, they may use the title of ‘Customer Service Adviser’ or ‘Business Support Professional’.

Some company-created job titles don’t mean anything outside of the organisation. When working on behalf of a financial services company, I encountered the job title of ‘Collateral Co-ordinator’. Translated into external-speak, it meant ‘Credit Controller’.

What do job seekers need to do to add value to their CV?

Adding value is essential when writing an engaging profile. Link back to the ‘power’ word that we touched upon earlier and use it to demonstrate, in a single sentence, the top line value that you will bring to an organisation. For example, I asked a PA/Executive Secretary to describe the key thing she did that made a difference to the life of her boss. She said ‘I free him up to focus on making decisions that are important to the business’. The first sentence of her profile read ‘Trusted PA/Executive Secretary prioritising the workloads of senior managers to enable them to focus on making business critical decisions’. Other link phrases may include ‘with a track record of success....’, placing people and processes at the heart of performance....’, initiating and embedding systems to raise productivity....’ There are many ways to articulate what you do and where you add value in a single sentence.

What advice would you give on including attributes?

Most people have many attributes – you may be ‘emotionally intelligent’, ‘solutions-orientated’, ‘insightful’, or ‘articulate’. One way of starting the second sentence of your profile is to state 3 attributes followed by some technical components of the role, so that recipients will know a bit more about you. A cautionary note is to ensure that you can provide specific examples of using these when attending interviews. Everything in the profile needs to be objective and backed up by facts.

How do you pull it all together into one concise statement?

Below is an example statement that shows how a final statement looks and flows together:

“Strategic CIMA qualified Senior Finance Professional with proven expertise in collaborating closely with senior executives to contribute to the formulation and implementation of strategies that have delivered over £35m cost savings and 42% ROCE in a highly regulated global pharmaceutical business.

Significant experience in interpreting complex data, presenting investment and business cases which have increased company value by over 32% in two years. Insightful, articulate with an enquiring mindset. Strong commercial acumen with proven influencing skills that have demonstrably shaped the future direction of current organisation.”.


In a nutshell – the ‘roadmap’

  1. Pick a word that reflects you personally and professionally

  2. Define your role

  3. Demonstrate added value

  4. Attributes and Technical Components

  5. Pull it all together


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Image of a CV, a cup of tea, and a computer on a work desk.
Working Transitions
24 November 2017
Supporting effective and successful organisational change


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