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How to Prepare an HR Professionals CV

We, as human resource professionals and talent acquisition specialist, would be reviewing hundreds of CVs a day and even advising job seekers on how to prepare their CVs. But one thing I have come to realize is that when preparing my own CV, it could be as hard as a barber trying to give himself a good haircut.

Below are some tips, that I have come to realize (with proven results), to create an outstanding resume, as an human resource specialist.

Tailor Make Your CV to be Keyword Rich

Tailor making your CV to suit a job description by making it "keyword" rich is one way of making it easy for your CV to be found.

Ensure you read the job description at least a couple of times before you begin. The job description will contain job responsibilities, education, skills, personality etc. Repeat these "keywords" in multiple areas like in the bullet points of the job description and again in key skills. Using an honest selection of keywords, (one keyword in each bullet point ), will make your CV keyword rich.

The applicant tracking system (ATS) will quickly search resumes for keywords, which typically include acronyms, terminologies, or phrases from the job description. Look for these keywords in every job posting and incorporate them naturally (Do not force input the keyword. It must almost seem inconspicuous) into your resume.

Some of the most common terms are listed first, followed by acronyms referring to laws or regulations, key software, and certifications toward the end of each list.

If you are a HR Generalist, then you can use the below Keywords

  • Recruiting, interviewing, hiring, job descriptions

  • Orientation

  • Personnel files

  • Policies, procedures

  • Performance reviews

  • Confidentiality

  • Equal employment

  • Employee safety

  • Organizational charts

  • Exit interviews

  • Software: Microsoft Excel, PeopleSoft, human resource information systems (HRIS)

  • Certifications: PHR (Professional in Human Resources), SPHR (Senior Professional in Human Resources), SHRM-CP ( Society for Human Resources Management Certified Professional), SHRM–SCP (Society for Human Resources Management Senior Certified Professional)

If you are a Recruiter then you can use the below Keywords

  • Candidates, pipeline,

  • Sourcing (including tools such as LinkedIn, social media,

  • Interviewing, selection, screening

  • Hiring managers

  • Strategic workforce planning

  • Job descriptions

  • End-to-end hiring process, full-cycle recruiting

  • Recruitment metrics

  • Reference checks, Background checks

  • Offer letters

  • Wage/salary analysis

  • Job fairs

  • Closing candidates

  • Onboarding

  • Software: ATS, HRIS, Oracle

If you are into Benefits and Compensation, then you can use the below Keywords

  • Annual Leave, Maternity Leave, Paternity Leave, Sick Leave, Annual Leave

  • Benefits: total reward, health insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance, life insurance, workers compensation, disability, education reimbursement

  • Eligibility

  • Payroll

  • Contract negotiations

  • Vendor negotiations

  • Wellness

  • Benchmarking

  • HR Audits, Reporting, Salary Surveys, Compensation Surveys

  • Leave of absence (LOA)

  • Government regulations: Gratuity, Leave Salary, End of Term Benefits (EOTB), Overtime, Maternity/Paternity Leave, Sick Leave, Annual Leave

  • Software: timekeeping systems, Human Capital Management (HCM), HRIS, HRMS,

If you are into Employee and Labor Relations then you can use the below Keywords

  • Grievances, disputes, investigations

  • Employee relations

  • Disciplinary and termination meetings

  • Employment Agreements

  • Conflict resolution/management

  • Contract negotiations

  • Legal and regulatory compliance

  • Salary and Benefits, Working hours

If you are into Training and Development then you can use the below Keywords

  • Development and implementation

  • Subject matter expert (SME)

  • Content, curriculum, e-learning

  • Performance improvement/performance management/performance review

  • Instructional design

  • ADDIE model (analysis, design, development, implementation, and evaluation)

  • Facilitation guides, course material, training aids, job aids

  • Competencies

  • Assessment

  • Organizational development

  • Cultural change

  • Software: Microsoft PowerPoint, Learning Management Systems (LMS), knowledge management systems, Oracle, Articulate Suite (Storyline, Rise, Review), Camtasia, SharePoint, Adobe Creative Cloud

  • Certifications: Associate Professional in Talent Development Credential (APTD), Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP)

Create an Achievement Based CV You can highlight your most relevant achievements for each job, by moving the bullet points that describe those achievements, right on top or even highlighting them in the summary or CV headline section.

Include metrics or examples that illustrate how you contributed to your organization, prevented risk, improved efficiency, or took initiatives to solve a problem. Whenever possible, you should quantify your accomplishments, or measure them using numbers, percentages, or currency amounts.

Start your bullet point with a strong action verb, then add a description of your work or process, and then end with the outcome or achievement, adding numbers whenever possible.

Your achievements could be: What did you do that prevented a problem? Another is: What would go wrong if you did a bad job? How can you measure that what you did was better than what was done before or what was done on average? Read more about creating an achievement based cv

The Resume Layout and Design

Many resume layouts and design tips, apply just as much for HR resumes as for candidate resumes in any field. These tips can ensure your resume looks the part.

HR Resume Format and Sections Use a reverse chronological resume, which lists your work experiences, academic degrees, and other qualifications in order from most recent to furthest back in time.

  • CV Headline: your name and contact information, LinkedIn profile URL and a Headline

  • Experience: including work, internship, can be broken up into different sections such as “Relevant Experience” and “Other Experience”

  • Education: typically including college and advanced degrees, certifications and trainings

  • Skills: including computer software, technical skills, and languages you speak

Resume Design and Formatting A resume should be easy to read, which means the document itself needs to be well formatted and limited to a maximum of two (2) pages. Be sure to use consistent formatting and design. For instance, be sure that:

  • Your bullet points are consistent in size, style, and indentation

  • Your fonts and formatting are consistent—if job titles are going to be in bold and italics, make sure that all of your job titles are in bold and italics

  • Your design is clean and readable—font size should be no smaller than 10 and keep at least a small amount of white space between sections and entries

  • Your name and contact info are centered correctly on the page, if you choose to center them

It’s also important that your resume is easily scannable by an ATS, which can have trouble with columns, overly fancy designs, text boxes, or graphics. So keep it simple and clean and only use formatting elements like bold, underline, italics, and color to emphasize different parts of the text.

Double-Check Your Resume

Once you’ve designed an easy-to-read, keyword-rich, achievement-focused resume, it’s time to proofread the document from the top to the bottom. Don’t rely on a spellchecker alone. Show it to a few of your trusted network and ask for their unbiased feedback.

Resume Sample

Below is an example of an HR generalist's resume. This resume is designed for a mid-career HR generalist or HR business partner and highlights key skills relevant to those kinds of roles.

ATS compliant and keyword rich CV
ATS compliant and keyword rich CV


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