How to Create the Perfect HR CV in 6 Steps
As an HR professional, it’s no secret that you need a strong CV if you want to make a lasting impression on potential employers.
Being that HR roles of any nature require certain skills, knowledge, and levels of experience, it’s important that your CV highlights your attributes in the right way so that you’re giving the clearest, most concise overview of your achievements.
We know that creating a strong human resources CV can be difficult, but we’re here to tell you that it’s actually easier than you might think! That’s why we’re outlining how to create the perfect HR CV in 5 simple steps.
Step #1: State your objective
Similar to a company mission statement that introduces employees to a business’ existing goals and values, it’s a good idea to include a standout objective statement at the top of your CV that introduces you to the hiring manager in 1 to 3 sentences.
The key here is to catch their attention, and when you’re applying for an HR role, that means emphasising your interest and experience in Human Resources. If you want to take it to the next level, it’s also a good idea to change up your objective statement and personalise it to each company you apply for.
If you’re not sure where to start, here are a couple of HR-focused examples to give you some inspiration:
General objective example
‘CIPD graduate with [X amount] of HR experience across a variety of industries. Currently seeking a position in HR management to utilise and elevate my strong communication and leadership skills.’
Specific objective example
‘Ambitious and forward-thinking HR professional with polished interpersonal and multitasking skills. Looking to join [insert company] for the available Human Resource Specialist role to provide enhanced administrative support in your HR department.’
2. Touch on your education
While most of us are used to listing an overview of our education below our work experience on a CV, it might come as a surprise to you that we (and the CIPD) recommend listing this section before you dive into your employment history.
This is because your degree and/or CIPD qualification is likely to be one of your strongest and most relevant achievements as an HR professional. So, if you’ve completed an HR-related degree or HR qualification, it’s important to draw attention to that right away to let employers know you’re well-trained and knowledgeable in the industry.
You can also provide a brief overview of the key modules you studied and the skills you developed through your education, highlighting the mixture of hard skills and soft skills you’ve acquired through your learning. You can even scan the job description of each role you’re applying for to pinpoint the critical HR skills the recruiter or hiring manager is looking for to give you some guidance if you’re stuck.
Your HR degree or relevant HR/CIPD qualification should be listed first in this section, followed by your college or university, and finally your secondary school education.
Top CV tip: Even if you’re in the middle of your studies and haven’t completed your HR degree/CIPD qualification yet, we recommend adding it to your education section as an in-progress qualification - here’s how. This shows employers that you’re committed to your career development, giving you added industry credibility.
3. Focus on your key experience
Next up on your CV should be the section that hones in on your past and current work history. Like your education section, you’ll want to list your key skills, experience and accomplishments, starting with your most recent role.
List the company you work for, your job title, and employment dates as you normally would. You’ll then want to bullet point your duties and responsibilities but relate them to the job you’re applying for to demonstrate how and why you’re a good fit for the role.
Remember to highlight any metrics-related accomplishments within your roles as well. This might look something like this:
- ‘Oversaw the production and execution of over 50 letters and contracts for interdepartmental areas of the business with accuracy and efficiency’
- ‘Created and executed a retention strategy which reduced employee turnover by 15% in one year’
Also, if you’ve been working in HR for a while, try and avoid listing entirely unrelated jobs where you can. If you worked part-time in retail or at a restaurant during college, for instance, it’s probably safe to leave those details off your CV altogether.
If you’re just starting out in HR and your experience is limited, however, try to highlight the HR-related aspects of your previous roles. For example, did you help to train new starts at the restaurant? Deal with admin and paperwork at the store? If you’ve been a manager, you’ll likely have gained many people management skills that will be useful in HR, from recruitment to disciplinary and grievance procedures.
This is also a good place to mention any internships, projects, or placements and make mention of the transferable skills you’ve acquired.
4. Highlight your achievements
Don’t be afraid to boast a little bit about your noteworthy HR achievements. Your CV is, after all, a reflection of who you are as a person and an HR professional.
For example, if you hold Chartered Member status with the CIPD, you’ll want that to be listed in a new section underneath your experience. You can also mention any awards you’ve won or any other marks of high praise and recognition you’ve received.
Remember this shouldn’t be too extensive though! Your CV should only be two pages at most, so focus on your most relevant and noteworthy achievements for the role.
5. Incorporate Keywords
Make the effort to scan your CV and add HR keywords where applicable that are related to the job description of the role you’re applying for. Doing this can not only help catch the attention of employers but also gives your resume a better chance of making it through online applicant tracking systems.
If you weren’t already aware, applicant tracking systems (ATS) are often used by organisations to assist with their recruitment and hiring processes. Since a typical online job posting will receive anywhere from dozens to hundreds of applications, this software helps organise, filter, and rank applicant CVs for review based on its keyword search rankings and algorithms so that hiring managers have a better chance of meeting the appropriate candidates.
The catch? The ATS is typically set up to filter out the least-qualified applicants rather than identify the best ones. So, if your CV isn’t formatted properly, you run the risk of the system overlooking your CV altogether, even if you’re more than qualified.
This is why it’s essential to tailor your CV to the job description so you can beat out the bot and score that interview.
6. Revise, Revise, Repeat
This one should be a no-brainer!
It’s essential to revise your CV a few times before you submit it anywhere. This ensures that you haven’t left out any key information, that it’s formatted correctly, and that it’s entirely without spelling mistakes.
Don’t forget to double-check that all of your personal and contact details at the top of your CV are correct too. You don’t want to miss a call for an interview because you listed the wrong number by one digit!
It’s also a great idea to have a trusted friend, family member, or colleague look over your CV as well. A pair of fresh eyes can point out anything you hadn’t realised you’d missed during your own revision.
Top CV tip: Clear and concise writing is a trademark of the perfect, impactful HR CV, so remove any fluffy adjectives and unnecessary, drawn-out details.
Now that you’ve learned how to tweak your resume and produce the perfect HR CV, you can learn how to create the perfect HR cover letter too, setting yourself up for ultimate success in your job search and the people profession.
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