CV presentation: 3 ways millennials outshine their elders

In the last 12 months I've been handling multiple general management and product management searches that have looped in some early career leaders. Thus, leading me to approach people who are younger than me as opposed to older. The millennials.

I’ve found that their CVs tend to be better in terms of presentation and content. But age is admittedly a poor factor - this is really about conveying a desired attitude and being comfortable with the digital world we live in.

In some cases clever moves with words, colours and thoughtful inclusion of key data combines to make some 32 year olds appear to be more impactful candidates than some 52 year olds. Granted, the older candidates offer much more. But that extra thought of those with the seemingly flashier CVs contributes to an overall feeling that someone is: A. Clearly working towards something greater; B. Mindful of the need to communicate why he/she should be given the privilege as opposed to C. Is a leader and so should be granted another senior-level position.

Because these are commercial roles, this is really pertinent. These positions are about building a personal brand internally or externally in rhythm with our digital age. Naturally, we’re also mindful of someone’s credibility with marketing experts given the required leadership of this function either directly or indirectly. 

The comeback is that these people are too busy to be crafting CVs. Well, this is about using what you already know and what’s already at your fingertips in a time-smart way.

Three ways the less experienced get ahead. They:

1. Hint at a story and a direction of travel

This is a hint at a future story or what you want to do next. A very subtle ‘catch me if you can’ that involves linking the personal objective with the content of the CV, especially the achievements. Ideally, this should be tweaked for each proposition of interest. It needn’t be long.

2. Briefly evidence achievements

Unfortunately, being responsible for something doesn't mean you were effective. It can often look like a to-do list. Do state clearly if your actions were successful – it’s amazing how many people don’t. And think about achievements from the perspective of all stakeholders (including people reporting in) not just the KPI setters. Numbers are essential and help with illustrating scale and impact but remember the unexpected benefits of your influence too. What did your team become famous for?

3. Find and use digital templates

Any commercial role nowadays involves a degree of digital leadership especially in terms of seeking new ways of working and presentation. Working in technology yet not being aware of Microsoft Office templates is not a good look. Online templates offer much more but some online career advice sites are ageing quickly. I sense some of my strongest contacts have used the lively looking Danish site: or similar.

Contact Doug Mackay on 00 44( 0)1829 732374 to find out more.