One of the fastest growing sectors in recent years has been Facilities Management. This hasn’t just come about because of the post-2020 focus on having COVID secure buildings either. Even before that, the push towards a better and cleaner environment meant there was a big spotlight on the FM sector.
Ensuring that buildings have a reduced – or even neutral – impact on the environment has started to drive more and more business activity. This in turn has ramped up the opportunities for jobseekers to take on a role in Sustainable Facilities Management.
Like all growing sectors though, there’s a lot of competition amongst candidates for the best jobs. So how can you give yourself the best opportunity to get noticed?
It all starts with the CV. In this blog, we’ve rounded up some of the best advice from our various FM consultants, to help you put together a winning CV.
Provide a hook within the first five seconds
Recruiters and hiring managers look at CVs all day long – so you need to get their attention early. Think of this as a classic elevator pitch. If you only had 30 seconds to speak to your recruiter, what would you say that would make them want to continue the conversation with you?
Use this information to write a short and punchy summary before you list your previous roles. This doesn’t need to be any more than a paragraph, but should immediately highlight your best attributes, the type of experience you have, and what you’re looking for. Try to avoid too many buzzwords and jargon – the purpose of this section is to introduce yourself as a person and get the recruiter to read on.
Provide depth and insight
When we talk about selling yourself, the best way is to talk about key responsibilities and achievements for each role you’ve held, rather than just the title and day-to-day tasks. Don’t copy and paste your current job description as this won’t have anything about what you’ve achieved. Job descriptions are essentially HR documents, so they won’t be a 100% match for what you do, and certainly not in any great detail.
It's good to ask yourself a checklist of questions and answer these on your CV. Two of the most important ones are:
- What type of clients have you worked with? Being a Facilities Manager in a prison or hospital is very different to having the same role for a blue chip company, so this needs to be clear.
- How big were the sites you worked on? This incorporates the actual size of the building, as well as the number of people in your team and the value of the contract. Providing as much of this information as you can gives the recruiter a better idea of your profile, and helps them match you up to a relevant company. For example, if you’ve been managing a team of 5 for a contract worth £500,000 a year, they won’t put you forward to manage a team of 200 on a £15m contract, as that won’t suit your current experience.
Other questions to include when writing your CV are:
- How much did you help reduce emissions by?
- How much did turnover increase by and/or costs reduce by?
- What other targets did you meet?
- Did you manage both direct staff and contractors?
- Were there any additional responsibilities you took on, or secondments you did?
Also show additional knowledge and skills you’ve picked up. For example, have you got any safety certifications such as ones from the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), or Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH)? Perhaps you’ve done specific Facilities Management courses from somewhere like the IWFM? Highlight these very clearly in a dedicated qualifications section – these are far more important than what you got for your GCSEs!
Finally, any experience you’ve had with automation, or new tech/sustainable solutions, should also be emphasised. Many clients who are recruiting have modern buildings and sites, so this is a valuable bit of information for them.
Providing this depth and insight allows your recruiter to match you up with the best possible role and company. The last thing you want is to be sent for interviews at places where you feel there’ll be a poor fit.
Keep it short and sweet
You can write the best CV in the world, but it won’t matter if you can’t hold people’s attention. That’s why being concise is key. Try to keep your CV at a maximum of two pages – while still providing the depth and insight mentioned earlier.
Make sure that all the roles you list are relevant. If you’re going for a Senior Facilities Management role, your experience in a coffee shop when you were 18 isn’t what you want your recruiter to focus on, so don’t include it.
Also avoid talking about roles older than 7-10 years. While it might be tempting to include ones that are still relevant to Facilities Management, these won’t provide the best picture of your strengths and abilities here and now. If you have space, you can potentially just list the job title, company name and dates worked. You can then add a line at the end saying that more information on previous roles is available on request.
Create some variations
While cover letters often need tailoring for each application, doing this for your CV can be quite time consuming. A good method is to create a few variations for the different types of jobs you expect to apply for. Adapt the skills, responsibilities and achievements so they’re relevant to each one. Do this for around 3 different roles – however, make sure you read lots of job descriptions for these roles first. That way, you’ll know exactly what they’re looking for.
Sweat the small stuff
Don’t forget some of the basics of writing your CV. Sometimes candidates get caught up in everything to do with selling themselves and forget these.
For example, always include your name, contact details (phone number and email address) and location. You don’t need to include your full address here – just the town will do so the person reading has an idea of commute times for you to any vacancies they have. If you’re looking to relocate, then include the city you are moving to.
Recruiters often need to copy and paste CVs into a specific template, so make things easy by sending it as a Word or Google document, rather than something complex such as a PDF. Avoid images and graphs as well – if there’s really something visual which you want to draw attention to, then save it in a Dropbox or Google Drive folder and just provide the link to it. Even then, this type of thing is better left for the cover letter.
Naming is also an important yet underrated thing to think about. You’ll probably have updated your CV on a regular basis (it’s always useful to go back and check the whole document with fresh eyes for flow and cohesion). Plus, as mentioned earlier, it’s good to have different versions for different types of jobs.
All this means that it’s important you send the correct one for each application, so be careful with naming. Label each CV with your full name, the job title, the month and the year. For example, it could be: John Smith_Sustainability Lead_October 2022
Finally, try to avoid using too many abbreviations. While the recruiters you’re sending your CV to are likely to be experts in the industry, some may not know what every abbreviation means. In fact, many abbreviations are specific to individual companies, so won’t mean anything to the rest of the industry. Plus, having too many of these can be a sign of a rushed CV – and this isn’t the impression you want to give.
If you’re on the lookout for a Sustainable Facilities Management role, congratulations! As mentioned at the very start of this blog, it’s an exciting place to be. Hopefully these tips help you get your CV in the best shape – and at the top of a recruiter’s list. For more career guidance, read more of our expert advice here.