Curriculum vitae or resume can be referred to as an outline of a person’s educational and professional history. It is, generally, prepared for job applications and should be a maximum of two sides of an A4 size paper.
It is a complete summary of a job seeker’s employment history, educational qualifications, interests, and achievements, along with additional personal information. A CV is tailored to change the emphasis of all the information according to the specific position for which one is applying. It can also be extended to include an extra page for your publications, if those are important for the particular job.
Curriculum vitae is a Latin expression which is loosely translated as “[the] course of [my] life”.
A CV is the most flexible and comfortable way to make applications. It conveys all of your personal details in the way that presents you in the best possible light to any entrepreneur. A CV can also be a marketing document in which you are marketing ‘yourself’!
You need to “sell” your skills, expertise, abilities, qualifications and experiences to employers.
When it comes to writing a CV, most of the first years are confused as they don’t know how or what to write in a CV.
One of the intricate challenges of Job hunting is writing a good CV. There are many employers who spend just a few seconds looking at each CV before categorizing it in the ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ pile. Harsh, Isn’t it? Besides ensuring that your CV is well structured, the content you choose to include and how it’s written are equally important.
Keep your CV brief and to-the-point
Your CV should be precise, informative and very concise. In general, two A4 pages is maximum. You should only include information that will actually help to sell yourself. Recruiters don’t want to waste time reading details irrelevant to your ability to fulfill the job role.
Give major emphasis on your experience
Every recruiter primarily focuses on your overall work experience. It is considered more important than your training and must, therefore, be mentioned first. Make sure it is relevant to the job for which you are applying. If you don’t have any experience, begin with your education.
Include all of your achievements wherever possible
If you can add an “achievements” section, then it can make an instant and dramatic difference to the power of your entire CV, enabling you to distinguish yourself from other candidates.
Only mention your relevant training
Of course, you have to mention your basic education and your specializations pertinent to the job, but make sure it is brief! If you already own a degree, the employer won’t be interested in your primary and secondary studies. So if you have done any training during your career that you think is pertinent to the job in question, speak about it briefly!
Keep it short and simple
Don’t forget to mention your language and additional computer skills along with your level of knowledge. For instance: excellent, good, average or basic. Regarding languages, do make a distinction between your reading, spoken and written abilities. But keep it in mind that your entire CV should be precise.
Internships or any other extra-curricular activity plays a pivotal role in shaping up your CV. It won’t matter if you mention about your internship being paid or not. It only gives you an edge over the other applicants as the recruiters nowadays are looking for graduates having work experiences in versatile fields.
On the other hand, it has to be your USP if you’re a part of extra-curricular activities. It will make your CV attractive!
Some add-ons to help you outshine with your CV!
- Chop your CV into smaller and understandable sections – bullets, short paragraphs and note form. All this and more gives it a clear, and logical layout with just the relevant information to make it easy for the employer to read.
- Adding your interests – Writing about your interests in your CV like reading, cinema, stamp-collecting, playing computer games, etc. Well, it is generally the case. BUT that will impose you to be a solitary individual who doesn’t get on with other people. The employers will interpret the evidence they see before them, whether it is true or not!
Instead, you should write –
This could be the same person as in the first example, but the impression is contrary. It will interpret you to be an outgoing, proactive individual who helps others.
- What makes an employer automatically reject a candidate?
- Spelling mistakes or typos.
- Inappropriate email address.
- An extra-long CV.
- CVs that are printed on decorative papers.
- Plagiarized content from another job postings.
- A photograph? NO.
- A CV that doesn’t include a list of skills you expertise in.
- Choose a sensible email address!
Many CVs having unprofessional e-mail addresses are ignored at the first glance. Some (modified) graduate e-mail addresses that you should definitely NOT emulate are:
- Bullets make CVs more Readable
Bulleted lists interest the employer. They process list more efficiently and retain information with less effort.
But do not bullet out everything on your CV or it will look boring! Bulleted lists are great for lists of skills or interests, but are necessarily limited in content and nuance, and so contain less depth than paragraphs.
- NEVER Lie on Your CV
There are many applicants who provide incorrect information to potential employers. They even exaggerate or lie about their education, include incorrect details in their employment history or make false statements about professional qualifications and memberships.
NEVER do that to your CV! It can even lead to a strict fine or even imprisonment for 10 years or more.
It is studied that about half of all the CVs received by the potential employers contain spelling or grammatical errors.
Candidates aged between 21 and 25 are most likely to make these blunders and graduates in the same age group are twice as likely to make mistakes as those who did not go on to university.
- How NOT to do the “Emailing of a CV’ thing
I’ve read the case somewhere that one graduate had emailed out over 80-90 CVs in one go without getting a single reply and was completely puzzled as to why.
When asked to show what he had done. It came out that he had sent identical CVs and letters to all the companies in one mass email. Employers that receive these email could see the names of the 90 companies he had applied to in the “To: ” box of the email!
What are the most common mistakes made via emails:
- Accidentally clicking send before the email is completely ready.
- Copying the name of the client into an internal email.
- Embarrassing typos, spelling and grammar mistakes.
- Making a smiley face at the end of a message.
- Forwarding an inappropriate email trail.
- Forgetting an attachment; and
- Forgetting to blind copy (BCC) on an email (just like the above example in #7)!
Some employers may spend as little as 45 seconds skimming a resume before branding it “not of interest”, “maybe”, or “of interest”!!
- You need to make sure you’re contacted easily
If the employer wants to contact you, they must be able to find all your personal information at the first glance. It is advisable to put it at the top of the first page.
- Try and avoid embellishments
Your CV is a professional document. Don’t try to make it stand out by using an eccentric font or colors. Stay sober!
- Always keep your CV updated
Whether you’re looking for a job or not, keep your CV up-to-date. Every time something significant occurs in your career, record it so you don’t later forget something that could be important.
There you go! So, to sum it all together, prepare a CV that is precise, readable and impresses the employer in a single glance. Do not hesitate to ponder upon the new opportunities.
Henceforth, make a CV keeping in mind all the above-mentioned parameters and gear up! There is nothing to worry about!
I hope this list of dos and don’ts about how to write a successful CV was helpful. All the best 🙂
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