Your CV or resume is a chance for you to market yourself, so it is worth spending the time to make sure you’re selling yourself in the best way possible.
What is a CV?
In short, your CV is a list of skills and experience that you believe are most attractive and relevant to a prospective employer. These can include: Education, Qualifications, Skills, Experience and Interests.
The CV Objective, sometimes also referred to as CV Personal Profile states “What is the next step in my career?” This should be a short, concise statement that informs the employer what kind of position you are looking for. The type of position, the role (managerial, supervisor, contractor) should be included as well.
How to write a CV
In the CV heading you can write your general information like Name, Local address, E-mail address, Phone number.
CV Skills Summary
The Skills Summary section of your CV includes your main skills. You should only include keywords in his section, do not go into lengthy descriptions of your skills. The skill summary is also called personal profile.
Education on your CV
List all of your qualifications in this section. Include all of your education including certifications from non-academic institutions, especially those that are related to the job vacancy. If you have more work experience than qualifications, put your work experience before your qualifications.
A Personal Profile
Some roles are very specific in terms of experience, so always bear this in mind when preparing your CV for an application and give priority to those details that you feel are most relevant. Sending out a generic CV for every application you make will not make you stand out.
CV Hints and Tips
Of course, your CV should show you in the best possible light, so take your time over it so as not to leave anything out. Presenting your skills and experiences in a timeline format, with your most recent achievements first is a popular way of organising your CV, and you should always explain any gaps in employment or education. Remember, a well used gap year can be just as useful as a year in employment.
An important point to note is to keep your CV clear, concise, and to the point. Try not to exceed more than two pages at most, and organize the information so it is easy to read and in a logical order – bullet points are a good way to break up information.
If you are job hunting it is a good idea to have several CV’s with different profiles or objectives. For example, you can have a CV for a sales supervisor and the other for a shop floor manager. Your ‘sales supervisor’ CV can highlight achievements in this area, and the CV would be tuned to that particular in terms of job descriptions and achievements.
How to Improve your CV:
The CV can be written in a professional and neat manner that making it easy for the recruiter to scan and read it, yet most job hunters make the same mistakes in the compilation of their CVs. A few vital improvements to your CV can make the difference between you and the job hunter next to you. Check your CV for these common mistakes and use the guidelines to improve your CV.
Use bullets rather than paragraphs
Another way to improve your CV is to get rid of paragraphs. Paragraphs are great in your profile section, but should not be used throughout your CV. Use bullets to create a more readable CV. Always keep in mind that a recruiter normally scans through hundreds of CVs and should be able to identify the main points within 30 seconds.
List information based on relevancy to the employer
Your CV is not aimed at you and what may seem important to you is not necessarily relevant to the employer. Improve your CV by focusing on the most relevant information.
Your job title is the most important in your work history, so list it first, followed by the employer, city, and dates for starting and ending of employment. When you list your qualifications you should follow the same procedure. The name of the qualification (don’t use abbreviations), the institute, city, completion date and the majors. Your work history and qualifications are listed in reverse chronological order.
Don’t assume the employer understands the acronyms you used
As a general guide, always spell out the acronym if you think that the employer may not be familiar with the term. Avoid using jargon and academic terms to describe qualifications and experience. They may look impressive, but the reader may not be familiar with the terms.
Get rid of unnecessary words and formatting in your CV
Only list dates that are relevant. You don’t need to state the dates for short courses, club membership or hobbies. Instead of parenthesis, make use of commas, as it improves readability. If space is limited, you can leave out the comment about references being available. Steer away from ‘I’ and ‘me’. Instead of using ‘I’, you could simply state the sentence. It is perfectly acceptable to use fragments in a CV.
Vocabulary should be achievement driven
Avoid the use of words such as ‘duties’ or ‘tasks’. Don’t list your work responsibilities; rather list your achievements in the specific position. You are supposed to be able to do all of the tasks, but why are you better than Ms. X as a secretary? Show how you have done more than what is expected and have performed better than your colleagues. Your contributions to the company and team should stand out.
Keep verbs and noun fragments separate
Full budget control (noun) and Expanding existing markets (verb) Can be replaced by Full budget control and Expansion supervision of existing markets respectively.
Avoid words such as ‘worked in’-everybody worked somewhere. You should instead specify the job. Use words such as collaborated, campaigned, marketed, controlled, managed, supervised, initiated, sold etc., instead of ‘worked’.
It is of no use to list published books or articles without dates and publishers. If you are the author of a book, include the ISBN number.
Even though the shorter CV is preferred, you shouldn’t cram the information to fit on one or two pages. You need a lot of white space and if your experience and qualifications necessitate more space then use an extra page.
You can shorten your CV by eliminating duplicate entries. In this case, you should try to condense the content to fit on one page. You can do this by setting the margins and by using a smaller font, but not smaller than 11. If you are using headings on the left side with the information on right side, you can switch to headings on top with the information below. This way you use one column instead of two.
Include a profile or objectives section at the start of your CV
It makes it easier for the recruiter to scan your CV if you include a summary of your goals, skills, qualifications and experience at the start of your document. This should be focused on the job that you are targeting.
Only list the past 10 years experience
Avoid age discrimination by only listing relevant experience for the past ten years. You can list up to 15 years if you are applying for a senior level position.
Emphasize the abilities that you want to use at your next employer.
Don’t write essays on mundane tasks and skills. If you, for example, did routine filing as part of your job, but had more important accomplishments you should list those instead.
Use the tips in this article to improve your CV. Never use a CV three to six months old. Always update your CV for every job application.