Your Curriculum Vitae is one of the most important documents you will have. It is your sales document.
Your CV is the first opportunity to market yourself to a prospective employer. It should accurately document your experiences and be used as a tool to secure an interview.
Creating a winning CV is an important first step to advancing your career. Read on to find out some do’s / don’ts and top tips in making your CV a success.
- Always type your CV
- Proofread your CV twice before sending it. Check for spelling and grammar. Rely on the computer spell check and a dictionary. Spelling mistakes can show a lack of attention to detail and create a negative impression.
- Double check all dates and qualifications.
- Choose a clear font such as Arial with a point size no smaller than 11pt.
- Keep it simple. Use bullet points, tabs and bold to make it easy to read.
- Use a good quality white paper and avoid using computer graphics.
- Layout must be clear and simple, enabling the reader to find the information they need quickly.
- Keep it short. The main body of the CV should be no more than 2 pages. But make sure it contains sufficient detail for the reader to understand clearly what it is you have been doing.
- The employer mentions his / her expectations from the candidate for a particular position in the job advertisement. Reading the advertisement thoroughly will help you analyze what points you need to highlight the most.
- Shout your achievements!
- Use the right keywords / personal attributes in your resume. These are some specific words describing the most important skills or qualifications required for every job. This boosts your resume in the filtering done by the employer. For example: willing to work, trustworthy, organised, innovative, friendly, efficient, flexible, confident, accurate, hardworking, punctual, reliable or professional. Choose those that suit you best.
- Using action verbs is essential in your resume. These are verbs that communicate your achievements and responsibilities easily. Examples of action verbs: achieved, completed, demonstrated, evaluated, generated, launched, negotiated, broadened, co-ordinated, expanded, formulated, implemented, managed, organised, planned, shaped, upgraded, represented, trained and represented.
- Segregate your resume in different sections and use proper titles for each section.
- Be honest in everything you mention in your CV.
- Do not use fancy borders or coloured paper.
- Do not include anything that might be considered as a failure.
- Do not show salary.
- No photos unless you are aiming to be a model or actor.
- Do not enhance results.
- Do not write CV in Excel
- Do not put everything in capitals. It is difficult to read and can be very annoying. Always use mixed case headings and text.
Structure of your CV:
Segregate your resume in different sections and use proper titles for each section. Giving proper titles will help the employer read the section of his / her interest.
Which paragraphs will go in to your CV?
1. Personal details:
The header of your resume should have your name and contact details mentioned clearly (name, address, telephone, email). Make sure that you mention the updated contact number and do not change your number frequently.
Optional: date of birth, gender, civil state, nationality, driving license, LinkedIn account.
2. Career summary (or career objectives), this is optional:
A 2-3 lines summary of your career to give an overview of your career to the employer.
Mention your academic details, beginning with the most recent degree. Do not mention grades of every year of your qualification.
4. Professional Employment History:
Detail your work experience in “reverse chronological order”. This means putting your most recent experience first.
For each position provide (in bold) a job title, the name of the employer, and the dates you were (are) employed there.
Describe the position in detail, bullet point your responsibilities, duties and main achievements.
Keep descriptions of previous roles brief. Your current / previous role is what the interviewer is really interested in.
5. Professional qualifications and skills:
State all professional qualifications or relevant and recent courses attended.
Language skills (level in proficiency in spoken / written).
Professional skills- Mentioning the skills pertaining to the job only.
Interpersonal Skills – Mentioning your communication and socializing skills.
Computer Skills – Mentioning your computer skills / IT systems knowledge and level of proficiency.
6. Hobbys / interests:
Keep them relevant and simple.
Available upon request
When you have written your CV, check the following points:
- Is it well presented, smart and professional looking?
- Is your CV clear?
- Is the language clear and understandable?
- Are your skills and achievements highlighted?
- Can the employer see the key points at a glance, or does the
- information have to be searched for and guessed at?
- Does a positive picture of you emerge?
- Is it free of irrelevant details?
- Be sure to communicate exactly what you’ve got to offer an employer, example given: extra skills and experience you can bring.