A CV is your potential employer’s first impression of you. A good CV is the main and crucial factor in getting you an interview. Strong competition for a great position means that your CV needs to present an accurate and concise picture of yourself, contain no errors, and allow you to stand-out from the many other CVs being reviewed by a hiring manager.
While there are many ways to write CVs, the key points a CV should include are often the same. This guide will explain the fundamentals of writing a strong CV.
Layout and Content
Your CV should be easy to read and follow. A strong CV is very concise and presents information in an organised and logical way. The CV should also be visually presentable, by using universal fonts (such as Times New Roman or Arial in standard sizes). CVs can be any length, but effective CVs are generally no more than two or three pages long.
Key details to include in your CV:
Personal: Your name and contact details (address, phone and e-mail).
Brief Profile: A short introduction setting out your core skills, qualifications, accomplishments and goals. This profile should immediately give the reader a broad impression of who you are and what you can do.
Work Experience: A concise outline of your work experience including the companies you worked at, your titles, main responsibilities and achievements for each job. You should present the most recent experience first.
Qualifications: Your education background and professional qualifications. These should be relevant to your current skills. The most recent education and qualifications should be presented first.
Development: Any education, training and professional development that could demonstrate that you have other relevant skills.
Referees: The contact details of two or three referees (recent employers or academic references).
Tailoring Your CV
Your CV should be specifically tailored to each company you apply for. You should research the job requirements of your target role and present the information in your CV to match those requirements.
Common Mistakes : Spelling Errors
It is very important to ensure that your CV does not contain any grammatical or spelling errors. Since your CV is a reflection of who you are, mistakes may lead a potential employer to think that you are someone who does not care about your work or is someone who has poor attention to detail.
Not Tailoring Your Application or Cover Letter
As mentioned in the section above, your CV should be tailored to the company and role for which you are applying. This also applies to any cover letters that you may send with your CV.
While it is tempting to write one generic cover letter that you use to send out to many different companies, doing so will show a potential employer that you are not truly interested in the company. The credentials in your CV should be tailored to highlight the skills that the company is looking for and you should include specific reasons why you want to work for the target company in your cover letter.
Presenting Information Poorly
How your CV looks is also an important factor. One of the challenges to drafting a good CV is to present the information in an appealing way, such as by using lists, bullet points, headings and captions. Since there is a lot of information, it may be easy to put all the information down in a disorganised fashion. Your CV has to be tidy and be easy to follow.