A perfect CV is the first step towards ensuring your dream job. Your CV is the one document that will represent you in front of the interviewers. If your CV can impress them enough and get you that interview call, you are already halfway through.
But writing a good CV is easier said than done, and there are multiple points to consider when you set out to write a CV. Get any of them wrong, and the company may not even consider you for the role.
To help you along in the process of creating a CV that delivers, the following guide details all the steps that you need to follow to make sure your CV packs a punch. But before we set out on that task, it’s best to clear the air on a question that confuses most first-time job seekers…
What Is A CV?
And how is it different from a Resume? Well, CV is short for Curriculum Vitae. That is Latin for Course of Life. A CV is meant to be a detailed account of a person’s achievements, educational qualifications, work experience as well as personal information such as hobbies and interests. A CV is usually a long document and can be two to three pages long.
A Resume, on the other hand, is a shorter document that is usually limited to a length of one page. A Resume is designed as a concise account of your educational qualifications and work history. While a Resume is a generalized document that can be submitted for any kind of job, a CV should be tailor-made for the particular job that you are applying to. It should also detail any significant achievements and awards you have got, both academic and extra-curricular.
So what are the things you should consider when writing your CV? Let’s find out.
Research the Company
The first step towards writing a good CV is to spend ample time researching the job and company you are applying for. Successful CVs are custom-made for specific designations and organizations. Scour the company website to find what the company does, what responsibilities your coveted post entails and what requirements the company is looking for. You main objective here is to get an idea of the kind of candidate the organization wants. Then you can structure your CV accordingly.
Plan the Structure
Once you have got a clear idea of the position and company you are applying for you need to decide on what information you are going to include in the document. Usually, CVs should contain your personal and contact information, your academic qualifications as well as any certifications and courses you have done. It should also include any relevant work experience, your professional skills as well as interests and achievements.
Once you’ve got the structure finalized, now it’s time to focus on each separate section.
This section should include your name in emphasized formatting (more on that later), along with your contact information. You can include your residential address if you feel that will give you an edge over other applicants (some companies require employees to reside in close proximity to the workplace). Other than that you should include your contact number and email. Make sure to create a professional email ID for job related communication; if you are including social media links, makes sure the online content is appropriate.
Good CVs include a short summary of your professional life including specific experiences that are related to the position you are applying for. Be sure to use the proper keywords here as many companies use automated CV scanning software for a preliminary elimination. If your bio doesn’t include the required keywords it may be well on its way to the digital shredder.
Next, make a list of your educational qualifications in reverse-chronological order i.e. the latest ones should come first. Detail all your degrees and certifications in full, along with the years of graduation and institution name, and any courses you may currently be pursuing.
If you have any academic publications to your credit, this is the place to mention the same in detail. You can also include significant achievements and any certifications and training that you may have done. Remember, just dumping in everything is not required. Make sure you are only including the relevant details.
For experienced applicants, this is the section where you let the company know about your professional accomplishments. Here also you should follow the latest-first format. Work details should include your designation, the company name, and your tenure of employment. You should also emphasize notable achievements to your credit. In case of a gap in your career path state the reason for the same.
In this section, you need to highlight your reasons for applying to the current job and how you intend to fulfill your responsibilities. This section is also meant to give the employer an idea about your career ambitions. Use short and to-the-point sentences to describe your goals; this will let the employer know you have a clear idea about your professional objectives.
This is an optional section which you can include in your CV. List out your hobbies and interests that you feel may be pertinent to the post you are applying for. This section is meant to give the employer an idea about your interests outside of work.
Use this section to list at least two references from your previous jobs. This can be a senior-level manager or the person you reported to directly. Communicating with your previous employers allows your prospective employer to gain an understanding of how you can add value to the organization.
Decide on A CV Format
Now that you know what to include in your CV, it’s time to decide how to include it. The format of the CV is as important as the information in it. A haphazardly compiled CV is sure to end up in the rejected pile.
Organize your information in a way that is professional and easily readable. Tailor the formatting to the job role you are applying for; this will allow you to emphasize on the sections that are most important for the role. You can read a bit more – how to choose CV template?
Font and Formatting
Readable and consistent formatting, along with a professional font, is essential for making your CV stand out in the crowd. Use headings and gaps judiciously, and make prudent use of bolds and italics to emphasize and draw attention to relevant portions of your CV.
Proofread for Perfection
After you have finished preparing your CV, always proofread it for spelling and grammatical errors. This is absolutely essential as any mistakes in your CV are sure to raise negative flags about you. Take extra care to be certain that your document is entirely error free before you send it off to the employers.
First impressions are always last impressions, and this is more than true when it comes to applying for a job. While a well-formatted, informative and professional-looking CV helps to impress your employers, a shoddy one is sure to result in a rejection. Keep the above points in mind and you’re well on your way to bagging that job.