Do you know that recruiters only take 6 sec to scan through your CV? Ouch! That hurts a little. Ok, it hurts a lot. What pains most is the number of hours, days, and weeks, even months, you've spent to curate a perfect CV only for it to be imperfect. But, that’s not the worst scenario, after practicing for long, and thinking you've nailed it, and hoping to get a call from your last interview, you fail to get feedback. Days turn into weeks, weeks into months until you lose hope, and forget about it. Meaning, someone trashed your CV amongst 200 others. The hard work and the time you invested purely went to waste. So, what are you doing wrong? Is there a way you can rectify this? What do you need for your CV to stand out? Well, read on for amazing tips on how to create a CV that would land you that dream job.
Meaning of CV
Curriculum vitae is a Latin phrase for the course of life. You use this document when applying for a job. Additionally, it contains personal information, experiences, skills, certificates, publications. Unfortunately, most people confuse the CV with a resume. Then again, it depends on where you are coming from, as the two refer to the same thing. Europeans refer to it as CV, while American's refer to it as a resume. A resume usually summaries your work experience.
Critical matters in coming up with a CV
The first impression matters a lot and lasts longer. Hence, creating a good one is the first step of an excellent CV. One look at the CV can make the hiring manager continue reading it or halt immediately. That's why you should consider the following:
- Is your CV readable at first glance? - The fonts you choose are important. Your fonts need to be clear and consistent. Variations of these items may make your work seem out place, unprofessional, and not worth someone's time. Do you prefer the old-style fonts? Then bookman old times and new times roman fonts would be great for you. If you prefer sans-serif font, then you can use Arial, Helvetica or Tahoma fonts. The font size should range between 11 and 12.
- Is your CV well organized?- The secret is to know the right format. Where should you place your skills, experience, and educational background, amongst other details? You shouldn't jumble up the information. For instance, starting with your skills, and then placing your personal information last. You don't want the reader to raise their eyebrows, of course, out of shock. Also, your headings need to be larger and bolder than the other parts of the writing. Use a font size of 14- 16 for the section titles. You should stick to a single date format. For instance: 12- 2019, December 2020.
- Keep it brief and consistent- a page is enough to include relevant information, if you can't summarize your data in a page, at most use two. Nobody has the time to peruse a long CV. Moreover, you are not writing a biography. The number one rule to writing a CV is to always be relevant in every section as possible. Whether its skills, hobbies, experience, they should relate to the position you are applying for. Cut the slack and get to the main point.
- Always save your CV in a PDF format as MS word tampers with the format.
- Opt for professional CV templates –there are a ton of templates out there. But, do they qualify and fit what you are looking for? You deserve the best; hence you should aim for that, even if it means spending a few coins to acquire one. And please, avoid using the template from MS word. For Pete's sake, the Word is intended for school assignments, and not for a professional course like this.
- Don't include too many graphics -To you, it might seem attractive, but the truth is, it makes your work look busier. It's diverting from the purpose, which is to highlight your experiences, skills, objectives and to show you are the perfect match for the job.
- Use of white space- You shouldn't ignore this fact. White spaces make your work look neat. Leaving enough space between the words is appealing to the eye.
- There is no need to include photos unless the recruiter asks.
- Do not lie- You are probably for the idea, "fake it until you make it", don't do this on your CV. Including languages you can't speak, places you haven't worked, or achievements you haven't accomplished, this might backfire on your face. Try to be truthful as possible.
- Eliminate all the errors -Once you finish writing the CV, Check punctuation, grammar, and also spelling. You can use an editing app to achieve this.
Format of writing a CV
There is no short cut in coming up with the correct CV. You have to learn the basics and tie the loose ends. With the right formula and the accurate information, you can get the results you desire. Basically, a CV contains the following elements;
- A CV header which includes personal information
- Your objectives/ summary
- Work experience
- Education background
- Additional sections
1. Contact information.
A recruiter gets to know a little about you in this section. It comprises your name, your home address, your email, and also your phone number. You should ensure that you place this information in the right way. The following are some things to consider while writing the contact information:
Name-start with the first, then the last name
Professional title- state what you currently are, or the position you're presently applying to, word to word.
Email address- use a professional email address something like name@ email.com
Phone number - in case you are applying for a job outside your country, it's best you include the zip code
2. Social media profile-
You need to be careful concerning this. Try to ensure your account doesn't have anything which might compromise your credibility. You can build one from scratch, mainly for professional purposes. Here are some social media profiles you can include;
- LinkedIn- Most recruiters would ask for a LinkedIn profile. Ensure its professional enough, and it contains the correct details. Before sending your CV, update the necessary information, just in case the recruiter peeps there.
- Twitter- depending on the position you are applying for, you can include your twitter handle. So long, as it increases the chance of your hiring, why not go for it. For example, if you are a marketer and journalist with a decent number of followers.
- Medium-If you are a freelance writer or blogger, and you have an account there, you can link it up.
- Stalk overflow/ Github- when you are a developer, Computer scientist, or coder, then it's better you include such in your CV.
- Other details- you can also include your website, blog, or YouTube channel, to make you stand out and to reveal other things you engage in.
- Home address- it's essential to indicate where you stay. But in case you upload CV online, probably it’s better not to include a home address for security purposes.
3. Objective/ summary
What the difference between the two? And when should you use the former or the latter? The objective and summary are almost the same, but with a slight difference. Usually, this section is short, with approximately 100 words. Here, you sell yourself with an elevating pitch. Why are you better than the rest? You need to tell the recruiter what they will be losing if they don't hire you. Within the 6 sec, a recruiter goes over your CV.
In the objective, you should include why you are the best fit for the position, highlight your career progress, and your achievements in your previous workplace. Don't forget to mention the organization you are heading to, and what you hope to achieve there. The recruiter would feel the CV is tailored explicitly for them.
In case you have 2+ years of experience, then you should opt for the summary. Here, you should include your job title, number of years that you have the expertise, relevant achievements, your goals, and what you are hoping to achieve.
For instance; A gifted teacher with 10+ years of experience in handling visually impaired students and those with autism, with a slogan "limitless us" seeking to transform lives of students from Carol academy experiencing the same problem.
Well, while scanning through your paper, this is the first place recruiters head. Do you qualify for what they are looking for? Or are you just another applicant? Here you get to list your previous jobs responsibilities and what you achieved while working in those places. You should focus on relevant and measurable achievements.
Also, remember to include actions parked words. Like 'analyzed', 'implemented', 'produced', 'created,', 'supported,' 'responded,' and 'researched'.
For example: created a Mema app, which increased the company's sale by 50 percent.
You should tailor this section according to the job position you are applying to. Look at the job description; does it feel if something you've done before? If it is, then add it to your work experience section as it's your moment to shine. The nitty-gritty details like; the job title/description, company name and location, your achievements, your responsibilities, and the days you were employed are essential.
Lastly, don't forget to include your key achievement. This is something you've done before, and it left an impact, a mark, or a legacy. Let it be something amazing, something you are proud of. Your key achievement will set you apart from your competitors.
4. Education background
You need to build this section correctly. Your post-secondary education is what matters here. And please, don't include your high school details. It's a waste of time and space. Nobody cares about that unless that's the furthest you've reached with your education. Include your degrees, the institution, your best achievement, the field of study, dissertation title, relevant course work, extra-curricular activities, and sub – honors (if necessary).
If you have no working experience, or you are a fresh graduate, or you're from a prestigious institution, you should place the education section, before the work experience.
The skills you mention should be relevant to the job description. In a spreadsheet, list all the skills you have, if applicable, and then include them. After each skill, add a short description to indicating your level of proficiency, whether it’s basic, excellent, or proficient. Skills are further divider intro three:
- hard skills- technical or professional skills, taught in schools
- Soft skills- these are skills that you've learnt or acquired in your life. For instance, personal attributes, leadership, and communication.
- Universal skills- skills like teamwork, MS office, and analytical thinking are global.
6. Additional CV section
You have the right to show off in this part. Include other details about yourself and the things you've achieved. They include:
- the conferences you've attended
- Industry awards
- Professional affiliations
- If you are fresh from college, then you should incorporate the volunteer experience,
- Your hobbies and interests
- Personal blog
- Languages (indicate if your level is fluent, basic or native)
- Personal achievements
Include a cover letter
After writing your CV, it’s time to write the cover letter. As much as some hiring managers won't ask for it, a considerable percentage will. So, better safe than sorry. Try not to repeat the information on the CV to the cover letter. Instead, it should be interesting, introduce yourself to the organization and elaborate on the interests you have concerning the organization or the specific position. It's what will draw attention to the interviewer.
Coming up with the best CV might be tough, but that doesn't mean you can't do it. With the correct information and format, always try to perfect your CV writing skills. With practice, you will get it right, and soon, you will start receiving interview calls. Buckle your seat belt and let the transformation begin. You can do this!