Prepare Your CV Right
- A CV’s job is to market you professionally
- Include complete and accurate information only
- Create a neat and organized layout and appearance
Since a CV is so important to your future employment prospects, it can be quite frightening to write one. You know that potential employers will judge you by the things you include on this one page and want it to be perfect. Not only should the information be compelling, but it has to be correct. One unfortunate example wrote that they enjoyed “suffering the net” as a favorite pastime. The misspelling might have gotten a few laughs but didn’t land them the job they desired.
Near the top of the CV, state your goals or objectives for applying for that job. Telling a potential employer what you want should be honest but still aligned with their needs more than yours. Avoid extreme comments like one we received in the past that said, “I’d rather have no money and sleep on the streets than do (a particular) job.”
Recruitment agents will help improve your CV if necessary, but many are sent out directly as you give them to us. Any inappropriate information you include will end up on a potential employer’s desk, and then be thrown directly into the garbage can.
In order to avoid that fate, follow these tips for preparing your CV the right way:
Today, most CVs are submitted over the internet, so use a common file format like Microsoft Word to deliver it. If you submit a resume in an obscure form, the employer will not open or look at it.
Start with your full legal name, address, and contact information. Only use professional email addresses. A free Gmail account is fine, but avoid names like Hotstuff123 and Futball76.
List all relevant education, degrees, and qualifications next. You do not need to share which secondary school you attended. Stick with University and similar.
Share your main objective in applying for the particular position. This is not the place to write, “I’ve always wanted to work with…” Instead, demonstrate how you want to use your skills in alignment with the company’s goals.
List all past employment from the most recent back. Necessary information includes company name, positions held, responsibilities or tasks, and, optionally, your salary and why you left the job.
Avoid employment gaps when you write your resume. Even if you were unemployed for a year or took a temporary job for a while, list that and share what you did during the time. Hopefully, since you are intent on improving your career, you did not simply laze around doing nothing. One thing interviewers look for are year dates instead of month ones. A job from 2012 to 2013 could be a year or only a few weeks.
Mention the URL of any website or social media page that highlights work history on your CV. Do not use it in place of one.
Design appearance of your CV
The design appearance of a professional CV is important if you want to impress. Leave plenty of white space between sections, use standard fonts, do not add graphics, and organize information with bullet points, lists, and headings.
Near the bottom, add at least two professional references from past jobs. Recent graduates may include a professor’s endorsement.
When you think your CV is as great as you can make it, spellcheck one more time, read it out loud to look for any awkward phrases, and double check the layout for style.
The main email stands for the cover letter. Attach the CV to the email in a standard file type. Do not paste the entire resume into the body of the email unless specifically asked to do so.
Do not include diplomas, degrees, certificates, or any other proof documents for the claims on your CV. If the potential employer is impressed enough, they can ask to see them at your interview.