Your CV is the first thing which tells your future employer about you. Its importance can hardly be overestimated. The impression which the employer will get from your CV can determine whether the second meeting takes place. It is crucial to understand what you need to write in this document and how to write a CV properly. Even if you are an experienced professional in your field, you need to create a perfect CV if you want a really good job. And if it will be your first job, then you have to learn how to write a perfect CV.
This task often seems complex, and the beginners consider it beyond their strength. Many rookies try to find some help or refer to online resources with recommendations, templates, and examples of successful CVs. And while it is useful, the best way is to understand the essence of this – what and why you need to put into your CV. In this article, we’ll describe to you what exactly you need for a great CV. So, it won’t frighten you anymore.
“Send Us Your CV” or “Send Your Resume” – Is It the Same?
“CV” and “Resume” are terms that many people mix, especially at the very beginning of their career. Indeed, these two things are similar in the main concept – providing information about the candidate. However, they have significant differences, and it is vital to master their concepts. In most cases, a requirement of sending a CV or a Resume means a very definite set of data. And your success will depend on how well you grasp the format and goals of each of these documents.
The main distinction is the volumes and types of data which you need to include in the application. Besides, there are variations in the general approach.
- Employers want it from the candidates in the USA and Canada;
- It is a relatively short description of your professional skills and achievements, which mostly fits in 1-2 pages, max – 3 pages;
- It fixates on your education and job experience;
- It pays attention to the personal qualities which are applicable for the job position requirements;
- It is targeted towards the definite position which you apply for.
- This document is used in Europe – they don’t even deal with “resumes” in European countries;
- It is a lengthy and more thorough description of a candidate which deals with both the professional and personal sides. A CV consists of 2 pages minimum and can be up to 10 pages in volume;
- It covers additional features which refer your career directly or indirectly;
- It is targeted towards the field of work more than some definite positions only. Thus, an employer might try the candidate for several positions;
- It gives more details on your traits, talents and the possibility to contribute to the general success of the company where you apply at;
- There is more about the so-called “soft skills”, which employers find crucial at the current stage.
In brief, if you apply for a job in the USA or Canada – you need a resume, and if you want to work in Europe – make sure to prepare a CV.
Note that in case you are going to get hired in Australia, South Africa or India, it won’t matter which type of document you write and submit. They use both these terms interchangeably. The only thing is that they traditionally ask for your “CV” if you want to work in the public service sphere, and for the private sector they will name is “a resume”. You will need to provide them the description of your skills, achievements, and experience in the most convenient format.
However, you still should master the format of the application. And we recommend beginning with the “CV” type, as it is longer and contains more information. It is much easier to shorten it to “resume” if needed, then to rewrite the brief “resume” to turn it to the detailed and thorough “CV”.
The Contents and Structure of a CV
There is no fixed format for a CV, as its contents will depend on the job you will apply for and the employer’s requirements. There are lots of examples of CVs on the Web, or the ready templates. Besides, some companies formulate the format of a CV on their official websites, so the candidates can get familiar with them. However, there is an established set of demands for the data types and the structure.
Personal and contact details
This is the first data section which is located at the top of your CV. It includes the following data:
- First and last name;
- Email address;
- Phone number.
Put the name in the center of the top section and use the bigger font size for it. The goal is to make it visible and let the employer see your name at once.
The contact details may be located right under the name or on the left.
A brief description of yourself
Here you need to provide a very short story: to describe your traits, skills, and advantages, maybe mention some of the past experiences to prove that you would be a perfect choice for the job position. The importance of this part is critical because this is what makes the first impression about you. It depends on this information if the employer will read further. Your main aim is to make them interested in your person, and the form, style, and word choice are crucial here.
Here you need to provide a list of your degrees and educational facilities.
- List of degrees in the reverse chronological order, starting from the latest one. If you are in the process of obtaining a new degree, for example, you are working on a dissertation, you should mention this.
- List of the educational facilities in the reverse chronological order: university – college – school.
- Provide the dates when you enrolled and graduated.
- Name the courses you took and which grades you obtained.
- Mention all additional training programs you passed and the qualification levels you got there.
The previous professional experience of a candidate is one of the main factors which can turn the scale. Provide the list of your past job positions:
- Name of the company;
- Location of the company;
- When you started to work there and when you quitted;
- The name of your job position;
- Your duties and responsibilities;
Active skills and achievements
This section has much to do with the “experience” part. It should represent your career and personal accomplishments in your previous positions. Here you need to list your skills and mention your additional activities which contributed to your personal and professional development. For example, if you wrote articles, created training programs, lectured, etc, – tell about that.
Your hobbies, additional activities, and other personal information
Some resources consider that you can omit this part, however, it can be useful too. Include the information about those hobbies and activities which can describe you as an all-rounder. Accentuate those activities which correspond to the field where you want to obtain a job.
This part of your CV should also include the explanation for “gaps” in your past job and educational experience. This is a question which the employer is sure to raise during the interview, and you should be ready to discuss it. The best way is to provide the information at once and do it justice. For example, you used the “idle” period after quitting the previous job to learn a new profession. Present this as your advantage.
Many candidates indeed get jobs with the help of references from their friends and ex-colleagues. Also, include the references from your teachers and ex-employers. Ask them if they agree to recommend you and give their contact details in the case that your new employers would like to get more information about you.
Revising of Your CV
When you complete the task, you will need to do more to polish your CV. First of all, re-read it and correct all errors and awkward phrases. You might remember some details – add the information to that application.
Postpone the CV for some time, for at least a day to refresh your mind and then revise it once more. First, you will most likely note some issues which you missed before. Then, you might want to edit the data, remove some surplus constructions, make the phrases more laconic or expressive, etc.
Evaluate the information which you provided in your CV from the employer’s point of view. Consider the better arguments, stress more some facts to impress the other side.
Formatting Requirements for a CV
A CV is an official document, so, main formatting rules apply to it as well.
- You should use the basic font – Times New Roman or Arial. It is a good idea to save your CV as a PDF file. This makes sure that your CV will be represented correctly, no matter which device and OS the employer uses.
- The best font size is 12 pt. However, mark the name by making it bigger.
- Use headlines.
- Tables are good to ensure the proper and accurate page layout, especially when you want to use columns for different kinds of data – names, dates, etc.
- Use numbered and bulleted lists.
As a CV is a very important document, there are lots of resources with the CV templates. You can find a number of them in Microsoft Word. Besides, there are examples of correct and successful CVs available on the Web. And while you should compose your CV to represent yourself in the best light, it is useful to refer to excellent examples too. You may get ideas about the data presentation or formatting there.
Many people find it tricky to write a CV. This task can be sophisticated, and it requires time and effort to compose a really good CV and polish it perfectly. However, with this guide you can at once see what exactly you need to write about and how. And you can write a winning CV.
Besides, while preparing your CV you can define your advantages and get much better prepared for the interview to pass it and get the job.