A perfect CV — the first step to being recruited
15.07.2020 - Read in 5 min.
Curriculum Vitae, usually abbreviated to CV, should be succinct, simple, and clear. What does that really mean? What should be included in my CV?
When watching the current market situation, I thought that it would be a good idea to share some insight on how to appropriately prepare to get a new or for some people their first job. For starters, you should carefully consider your professional experience or competences. But it’s not all about skills. It’s important to highlight your development and skills that you feel comfortable or simply good about. After figuring out a general direction that you want to go in, think about tools required in the process of looking for a new job. Today, I’d like to focus primarily on one particular document — the CV.
Creating your CV step by step
Curriculum Vitae, usually abbreviated to CV, should be succinct, simple, and clear.
What does that really mean?
To me, it can be rephrased like so: “Write your CV in such a way that everybody can understand it and easily find the most important information.” Thinking back to my initial job interviews, I realised that my then potential employers probably read my CV for ca. 20 seconds, according to the statistics. Therefore, I recommend making the most important info clearly visible, so that one doesn’t have to scan the entire text trying to find it. As you probably know, the potential employer gets the CV prior to the actual interview. This means that the recruiter will use this document during your job interview. You can find a plethora of different templates online, prepared in accordance with the latest trends regarding the layout and graphic design. They are usually ready-to-use documents. Personally, I’m not a fan of these and I prefer creating your own document that allows you to differentiate yourself from other candidates.
What should be included in my CV?
There are loads of contents that you can read or watch on how to create a CV and what to put in it. That’s why I’ve listed below the crucial information that I believe should always be included there:
- Personal data (first and last name, address of residence, phone number, e-mail address).
- Acquired skills, completed trainings, apprenticeships, additional qualifications, so anything that you find valuable whilst applying for a particular position.
- Professional experience — latest at the top (described below).
- Education (optionally) — latest at the top.
- Interests, passions, hobbies. Oftentimes, these are directly or indirectly connected with your professional aspirations, though this is also optional. However, I recommend including those in your CV. This may serve as the common ground for a small talk.
- Photo and legal clause (described below).
- I suggest placing the photo and the information from items 1 and 5 in the top left corner of the document, while putting the remaining data on the right. Thanks to that, you can easily achieve the effect of transparency and order.
- Professional goal. More and more often, I see candidates adding a few short sentences about themselves at the beginning of their CVs. It’s a good practice, as it lets the recruiter find the most important info right at the beginning, without having to read the entire CV
CV — technicalities:
- Personalise the document.
What’s that all about? Let me explain. When applying for a specific job, you need to have a CV prepared for that particular position. When you’re looking for a job in e.g. finance, focus on the education, experience, and skills that may be useful in that particular field. Obviously, you can also show other competences that may indirectly benefit you in your future job. Also, take care of the visual layout, as recruiters tend to exchange remarks and observations among themselves.
- The “latest at the top” rule.
This rule means that you should include the most recently acquired experience and education. If you have already had a few jobs, you may skip the ones that you had long time ago, as this information is of relatively low significance.
- “Less is more”.
There’s something to it… Therefore, I always make sure my CV is up to two-three pages long. This way, it’s clearer to read. It’s way easier for the recruiter to find the crucial information if you use less text. Remember that your future employer reads hundreds of such documents every day.
After preparing your CV, you need to add a photo and save the document in a correct file format, so that it can be easily opened on any device. I recommend using the “universal” PDF format. As for the photo, many people still think whether they should include one or not. Personally, I think adding a photo in your CV is a good idea. It makes it easier for the recruiter to identify you when you come over for the interview. 🙂 When adding a photo, make sure it’s appropriate. I have seen CV photos with numerous people in them. Remember that this is your professional resume, not a photo album.
Remember to include a legal clause with your consent for the processing of your personal data at the end of the document. This is very important! Otherwise, your potential employer may not be able to contact you due to legal reasons.
Avoid adding sensitive information in your CV, such as marital status, religious beliefs or political preferences. These things are private, and no employer should ask about them during an interview.
Should I soup up my CV?
Is it a good idea to cover some items in our professional career up and embellish some others? No. Never.
As they say: “A lie has no legs”. This is very true. The majority (if not all) of information from your CV can be verified during the interview, and recruiters have their ways to catch that (trust me, I know what I’m saying). Do not twaddle in your CV. Focus on the quality, not the quantity. Besides, based on my experience “less” does not necessarily mean “worse”. In case of professional competences, it’s quality over quantity. Professional relations should be based on integrity. And there’s only one chance to make that good first impression. Instead of listing tons of qualifications that do not reflect the reality, it’s way more trustworthy and effective to emphasise the benefits that your actual skills can provide to your potential employer. If you do not know how to prepare for an online interview, read the article: