A CV or curriculum vitae is a comprehensive statement of a job applicant’s educational background, work or research experience. Everyone today needs a CV at some point or the other. While it is not a magic wand that will make all your problems disappear; it is certainly one of the most important marketing tools you can use to highlight your skills and educational qualifications. Whether you are applying for a summer job, an internship, consultancy work, full time job application, temporary work or even voluntary jobs; you need to know how to write a stellar CV. Here are some top tips and easy ways to write CV (with examples):
1. Keep it simple
Whether you are writing a CV for a job with no experience or have tons of it: do not overcomplicate things with too many categories or too much information. Be concise. No employer wants to sift through pages and pages of useless information. Ideally, a CV should not exceed two pages-maximum go up to 3 pages. Remember the 3 Cs-be clear, be concise and be correct.
2. Highlight all your achievements
Think of your CV as a tool to market yourself. Highlight all of your achievements, professional or extracurricular, to date. Do not sound boastful and do not fabricate stuff. Be honest when stressing upon your achievements.
3. Be unique
Use ‘I’ statements and make sure your CV is in your style and tone that brings out your personality. Be positive, direct and personal.
4. Tailor the content
You will also have to tweak or customize your resume based on the job you are applying to. Accordingly, highlight or change the job descriptions in each job application. Always follow a chronological order to keep latest job experiences or work experiences on top.
5. Pay attention to formatting
Whether you are writing a student CV, a CV for internship or for a job application, it should be well formatted. Here are some tips to consider:
- Choose one format and use it throughout the CV. Do not change the font unnecessarily.
- Make the CV easy on the eyes; easy to read and nice to look at.
- Where needed, use different fonts or italics, bold or underline certain sentences or words to draw attention. This will help managers who have to sift through hundreds of CVs.
- As stated before, list your achievements chronologically. Place the most important information on top and towards the left side. If needed, use tabular form. You can make a column for the institution, year of passing, awards/grades etc.
- Use a Word processor and make sure you correct spelling mistakes if any. Ensure that the CV is not filled with text-it should have some white spaces and should use bullet points for ease of readability.
- Use footer section to write your name and page number. This can come in handy should the CV pages get separated.
6. Review it
Get a second pair of eyes to review your resume. You can seek help of a teacher, colleague or friend that you trust and ask them to go through your curriculum vitae. If you are taking a hard copy for the job, make sure print it on a good quality A4 size paper.
7. What to do when you do not have adequate experience
When you want to create a CV but do not have the job experience to show, then you must highlight certain skills such as:
- Positive ‘can do’ attitude
- Willingness to embrace change
- Excellent communication skills
- Keen to work.
- Looking to develop
Many employers look at such skills-known as transferable skills- and they consider these rather important when a candidate does not have adequate work experience.
8. Know which sections to include
Every good CV has following sections:
This consists of the name, email address, mailing address, mobile number/contact number.
- Include all academic degrees. Write name of the institution. You must mention the name of city, state and type of degree. Also mention the month/year the degree was awarded.
- Ph. D candidates may give the title of thesis.
- You can group these into different categories such as Research, Job, Admin etc.
- Use bullet points.
- Give the title of the position, organization/institution you worked, year, city, state and the period (dates) for which you worked.
Use bullet points to highlight papers/publications which you have written/presented. Make sure it is a clean look. Clarify of you were co-author/author.
These can be oral or poster. You can describe the title of the seminars, workshops, conferences along with dates, city, etc.
Honors and awards
Use bullet points to talk about awards, scholarships, fellowships etc. You can also include certifications or grants received in this section or, alternatively, add them as a separate section.
Employers like to see this. Mention voluntary works you have participated in. Talk about community involvement or church work or animal welfare organizations you have worked with and supported.
Languages you speak
This is an optional section but it is nice to have. Mention the level of fluency you have in each language you know. Do mention what your mother tongue is.
Include hobbies that may be relevant to the position.
Give 3-4 references, no more. In case you are responding to an ad asking for references, then write these on a separate piece of paper. Make sure you include contact details of the people and that the references are latest and listed in chronological order.
Here are some more easy ways to improve the resume.
9. Some Dos and Don’ts
- Do include a photo with the CV
- Don’t list hobby as ‘I like to walk my dog on the beach’.
- Do ensure all dates are correct.
- Don’t include gaps between jobs. If there are, make sure you know how to explain them.
10. Use examples and templates
There are many sites with CV examples and free templates. Here are a couple of the best ones having over 50 CV templates for free download: