While applying for jobs, the first impression is entirely made based on the CV of the applicant. Experienced candidates and entry level job seekers/interns have a huge difference in their CVs as they bring different credentials to the table. They cater to the needs of the organization in different ways. For instance, entry level applicants do not have a professional work record but they can show off their academic achievements, extra-curricular and co- curricular activities on CV which sheds light on their energy and ambitions. On the other hand, experienced and mature candidates should mention their accomplishments till date from various jobs and what they have learned along the way.
Creating a CV is a vital part in getting the desired job post you have got your eyes on. If you employ all the tips mentioned in this article, your CV would be in a top shape and there would be a surefire way of getting your CV noticed by the hiring managers.
What should a good CV contain?
Many people attend CV writing workshops for assistance or search for samples on the internet. This article would help you in identifying the relevant information and thus drafting the CV accordingly.
- It should be smart and have a professional appearance.
- It should convince the employers that they can trust the applicant with the job and skillsrequired.
- Try to keep your CV only two pages long or shorter than that.
- Never lie on your CV.
- Keep only the relevant information in the CV which shall be job-specific. Keep in mind that your CV is not a life history, the purpose of a CV is only to help in securing an interview on the basis of your best accomplishments.
- It should only document those qualifications and accomplishments which is relevant to the job you are targeting.
- While listing your jobs, follow the reverse chronological order. This way, the most relevant information would be closer to the top.
- When you are shifting a job, into a different field especially, mention and emphasize upon the transferable skills such as MS Excel proficiency, customer service, etc.
How Should Working Professionals Make a CV For Jobs?
A CV would be different for each job you apply for. Therefore, it is a good idea to draft a professional and polished CV including everything from the past job experiences and then edit and target this CV for a specific job position. Invest some time upon researching about the organization and modify your CV accordingly.
Given below are a few points to help you in drafting a perfect CV for your desired job position-
1. Format of the CV
Do not get too fancy with the design and format of the CV. Avoid making it very complicated and difficult to read; rather keep the format simple and clean. Do not fall into the bait of software programs that create CVs in a template for you after entering information. Avoid these templates and make your own format which is a good fit for you and your experiences. The hiring managers are smart enough to make out the difference between a self-made CV and a computer based CV. A self-made CV would leave the impression that you actually care enough to put efforts in making an efficient CV and that you are competent to work in the field. Begin with a blank Word document and develop your own format with headings suitable for you and the job.
- Choose a format which is easy-to-read and does not take a lot of space like Arial or Times New Roman and keep the font size 12 for Headings and 11 for text.
- Your name should be mentioned in bold and capitals at the top of the page. Mention the contact number and email just below it.
- Write all the headings in bold and caps, but do not underline it.
- Balance the white space and the text space in the document. It shall not look empty in someplaces and crowded in others.
The CV shall begin with personal contact information. The heading should include your name in bold and in capital letters and the phone number and email would be mentioned just below the name. Always mention only one phone number and email to avoid the confusion. Additionally, you may also provide the link of your LinkedIn profile if you want. Just make sure to keep your LinkedIn updated.
Briefly describe your educational qualifications in 2-3 lines mentioning your post-graduation, graduation and 12th and 10th standard results. Things which must be mentioned are your school’s and college’s name, its location (city and state), your degree and month and year of graduation. These should be mentioned in reverse chronological order i.e. most recent first. If you are an experienced professional and have been working for many years since earning a degree then mention your educational qualifications after your work experiences. Because your work experience would be more relevant for the organization as you have spent a lot of time in the profession, they would want to see your contribution in the professional field.
4. Additional course details
Generally, only those institutions should be mentioned from which you received a degree or currently pursuing a degree. However, if you have attended and completed a course which is specifically related and relevant to the job position you are applying for, then do not forget to include that information too. It might give you an edge over other applicants.
Please note that this is the most important section of your CV for employers. This section takes up the most space on your CV so it is vital that you hone it.
Under experiences, you may include jobs, internships and volunteer work. Describe them all step-by-step.
Start with describing your work experiences first. Mention all your previous jobs with the name and location of the company, your title/designation in the company and period of employment. Then, describe your specific responsibilities and accomplishments in bullet statements. Be careful in mentioning only your accomplishments and not the list of your daily duties at the work.
Some points to keep in mind while describing your experience-
Always maintain the reverse chronological order while listing your experience i.e. start with your most recent position.
Describe only what is relevant for the job you are applying for. Your CV is not an autobiography therefore describe adequately what you did in each position.
The bullet points under each work experience are very important. It should briefly describe the duties and accomplishments of the applicant. It should not be more than 2-3 lines long and should be as specific as possible.
e.g. Instead of writing “Trained new employees in the office”, you can write “Trained five new part-time employees in mergers and acquisitions”.
In the bullet points, describe your most relevant and impressive achievement at the start and then continue describing the more common responsibilities. Add statistics and quantities in your description to make it look more reliable and responsible.
Use strong action verbs such as coordinated, developed, organized, etc. to explain your role in the organization more firmly. It emphasizes on the fact that you are proactive rather than reactive.
Try to avoid making personal evaluations on your own like “developed leadership skills or management skills”.
Describe the relevant internships in the same way.
6. Position of Responsibilities Held
Under this heading, you may mention certain positions which reflect your leadership and management skills like conducting conference, team co-ordinator, volunteering work, etc.
7. Awards and Honours
Under this heading, you can mention awards and honours received by you in the course of employment in the organization/s or in internships or college, if relevant.e.g. Best Legal Researcher, 2014, Vaish and Partners LLP, New Delhi or Best Researcher in B.R. Memorial Delhi, Moot Court Competition, New Delhi, 2012.
List out your specific skills relevant to your job interests like research, drafting, etc. You may also mention any specific certification or training received by you that is related to your field. Also, you may further include transferrable skills like MS Word, MS Excel, client counselling, etc. Combine your hard skills and soft skills to put out a range of skill set.
9. Co-curricular Activities
Mention your published and relevant articles, research papers or blogs, moot court competitions, etc.
10. Extra-curricular Activities
The focus is primarily on the relevant work, so you may have to limit the number of items included under this heading. But do not hesitate to summarize your role in community projects and clubs, campus organizations or professional associations. Select carefully those activities that demonstrate your skills and abilities.
Please note that you do not have to necessarily write all the things mentioned above. These points are just a guide for you to include only those things which suits the job you are approaching and mention them in a way that brings out the best skills and capabilities in you. Play with the words but keep it simple too. Try to keep it brief but attractive. Your CV should consume the recruiter in knowing more about you. Therefore, choose accordingly and flaunt your impressive achievements and job-specific skills.
A question frequently which comes up in the mind while drafting a CV for a job post is that how much work experience should be included in a CV? What about the people who are new to the job-hunting world and have no prior working experience?
To answer that-
- The mid-level job seekers should include their detailed job descriptions of relevant positions and briefly mention any other position they have had held.
- The entry-level job seekers should list out and describe all the paid-works he/she has done in the related professional field, particularly mentioning the responsibilities and achievements that are relevant for the job post.
- The first-time job hunters are those who have no work experience. They can include the roles from their college days such as student organizations, internships, volunteering experiences, etc. This way they can fill out their experience section in the CV.
The Final Step
After having an experience of 2-3 jobs, you make many professional connections in your field. It would be a bonus point for you if someone from your profession writes a reference letter for you. References play an important role and increases slightly the probability of you securing the job position.
You can have more than one reference. The best way is to mention a reference on a separate sheet or at the end of the CV. Under this heading, mention the list of name and contact information of references, including title, place of employment, business address, phone and email of the reference. These information are necessary to be provided.
If you are mentioning a reference, it should better be a good one! A good reference is someone who knows you well and has supervised your performance in a work setting or academics. The reference should be credible too. It would be inappropriate to mention your close friends and family members as they are rarely considered credible references. People like faculty members, internship supervisors, current or former employers can serve as credible references.
The reference shall know your work style and strengths. Keep updating your references on your job status as they may receive a call from an organization at any stage and they shall be prepared to speak on your behalf and represent you in a positive light.
You are almost done with drafting a great CV, but don’t send it off just yet.
Organizations receive hundreds of CVs for any job openings from interested applicants. Make sure that you do not commit any mistake, even minor, to get yours rejected. Keep a check on spelling and grammatical mistakes as they do not only look bad but are also very unprofessional. These minor mistakes can hurt your chances for employment in the ocean of
CVs. Take your time to edit the final draft by keeping only the relevant information in only 2 pages. Get feedbacks from your mentors, friends, family or you can even approach professionals to proofread your CV.
Proofread, Revise and Send!
All the best!