CV, which stands for Curriculum Vitae, is a document, prepared usually by a person who applies for a job and which shows the person’s professional and educational history. It requires a lot of efforts and much of attention to prepare a good Curriculum Vitae, yet this is essential if you really want to get hired. This guide will show you in details how to make a CV, providing you with information about what’s most important in writing a CV, what your potential employers will pay attention to, and how to refine your CV in a way that will cause employer’s wish to hire you.
Table of Contents
- 1 A Few Things to Know Prior to Starting to Write a CV
- 2 How to Make a CV: What Matters for the Employer the Most
- 3 What Should You Avoid While Preparing a CV
- 4 Getting Prepared for Writing a CV
- 5 Compile Your Curriculum Vitae
- 6 How to Make a CV: Finishing CV Preparation
- 7 Keep These Things in Mind When Writing a CV
- 8 Takeaway: What Makes a CV to Be Appealing
A Few Things to Know Prior to Starting to Write a CV
Why anyone who applies for a job is usually asked to send a CV? Why anyone – from a waiter up to a stock trader – should know how to make a CV in a way that will interest his/her potential employers? Basically, because CV is the most comfortable, convenient and flexible way to make job applications.
Curriculum Vitae, which is also sometimes referred to as résumé, allows you to present the information about yourself the best way it can be presented. Thus, we can conclude that CV is a marketing document in the first place, which helps you to market and advertise… yourself! In this marketing document, you have to strive to sell your set of abilities, skills, qualifications, and work experience to your potential employers.
Lots of people fail in answering a question “How to make a CV?”
Sometimes, employers require the candidates to fill an application form, designed on their own, instead of sending a usual CV. The reason is simple: CV is structured the way you want, which allows you to sugar-coat your weak points, while emphasizing obvious strengths. This makes it barely possible for the potential employer to analyze your weaknesses and find out whether you are suitable for a job.
Nonetheless, providing a CV is required in the majority of cases when you strive to get hired by any company. So, you should be certain of one thing – there is definitely no “universal” approach to writing a CV. Your CV is your document, and it can be structured the way you want as long as it suits a general framework, which you can observe below.
You should prepare your CV in a way that will evoke interest in a person who will get to read it. That interest must be evoked within the first 30 seconds – otherwise, the chances are that your CV will be laid aside. You have to be aware of the fact that HR managers are usually forced to sort out CVs they receive in their free time – the time when they are likely to have a bottle of beer with their friends in a pub or chilling out at home or near a seashore. So unless you create compelling, attractive content, you can barely expect yourself to be hired.
One of the best suggestions, as a partial answer to the question “How to make a CV”, is the following: treat the HR manager as a kid who eats a meal. Give information about yourself in an appealing way in small portions, like short paragraphs, bullet points, or note forms. Also, the layout of your CV must be logical and include relevant information, so the HR manager will find it easier to read and look through your résumé.
How to Make a CV: What Matters for the Employer the Most
One may say for sure that selector, while looking through lots of CVs, tries to pay more attention to certain aspects of CV, though does not care that much about the other points. Getting to know what CV sections (or features) attract the most of the HR manager’s attention allows to focus on the most important part of compiling a CV.
How to make a CV: qualifications, skills, and experience appear to be the most important things for employers
According to the Orange County Resume Survey, carried out by Eric Hilden in 2010, previous work experience related to the company’s field (45%) and skills & qualifications (35%) do matter for a large part of employers who were surveyed. 16 percent of the surveyed employers tend to look at the candidates’ accomplishments, while 25% and 14% emphasize that CVs must be easy-to-read and without spelling & grammar errors respectively.
There are a few important points more, looked at by 9% of the polled employers: education and intangibles (like a desire of a candidate to succeed and prove that he is a right candidate for the company). At the bottom of the list, you can find such CV aspects like a clear objective (3%), keywords that were included in a CV (2%), personal and contact information (1%), computer skills (1%), and personal experience (1%).
Based on the above given survey, you can come to a conclusion what matters for potential employers who review your CV the most, which clearly gives an insight how to make a CV in a better way.
What Should You Avoid While Preparing a CV
When questioning yourself about how to make a CV in an appealing way, you should also consider the ways your CV should not be written, i.e. typical mistakes that should be avoided by you. CareerBuilder, a professional HR web portal, carried out a study, which showed what mistakes typically make employers throw CVs to a dustbin right away.
61 percent of the surveyed employers said that they immediately reject candidates, in those CVs they found typos or spelling errors. 41% of them confessed that CVs containing lots of text from the job postings get immediately thrown into a garbage can. Other common errors you should avoid are providing an incorrect email address in your CV (35%), not listing your set of skills and abilities in the CV (30%), and sending a CV that is longer than two A4 pages (22%).
You should avoid blocks of text in your CV
Other reasons of a possible CV rejection include printing your CV on decorative paper (20%), listing more tasks than actual results at the previous workplaces of yours (16%), adding a photo to your CV (13%), and stuffing your CV with large blocks of text, which makes it barely possible to read comfortably (13%).
Being aware of these common mistakes will help you to refine your résumé in a way that it will be appealing, compelling for an HR manager.
Getting Prepared for Writing a CV
Before you will get to writing your CV, you need to make a few things. CV is an important document where you strive to “sell yourself”, so it cannot be written at your own sweet will, but rather with a greal deal of preparation. So, before getting to know how to make a CV, you should get to know how to prepare for making it:
- Get to know about the general layout of a CV. As it was stated above, CVs differ and you can make a CV the way you want, but, prior to starting all other work, you should have a look at general CV templates. The majority of CVs include contact information, qualifications and education, previous work experience, skills and abilities, interests and achievements, and references.
- Find out more about the company you want to get hired by. Your CV is definitely not a good one, if it is not tailored to a particular company and for a particular job place. You should access the company’s website and find out the most important information about that company. What services the company provides or what goods it produces? What can you say about the company’s mission, stated on the website? What they expect to receive from a new employee? What set of skills should such a new employee possess? Are there any specific skills, required for a job you are applying for? You should keep these aspects in mind while making your CV.
- Make sure no additional information or specific requirements for a CV are put forward. It is recommended to check a job posting again. Also, enter the company’s website and find out whether they ask candidates to provide some additional information, apart from the common points. You are likely to find these, if there are any, on the company’s website’s page for applications.
- Prepare a list of the job positions you have held until the present time. It may include the jobs you happen to hold nowadays as well (part-time or similar). Make sure you have provided the start and end dates for each of the job positions you have listed.
- Think about your interests and hobbies and compile a list. You should think about your actual interests or hobbies, but be aware of the conclusions that might be drawn from them. In order to make your CV stand out among others, you should specify hobbies that are unusual, require teamwork, make you seem as an active person, etc. Be aware of listing too many hobbies (more than one or two, actually) that create an image of you as of a passive, lonely person, such as watching TV and reading books. Indeed, if it happens to you to read books more often, it may mean that you are quite an intelligent person, but it may barely be appreciated that much by your potential employer. Also, “passive hobbies” must be described in a way that will show your potential employer how interesting, exciting that hobby is.
Compile Your Curriculum Vitae
Eventually, we approached to the section about how to make a CV. Once you have completed the preconditions given above, follow these steps:
- Design your CV. Basically, you should make up your mind regarding what kind of a font will you use? Will you break up each point of the CV with a line? Such questions have to be answered and solved before you will move on to specifying the information about yourself. A standard serif font is Times New Roman. Cambria (also serif) or certain sans fonts (Arial) might suit well, too.
- At the top of the page, you should provide your name, address, phone number, and email. It is completely up to you how to format this section, but it is recommended to place your name in the middle and make it larger in size, so the employer will immediately know about who he/she is reading. Usually, the address is provided in a block format, whereas it must be located on the left side. Email address and phone number should be written under the address.
- Create a profile of your personality. This section is optional and not obligatory to include, but it allows an employer to get an insight about what kind of personality you are. One or two sentences are enough for this purpose.
An example: “A highly experienced SEO content writer is looking for a team of like-minded people, with whom it would be possible to develop professionally and unleash the potential of the communication, organizational, and writing skills.”
- Make a section of qualifications and education. You can opt whether to place it at the top of your CV or make this section be under other CV’s points. Here, you should list the education you received and courses/traineeships you attended in a reverse chronological order, i.e. the recently received education/certificates must be placed at the top. Each point in this section should contain the following information: university name, the period of attendance, major and minor subjects, and GPA (grade point average).
An example: “Stanford University, International Economics, 2011-2015, Subjects: International Finance, International Marketing, Global Economics, International Financial Markets. GPA score equaled to 3.9.”
- Make a section of the previous work experience of yours. As it was written above, it appears to be the most important section for your employer. For each point in this section, you should provide the following information: the name of the company you worked for, the company’s location, the period during which you worked there, and what were your obligations. Same as with the section of education, most recent jobs must be placed first.
An example: “Varjag Tour, Karl Johans Gate 9, Oslo, May 2012 – March 2015. Prepared content about the company’s tours, was responsible for social media marketing, assisted in planning paid ad campaigns.”
- Make a section about your achievements and abilities. This part of your must show the abilities you acquired while working at your previous jobs and achievements you made for those companies. If you have given any lecture or class or published a work (scientific or an article in a newspaper), you should state it in this section too.
An example: “Boosted conversion at the company’s website up to 24%, up by 16%. Grew the audience in social networks by 89%, 65% and 49% in Facebook, Twitter and Google+ respectively. Received a certificate from the Davis University, California, certifying my abilities in SEO and SMM.”
- Set up a section about your hobbies. You have to pick exactly those hobbies that can give you some help when working at the job you are applying for. Also, specify the interests that make you stand out and seem in a good light. It is recommended to break up your hobbies/interests into categories. You should also show that even when it comes to your hobbies or interests, you are a goal-oriented person.
An example: “Travel: travelled across 16 European countries as a backpacker by taking low-cost flights and bus fares.
Mountaineering: along with my friend, climbed Mont Blanc, Elbrus, and Matternhorn (without the help of a guide). Member of the alpine club in my region.
Reading: I have a blog, where I publish a review about each fiction or non-fiction book I read. Currently, I get 30,000 unique visitors per month.”
- Make a section for all other information. Is there anything important you wanted to share with your potential employer, but couldn’t come up with an idea of how to make a CV section for that information or which CV section should contain it? No problems, as this section, placed at the end of your CV, is created for listing such important facts.
An example: “I lived in Germany for two years and managed to learn the German language, which helped me to understand other German (including English) languages better. My level of the German language knowledge is upper-intermediate.”
- Make a section of references. There are, indeed, other people who worked with you in the past. Are they able to give a positive assessment of you as a worker and the work you have completed? Provide their names, company they work for and their position, email and phone number, and your potential employer might get in touch with them to find out more about you.
An example: “Mr. Hendrikson – Marketing Manager – Varjag Tour Ltd. – Karl Johans Gate 9, Oslo. Email: email@example.com. Phone number: +39 5767 9774 87.”
How to Make a CV: Finishing CV Preparation
Once you have written a CV and you don’t have a question “How to make a CV” in your mind anymore, you still need to carry out a few things:
- Proofread your CV for grammar and spelling mistakes.
- Once you have proofread the CV, think about whether are there any better ways to reformulate some of your sentences? Is it possible to make them more appealing, more concise?
- Read your résumé once again, but this time imagine as if you were an employer who gets to read a CV of a candidate. Is the information structured logically? Do you have any things to change for the better?
- Ask some of your friends or former colleagues whom you trust to have a look at your CV. Ask their opinion about it and whether they can suggest you to add or change something.
Keep These Things in Mind When Writing a CV
In the first place, don’t make your CV longer than two A4 pages in any case. The contact email address you provide must be reasonable and look professional. It was found that 76% of CVs with unprofessional email addresses are left without a response. An example of such an email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Proofreading CV is as much as important as actually writing it
Another important aspect in regards to the question of “How to make a CV” is being aware that you should provide inaccurate or even misleading information about yourself in NO case. You must be honest with your employer on any topic. Indeed, you won’t be held accountable for obvious lies you may place in your CV, but, once it gets revealed, you will be very quickly rejected.
When you think about how to make a CV, you should make sure you shun the mistakes, which are usually found in a large number of CVs, namely:
- Grammar and spelling mistakes (56%);
- CV is not tailored to a particular job (21%);
- Incorrect length of the CV and a poor history of work (16%);
- Lack of bullet points and poor formatting (11%);
- Accomplishments are not provided (9%);
- Issues regarding the email address and contact information (8%);
- Too vague profile of a candidate (5%);
- Lies (2%);
- Including a photo (1%);
- Other factors (3%).
Takeaway: What Makes a CV to Be Appealing
At the end of this article, we can just suggest you to get these few takeaway points along with you, as these aspects will barely ever change in regards to writing a CV:
- Your CV must be informative enough, yet concise at the same time.
- Your CV must target a specific job in a specific company. Don’t create a CV and send out the same copy to a few companies!
- Your CV must have a logical, understandable, easy-to-read layout: the CV’s points must be logically structured and the text must not be cramped.
- Your CV should contain no grammar or spelling errors, as well as to be accurate, irreproachable in content. So, don’t spare a few minutes of your time for proofreading your CV and attentively look at each of the CV’s points.
- Your CV must always be sent along with a cover letter, which should reveal why you are a suitable person for that position and what value you can bring to the company.