A CV or curriculum vitae is essentially a marketing tool used by job seekers to promote themselves in the job market. This is the first thing that employers/ recruiters view and on the basis of how compelling the CV document is, an interview is arranged. Even though it is regarded as an important document, most employers do not spend more than 30 seconds on one CV. This means that it must be prepared with caution to grab the attention of the reader in that limited time. Most CVs have, on average, ten major mistakes that makes the employer/ recruiter trash it. Find below, answers to commonly asked questions and CV writing tips that will help make your CV stand out.
What is the difference between a CV and a resume?
A resume is a shorter document usually a page or two entailing a summary of your skills, experience and education. A Curriculum Vitae or CV is generally longer covering two or more pages and contain details of your educational and work experience, publications, honors, awards and other details.
How many pages should a CV be?
There is no hard and fast rule for the length of the CV. It depends on the amount of work experience the applicant has had. For a graduate level, it should not be more than a page or two. For an executive with wider experience, the length can be much longer. A good CV should ideally be of two to three pages.
Chronological or Functional?
Chronological format is more common, easy to read and gives a detailed summary of your experiences chronologically. It is used to represent your career growth. Functional CV, not as popular, may be used when placing emphasis on your specific skills pertaining to a particular industry.
The Career Objective Statement
A career objective statement is your five second marketing advertisement. In about 2 to 3 clear and precise sentences explain your skill set and qualifications along with what exactly you are looking for in your next job. While writing a career objective statement, avoid
• Using “I” and “my” too frequently
• Being vague about anything
• Making grammatical and spelling mistakes
• Promising more than you can deliver
Tips for effective CV writing
Keep it clear and precise
Provide all necessary details related to your skills and expertise. Review the job description of the position applied for and include relevant information that the employer will be interested in.
Present it attractively
If presenting a hard copy, make sure that it is printed on a clean, crisp paper and the layout is well planned. The font and the bullet points should not be too large or too small.
Highlight your achievements
The employer is not interested in knowing what your job responsibilities were but rather would like to know about your achievements on the job, e.g. “boosted the company’s sales by 15% in the past year” will be a more valuable statement as compared to “was responsible for the Sales team”.
Explain Gaps in your work history
If you have been traveling, or been suffering from a disease or have been unemployed for a reason, include that explanation.
Avoid Grammatical and Spelling Mistakes
Run a spelling and grammar check and reread it several times to ensure it has no mistakes.
Bragging or lying could get you in to trouble to be as accurate and truthful as possible.
What should the CV include?
• Personal Details – name, nationality, marital status
• Contact Information – address, phone number, email address
• Educational Background – most recent should be included
• Work Experience – begin with the most recent
• Key skills/ areas of expertise
• Honors, awards and other achievements
What should NOT be included in the CV?
Unnecessary personal details
Information on age, nationality and marital status is usually required by the employers. Other details such as health, weight or religion should be avoided.
Detailed accounts of your educational background
Employers are generally not interested in extensive details of your educational background. Include only the recent achievements with details relevant to the job applied for.
Leave all discussions on salary for the interview stage where the negotiations will take place.
Reasons for leaving the previous job
This might leave a negative impression on the employer.
Avoid using industry-specific words and difficult terminology as the person scanning your CV might not be familiar with such terms.
There is no need to include those hobbies that are not relevant to the job applied for.
-By Faryal Humayun