How to write a CV

While there is no one-size-fits-all solution for the perfect CV, it should be sufficiently formatted and short to adjust to the role that you are applying for.

Not sure where to start? Here are some basic rules about CV writing:

What information should I add to my resume?

There are several things that CVs should always include:

1. Personal information:

It might sound obvious, but many forget to include their address, contact number, phone number, and email. Make sure these are clearly presented at the top of your CV. ‘Resume’ is an unnecessary title.

2. Personal statement

Since this is the first thing shown in your resume, it should not be a crowd of personal expressions. It explains who you are, what you offer, and what you are looking for. Aim to prove why you are eligible in a concise paragraph.

3. Work experience:

This section should include all your relevant work experience, listed with the most recent near the top. Include the job title, name of the organization, time in the post, and your core responsibilities.

4. Achievements:

This is your chance to show how your previous experience provided you with the skills needed to be a suitable candidate. List all your related skills and achievements (backing them up with examples), and make it clear how you would apply these to the new role.

5. Education:

Your training experience and achievements should be listed here with dates, qualification type, and/or grade you received. Which parts of the training you include in your CV will depend on your personal situation. For example, if you have more educational success than work experience, it is a good idea to highlight this section.

6. Hobbies and interests:

You don’t always need to add hobbies and interests to your resume, but talking about relevant ones can support your skills and help you stand out from the crowd. Extra information such as the causes of a career change or the reasons for gaps in career history should also be included as needed.

What words should I add to my resume?

Finding which words to use in your resume can be difficult – especially when you try to add a lot of skills and experience to a short document.

Keywords suitable for your CV may include:

  • Right
  • Adaptable
  • Confident
  • Hardworking
  • Innovator
  • Proactive
  • Honest
  • Responsible

In addition to using the right words, you should also back up your qualifications with real successes. You will not only stand out from others with the same skills, but you will be able to prove your fitness more effectively. After all, anyone can say that he is hardworking – but not everyone can prove it.

What should I exclude?

When it comes to your resume, there are some words and phrases that you should try to avoid – and these mostly consist of extreme stereotypes.

Just a few of the worst CV words:

  • Excellent communication skills
  • Goal-oriented
  • Flexible
  • Motivated
  • Multitasking
  • Independent
  • Detail-oriented
  • Self-motivated

Obviously, if any of the above are included in the job description, exceptions can be made – but it is very important to use examples to support them.

How should I submit my CV?

Your resume is the first thing an employer will see when hiring for a vacancy, and how it looks at first glance will be the reason they decide to read it in more detail. Even if your skills perfectly match the role, a messy and confusing CV won’t even get a second look.

To make sure you paint yourself (and your skills) in the best way, always:

  • Keep it short – two sides of A4 will almost always be enough.
  • Choose a clear and professional font to make your CV easy to read.
  • Place it in a logical layout with sufficient space and clear section titles (e.g. Work Experience, Training).
  • Order your experience and training in reverse chronological order to highlight your newest experience and achievements.
  • Check your grammar and spelling thoroughly.

Final thoughts

Once you’ve put together your CV – don’t assume it’s finished.

Every job is different and tailoring your CV accordingly is vital to standing out. Edit it in line with the job description whenever you make an application, and you’ll be able to ensure it matches the specifications every time.

Highlight that you’re the right match for the job by outlining:

  • The specific skills you have to offer
  • Relevant accomplishments and achievements
  • The work and educational experience you have in their field
  • Personal qualities that will make you right for the role
  • An understanding of the job requirements

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