Want to write a CV that’s interesting and professional? Here’s how.
Writing a strong CV can be a frustrating process. If you are new to the international job market or writing your CV for the first time, this guide will help you understand how to write a CV, and what you'll need to do to write one that will stand out in today's competitive job market.
What is a CV?
A CV is your personal marketing document, designed to sell your skills and experience to prospective employers. It is similar to a resume, in that it covers a summary of yourself, your employment history and your qualifications. However, CVs go into more detail and can extend beyond the two-page limit associated with resumes.
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How do I format a CV?
There is no one way to format a CV, and the structure is quite flexible depending on where you are in your career. However, there are some essential components regardless of your industry or position:
Name and contact information
Always include your name, email and phone number at the top of your CV. Including your address on your CV is no longer compulsory as you will more than likely have to insert these details on the application form. However, you may like to include your town and county to give employers a general idea of where you are based.
This section is also known as a professional profile, personal statement, or career objective. It is a short, punchy paragraph that introduces the employer to who you are, what your key skills are and your career aims. This section should be targeted to the job you are applying for and persuade recruiters to keep reading.
List your employment history in reverse-chronological order. For each position, detail your employment dates, your job title and the company. Then, write a one-line summary of the role, followed by bullet points that cover your key responsibilities, skills and achievements. Support your claims with powerful verbs and quantifiable evidence to show employers the value you can bring to the table.
Like your employment history, list your education in reverse-chronological order. Include the name of the institution, dates of study or date the qualification was awarded, the qualification or subject, and grade. If you have recently left education and have very little work experience, you can bullet point key modules, projects, assignments and the skills you developed to compensate.
Tailor your CV to every application
Hiring managers receive generic, buzzword-strewn CVs every day. They are monotonous and, quite frankly, do not sell skills or experiences effectively.
To write the best CV and stand out from the crowd, target the document to the job you are applying for. Take the job description and identify the key requirements you fulfil and ensure your CV references these abilities to show that you are the perfect fit for the position.
Don’t forget the cover letter
Put together a well-designed cover letter that explains to the employer why you are an excellent candidate for the role. Use the requirements from the job description to dictate your main points, and relate it to the experience referenced in your CV. Remember not to regurgitate your CV. Simply choose your most relevant points and expand on them to prove to employers why you are a suitable hire and should be invited for an interview.
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