So you want to build the perfect CV? Don't worry, it is not as difficult as you might think.
Unlike many tutorials, we are not going to give you general tips and guidelines. We will walk you through the creation of one sample CV from scratch to completion.
By the end of this tutorial, you will have a complete "fill in the blanks" resume and the only things that you need to add are personal info and some industry-specific jargon.
Name Comes First
Start the CV with your name in a big font in the middle of the page. The reader needs to know whom they are reading about.
After the name comes the job title. The job title is what you do or what you want to be.
The reader needs to immediately figure out what type of position you are interested in from the first 2 seconds of looking into your CV.
This is the most common mistake applicants do. Countless eligible candidate CVs where thrown in the garbage bin because the HR department or recruitment personal couldn't figure out the applicant's profession.
No Career Objective
We recommend against the use of "Career Objective" unless your objective is not obvious; for example if you are looking for a part time job or summer training.
The reason is that your job title (which you just wrote above) tells the whole story. 99% of all career objectives we've seen contain useless and pointless cliche phrases that add no value what so ever.
Consider the below career objectives. They are taken from real CVs.
The problem with career objectives is that they are all the same, and because of that no one is reading them anymore
Your career objective is nothing more than the vacancy you wish to fill.
The "Career Summary" is a small paragraph that summarizes your education and experience and highlights an important achievement in your career in three to four lines.
The purpose of the career summary is to give the reader a snap shot of your entire CV in one paragraph.
Consider This Example
Notice that in three lines, the reader gets an almost complete idea of the applicant's history.
They know when he graduated, his major, how many years of experience he has, his career level (junior, intermediate or expert), important companies he worked for, his previous job title and what kind of certifications he has. All in three lines!
Let's look at two more examples.
The resume shoud look something like this fror now:
Qualifications are reasons to hire you. Think of your strongest selling points. You need to give the reader unquestionable reasons of why you are best person for the job. Examples Get Inspired.
1) Experience: More than seven years of programming experience
2) Higher Education: Masters degree in Computer Science
3) Certifications: Microsoft Certified Developer
4) Past Achievements: Delivered more than 20 successful software projects
5) Improvements you can bring: Reduce project time through the use of IDE
6) Professional Qualities: Hard working, fast, team player, multi-tasked and dependable
7) Industry Specific Exposure: Proficient in four programming languages
8) Deep knowledge: Deep understanding of conceptual programming designs
A competency is a skill that you need to know or have in order to fulfill your job. Some competencies are essential while others are optional. Competencies are different from qualifications. Qualifications are reasons to hire you while competencies are the skills you have. To explain more what competencies mean; consider these examples:
» Use of barcode scanners
» Understanding bar codes
» Use Credit Card machines
» Change of oil and brakes
» Troubleshoot oil leakage
» Fix car electrical issues
» Use of injections
» Blood taking
To make full use of the competencies section, you should not list obvious or trivial skills. You need to mention important competencies that can set you apart from others.
For example, it's trivial for any cashier to be "able to count money". Don't use that as a competency, it is very obvious. But "Understanding bar code notation" is really something desirable and brings attention. Just remember not to use obvious skills.
Back to our programmer friend:
» Testing and Debugging old code
» Project Documentation
» Technical writing
» Code reuse
» Component Integration
Here you need to think of all the important accomplishments you made in your career up till now. We know it can be very difficult for some to make achievements in the capacity of their jobs but still spend some time to think of at least one thing. If you can come up with something then great, otherwise skip this section.
To help you, we categorized achievements by type. See if you can find one or more fitting to you.
Achievements By Type
- Save Money:
did you save any of your previous employers money in one way or another?
- Cost Reduction:
did you manage to reduce the operational or production costs in a past role?
- Increase Revenue:
did you manage to increase the revenue for your employers in a way or another?
- Increase in Sales:
did you have a major role in increasing sales?
- Time Reduction:
did you have any suggestions or plans to reduce production or operational time? Did you make things go faster?
- Productivity Increase:
did you implement a plan to increase productivity?
- Work Place Improvements:
did you improve the processes or the way the business runs?
- Quality Improvement:
did you improve the quality of the products or services?
- Customer Satisfaction:
did you increase customer satisfaction?
- Fast Handover:
did you deliver any project ahead of time?
- Local Improvements:
did you improve any aspect in the scope of your own job?
did you take any initiatives? Did you successfully handle tasks outside the scope of your job description?
- General Improvements:
is there anything else that you made that had a positive impact on the company?
- Major Projects:
in addition to the above, any major project you implemented or participated in can be listed as an achievement.
Weaknesses?? Are we serious? You might think that this is a totally stupid and bad idea but read on.
Do you really want to be different? Do you want to stand unique? Do you want to grab attention?
This could be the most impressive part of the entire CV
We are not really going to list actual weaknesses but dream qualities portrayed as weaknesses.
An example will illustrate this better. Consider the word "Perfectionist". A perfectionist is a person who strives to make things as good as possible. This is a dream quality that every employer would love to see in their staff.
How is this weakness? Let's write the following:
How wonderful! You have just stated a dream quality but disguised it as a weakness. Subconsciously, your employers just love that. You have also explained to the reader that you are working on resolving the weakness [dream quality] and not just ignoring it.
- You practice self criticism, which means you are much capable of self development.
- You are able to see things from an objective point of view which makes you a professional.
- You are open to criticism from others since you successfully exercised self criticism.
- You are honest and not afraid to state the facts even if they are not in your favor.
Let's consider another example:
Another dream quality ! You are strict, you put the company's interest first, you want the best results, and you want them in record time. Congratulations, you are hired.
Education and experience can be interchanged. If your education is more impressive than your professional history put it first, otherwise put education after experience.
Needless to say, education has to be listed from newest to oldest because usually your latest degree is the highest. The only rare exception is that if you have a second degree and the new degree is lower than the old.
Honors and Awards
If you have honors or awards from any university, school or organization mention it. This section is optional. If you don't have any honors just skip it. Honors come usually from educational institutes but can also be awarded from other organizations or companies.
CertificationsEvery industry in the world has some sort of certifications specific to it. If you have any certificates, mention them here from newest to oldest.
Trainings and CoursesTrainings, courses and conferences go here. Feel free to control the order but it is recommended to put the most significant ones at the top.
ExperiencePrevious jobs must be listed from newest to oldest always. For every job, there is an optional achievements section.
You remember that we placed one achievements section previously. Well here is another chance for you to list even more accomplishments.
Position-wise achievements are optional but recommended.
This is the place to list technical and domain related phrases. In this section, feel free to be as detailed as needed.
Contrast the points we listed in competencies and the below.
Unless you are applying for a technology job, it is good to list what computer skills you have.
If you are a member in any organization or community, list it here. Put the most important ones at the top.
List the languages you are proficient at with respect to speaking, reading and writing.
Personal and Contact Information
Not much to explain here. Use your date of birth not age because age changes all the time and you need to always remember to update it. Don't put your passport number or anything like that. The below fields should be more than enough.