When applying for a job the first they will see is your CV so how do you make it stand out from the competition and win you that interview.
Keep in mind that recruiters look at your CV for a few seconds before determining whether or not you are the right candidate so that is why you have to have a clear and well-informed CV to make it easier for them to scan through.
If you are job hunting for the first time it can be overwhelming but I have broken down the CV writing process into small steps to make it easier to follow.
Building a picture-perfect CV is essential for your current and future self as CV is a never-ending document that must be upgraded every time you gain a new experience.
Important details to keep in mind when writing your CV:
1. Write each section in reverse chronological order, beginning with the most recently achieved. This goes for all the sections in your CV such as Education and Experience.
2. Make it to concise and avoid large paragraphs.
3. Make sure your CV is free of any spelling mistakes.
4. Do not fill your CV with things you have that don’t truly showcase your ability.
5. When you save your CV make sure to save it as ‘Your Name CV.pdf’, this not only looks professional but also helps the recruiter to find your CV in their document.
Search for a CV template
There are many websites and applications that offer CV templates including Word Documents, Pages (on mac) and Canva.
Pick one that looks professional and easy on the eye, avoid ones that clattered and full of colours.
If you choose to pick a template with colour opt one with one colour to keep the professional look.
If you using Pages to create your CV it is advised to convert it to Word Document or a PDF file, the reason for this is that most work computers aren’t mac and therefore they will have a harder time opening a Pages file.
In the Introduction, you will have you your Name, Phone number, Email and Nationality. And yes, that is all you need, you don’t have to add your date of birth nor your marital status as those are not key information the recruiter is looking for.
Make sure that add your professional contact details so it can be used in your professional career.
A resume objective states your career goals. It can be as easy as mentioning your ideal job title and/or which department you would like to work in, or it can indicate where you have been in your career and where you are planning to go. Make is short and to the point as other parts of the CV are more important.
However, an objective in a CV is optional but it is advised to add it if it is your first time applying for a job to allow the recruiter to know your career goals and the reason you applied for that specific job.
Start by stating who you are without using the word “I” followed by your goal, here are some examples:
Start with your major:
(Your major) graduate seeking a full-time position where I can share my strong communication skills, leadership, and commitment with the right working environment.
Start you’re your strongest skill:
Dedicated team player with strong leadership and communication skills seeking to secure an internship/position in a challenging organization that will support me in developing my (Major skills).
In this section, you will write down your educational details including your bachelor’s degrees, Master’s degree and the school you have gone to and any other educational courses you have completed.
Adding your school is optional as the recruiter will most likely focus on the last educational certificate you have to receive whether it's bachelor’s degrees or master’s degree.
Remember its ok to brag about your GPA, honours and awards which includes Deans list so if your GPA is above 3 then don’t forget to add it.
The things you need to mention in this section is:
- major and specialization or concertation
- location of the university (is this important if your university is a branch)
- year you graduated in
- your GPA if it's above 3.
For those who are yet to graduate from their bachelor’s or master’s degree simply write “expected to graduate” followed by the year.
Here’s an example:
The experience section may be intimidating for some people but by breaking down this section it will hopefully make it easier for you.
The things you need to mention in this section (example below):
- Place you have worked
- Location of the place
- Title of your job
- Time spent there – whether it’s years or months
- Your responsibilities and tasks
The most question I got asked when editing CV is how do I write down the responsibilities and tasks, the easiest way is using keywords. Here are some examples:
- Worked effectively in…
Here’s an example:
Your experience has to be in reverse chronological order, starting with the experience you’ve recently done.
Do not be shy to show off on your CV, keep in mind that all the things you have listed is your hard work and you have to be proud of things you have accomplished.
Training/ workshop, certificates, and extra-curricular activities
What about training, certificates, extra-curricular activities, and workshops? Where are those added? Is a question I got asked a lot and the answer is you can create your own subheading. Creating their own subheading not only helps make them stand out but also makes it easier for the recruiter to scan your CV.
Training or workshops shows the recruiter your ability to learn new things and most importantly train to about the new concept in your specialized industry. Whether you had training from your job or during university here where you’ll add it. Example:
Certifications and extra qualifications shows your passion for the industry as well as give evidence of specific expertise and skills.
And that’s all you need to write in the certificate section.
This is section will be mostly used by used university students who have completed an activity that they have participated in that does not fit under work experience nor is it considered volunteer experience.
Skills are there to highlight your strengths and help differentiate you from the competition. This section is probably the easiest section and it includes three things:
1. Interpersonal skills: this includes the skills has you inherit
Also, if you are looking for more skills just google skill and pick what’s more suitable for you. Make sure they relate to your major, example if your major is related to Art add creative.
2. Language skill: this includes the language you are confident in and if you have done an English exam such as IELTS or any other language exam add it here.
3. Computer skills: can include Microsoft application and different computer related such as iMovie.
If your major is related to IT make sure this section is filled with the different IT programs. This can include the IT course you have taken during university.
This is how it should look like with all the subsections combined:
Interest and Hobbies
This section is optional but if you think you have an interest or hobby that is related to your field or the place you are apply for, then go ahead and add it.
The last section of your CV is the reference, it includes the contact details of the person you have worked for prior to the job you are currently applying for. The person you have referenced has to be one that is able to speak about your professional qualities.
Make sure you have the decision of the person you have referenced to avoid possible mishaps and confusion.
The reference section can be:
Meaning that when the recruiter asks for a reference you will be able to provide them with that information
The reference section with the person’s detail: