Many people think that one only needs a CV when seeking a job. Some schools always require a CV for some courses, especially business-related courses like MBA programs. You may qualifications that make you favorable for a job, but because of a poorly-written CV, a prospective employer can reject your application. That’s why you should know how to write a CV, and what a CV should have in order to increase your chances of success in seeking a job.
Each employer looks for a specific thing in your CV. It could be that the employer is interested in the latest few items of your employment history, or your tech skills, or both. If you could know what your employer is interested in, you would concentrate on those parts and include as much information about that aspect of your life as possible to make it easier for the employer to decide.
Sections of a Good CV
I’ll discuss sections including that of Name, Professional Tittle and Contact Details. All employers expect to see these sections in your CV and that’s the part their attention is drawn to first. Your CV should contain a name, title, and contact details at the top. That’s what interviewers read first. Do not make the mistake of giving your CV a tittle other than your name. That’ll be a waste of time and space.
Your name is the title of your CV. In writing your contact details, an email address and a phone number are essential. In the olden days, people use their full address in a CV. That isn’t the case now as addresses are unnecessary because one can contact you through the phone number, email address, or profile links you provide. You can also include links to your online profile that displays more of your bio and achievements which do not fit in a CV.
· Personal Profile Section
A personal profile is a short paragraph that comes after contact details. It is simply a summary of who you are, what you can offer the company, and what your career goals are. This is normally captured in a single paragraph and gives an immediate and clear picture of what you are all about. After this section comes experience and employment history.
· Experience and Employment History
Your employment history outlines previous jobs, internships, and experiences, and should be listed in a reverse chronological order – latest to oldest, and not more than 15 years ago.
Your personal profile should be tailored to fit the requirements for the job you are applying for, but not contain lies. In listing your previous jobs, you should state the job title, employer, and date you worked there. Also outline your key responsibilities in each job using a bullet point list. It’s important you should limit your job history to no more than 15 years.
While outlining your previous job, state the job title, employer, the dates, and a bullet-point list of your key responsibilities. It is good to choose the jobs and duties you took that is closely related to the job you are applying for.
· Educational Qualification
You are to list your qualifications in reverse chronological order. You’ll outline the names of the institutions you attended and their dates, the qualifications or certifications you got, and their grades. You may also list some notable relevant projects that you undertook at such institutions, especially projects that are relevant to the job you seek.
Hobbies should be one of the additional sections to include in your CV depending on the length of CV you want. For example, if you want to showcase a particular ability for the employer, you can create a separate section for it, like Key Skills, which should come at the beginning of the CV and Hobbies coming somewhere around the end.
Hobbies help you flesh out a scanty CV. Always include hobbies that are relevant to the values the company holds dear. You may also add a section for references where you list the referees, especially when the employer requests such information or if you have very strong referees that gives you more credibility for being the man for that job. You may list the referees, their addresses and contacts like email and phone if possible.
Formatting and Spacing Guidelines
If you format a CV wrongly, you may download one of the many free templates online to use. You can find a good CV template on Google Docs for free. Fill in your information according to the formatting of the template. The format of a CV is very important just as the length. The heading of a CV should be big and bold for easy readability.
The font type should be Calibri or Arial as employers prefer to receive your CV through electronic form like PDF or Word Docs. Your font size should be between 10 and 12 points; headings should be between 14 – 18 points. The page margins should be between 1.27 to 2.5 cm. A margin that is too small results in a cluttered CV with lower readability, and you can’t afford making things difficult for any employer to read, especially with highly competitive jobs. adequate empty spaces in a document improves readability.
The CV should be consistent throughout in terms of English grammar and spelling, like sticking with American or British English. It’s a good idea to give friends or families or hire a freelancer online to proofread your CV when you are not sure of the grammar.
Do not include your age in a CV as this can turn off an employer when they think you aren’t capable of doing the job well due to your age. But if the employer were to interview you it’s possible he’ll overlook the age factor if you perform well in the interview, especially if younger candidates couldn’t perform as well or better.
Do not include your marital status or dependents as these should not affect a person’s ability to do a job. These are even protected characteristics in some countries where no one can be disqualified for a job based on factors like age, date of birth, marital status.
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Things That Turn Off Employees
There are certain things to avoid in your CV. No one is likely to hire you if your CV contains one or more of the don’ts. While some information to include or drop out depends on the employer and what information they are requesting, you should take these as a general rule of thumb when writing your CV.
· Blatant Lies
You don’t want to come off as a liar to someone looking to hire you. Should an employer detect a lie in your CV, the chances of them hiring you shrinks to zero. They’ll wonder why you have to lie, and the next question is, what else is he hiding from me? He doesn’t trust his chances enough to tell the truth and that most likely means he isn’t capable or trustworthy.
Many people include information in their CV that is not true just to improve their chances for an interview. Even if you manage to get the interview, your interviewee will likely disqualify you should he/she discover a deliberate lie. False information is all it takes to doubt every other thing you say. Such lies can be in the form of declaring a false location or name, phone numbers, and so on. Interviewers might even be angry at you for wasting their time to give you an interview when you obviously do not qualify for the job but presented false information.
· Typos and Spelling Mistakes
A CV doesn’t contain much writing. It’s mostly between 1 – 3 pages max. The CV is a very important piece of document that should get a good edit and proofreading. There are typos and spelling mistakes that show a clear lack of seriousness and that a person is not passionate about the job and that’s why he/she didn’t even care to check the correctness of the information presented in their CV.
· Short-Duration Jobs
Another thing that turns employers off is to see that you have switched jobs severally in the past few years. There is an HR-jargon word “Jumper”, a word describing someone who stays in a job no more than 7 months. Employees like someone they can work with as long as they need to. Staying in a job for a very short duration means you’re likely to leave them prematurely, forcing them to start looking for another person to hire.
· Avoid Boastful or Exaggerating Words
No one likes an arrogant and overconfident person. Even if you are such type of a person, there’s no need to display it in your CV as it serves you no good. That doesn’t mean you should not try to impress people in your CV. Just avoid boastful words like “guru”, “ninja”, “rock star”, etc. Do not also exaggerate your capabilities by calling yourself an expert or a specialist unless you have concrete figures or experience to back up such claims. and that experience is clearly described in the CV. Employers want to know that the person they are hiring is capable of the job or even an expert. But often frown upon those who create an impression of arrogance in a CV.
· Avoid Inspirational Quotes
They are usually fluff that doesn’t add to the value of your CV. They are also a distraction and prone to misinterpretation.
Additionally, there are many formats a CV can assume depending on certain factors. You may go with any format based on your preference, or you may find out which formats an employer prefers. Sometimes it is best to go with the most common CV format in a country. There are also plenty of online services that provide attractive CV formats.
Conclusively, be sure these online CV providers are free or you are willing to pay their price. In most cases, they make you feel everything is free. Then after you take a long time to fill in your information, they suddenly as for pay before you can download. This is often a strategy to trap you into paying even if you never intended to. You either pay or you won’t be able to download the CV. That’s what nearly all online CV providers do. So be warned.
If you have any suggestions regarding what people should do when creating a CV, or where to get free formats, consider sharing your thoughts in the comments.
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