Your CV is your first and only chance to make a great impression on a potential employer – a good candidate with a bad CV will never get an interview. Therefore, it pays to spend a lot of time refining and polishing it.
Here are 10 tips for crafting a professional and eye-catching CV.
1. No mistakes allowed
It is essential that there are no mistakes on your CV. This includes spelling and grammar mistakes, factual errors such as mistyped dates and names, layout problems and illogical order of information. Get as many people as possible to read over and comment on your CV draft.
Here's an example of what your CV should not look like.
2. Cover letter
The cover letter is often overlooked because it seems like a waste of time to write one for each position you apply for. However, it’s a great way to state why you are applying for the position and to explain your skills and abilities. Craft a cover letter template and add in custom sections for each application.
Read our tips on drafting the perfect cover letter.
3. Follow the guidelines
The quickest way to get your CV dismissed is to ignore the submission guidelines. Make sure you stick to the CV page limit, include the asked-for information, address the contact person by name and don’t send more than is absolutely necessary.
Job-hunting? Check out these career guidelines.
4. Personal information
As a rule, only include personal information that is relevant to the job you are applying for. It is good to list your phone numbers, email and physical address, as well as birth date and nationality if you are not from the country.
5. Education information
Include information about any formal education you underwent, including university degrees and school-leaving qualifications. Do not include any information from earlier than your final year of high school.
6. Employment information
Provide detailed information about your last two jobs, and about other work you think is highly relevant to the post you’re applying for. You can list any other interesting work you’ve done, like charity or freelance work, but don’t go into detail with these. The last two jobs are the most interesting to a prospective employer.
Provide a brief section where you explain some of your most useful job-related skills. Elements like computer literacy, project management and communication ability are useful to name, if you have these skills.
8. Hobbies and interests
Briefly name some of your favourite hobbies, sports, free-time activities and interests. This shows that you are a well-rounded and interesting person. Make a note if you have held any important positions in your hobbies, such as captain of the local sports team or organiser of charity event.
9. Salary expectation
Do not include your expected salary unless explicitly asked to do so. Let the employer gauge your value to the company from the skills and experience you have listed in your CV. By including a salary figure, you run the risk of over-estimating or undervaluing your potential contribution.
Are you earning enough? Here's how to tell.
10. Be honest
This is the most important advice, and is always repeated: be completely honest on your CV. Put yourself in a good, positive light, but don’t embellish your achievements and abilities. If you get hired on the basis of a falsified CV, you will always get found out and fired. It is also a bad idea because you may end up doing work that you are unable to do, resulting in stress, confusion and anger for all parties.
Do you have more ideas on how to make a CV look better? Share your tips with us