Welcome. In Part 1 of this series, we looked at the standard parts of a CV. We also highlighted some areas that are becoming less acceptable on CVs. Today, we will be looking at some tips that you have to keep in mind when drafting that CV.
But before we dive into that, I would just like to address the issue of the difference between a CV and a resume. The line between a CV and resume is increasingly becoming blurred as recruiters are expecting something that looks like a blend of both. Let’s look at some ways in which this is played out. For example, a CV is originally a comprehensive record of all your life’s work and education and could be as long as needed. A resume was expected to be tailored to specific jobs and had to be as brief as possible – a page is ideal. Today, however, recruiters would like you to present as accurately as possible your relevant school and work life, while still keeping it brief. Even if they ask you for a CV, that does not mean you should present a 6-page document highlighting everything you have ever done in your life. Who is going to read that anyway? You should aim for a fine balance of relevant details and brevity. Unless it is explicitly demanded that you list all you have ever done, lean towards brevity.
Now, here’s a list of 5 things to remember when drafting your CV:
- Keep it simple
- Use only relevant information
- Choose an attractive and clean format
- Don’t lie
- Proofread, proofread, proofread
Keep it simple
By simple, I am referring to the amount of information that should be there. Always target 1 page when drafting a CV. Now I know you may be thinking: “But I’ve done so much in my life and all of that can’t fit on a page.” Are you sure? Keep trying until you only have the information that you cannot do without. You may even consider doing double columns at some sections to keep the space compact. If a pager is not possible, you can move it to the second page but remember that the more pages, the less likely it is for the recruiter to pay attention to your CV. There are only a few people who genuinely need more than 3 or 4 pages of a CV to apply for a job.
This may not be a rule but it certainly is going to work to your advantage, especially if there are so many other candidates sending in their applications.
Use only relevant information
When you see a job notice, don’t just rush to send in the same CV you used to apply for the previous job. Read the notice again, taking note of their requirements and go back to your CV. Ask yourself, “which of these are relevant to this job, and which are not?” Then take out that which is not relevant. You also want to add anything that has changed since the last time you used the CV. One thing that is certain to change (that many job seekers ironically forget to change) is the Career/ Personal Objectives section. Every new job role will demand that you have a career objective that matches it. Sometimes you receive a CV for a position in banking whose personal objective is to excel in an engineering role. Don’t let this be you.
Choose a clean and attractive format
Format is key in the drafting of a CV. Font type, size, spacing, etc. are all important factors to consider. Choose an attractive, readable font such as Cambria or Calibri. Font sizes from 12 -14 may be ideal as they are neither too small nor too big. You also want to have an intentional and consistent mix of bold, italics and normal font effects. Let this be uniform, for example, bold for headings, italics for examples, etc. Do not use them haphazardly. And importantly, remember to space your work cleanly and use bullets (or list) where appropriate to make it easy on the eye.
I believe this is clear enough. Do not add things that are not true just to paint a certain picture of yourself. You will eventually be found out. And you certainly do not want to copy and paste information from the internet that is not consistent with the truth. Again, don’t lie.
Proofread, again and again
Is this the correct spelling of CV? No, it isn’t but it’s just one of the many silly avoidable errors you see on CVs all the time. You don’t want a recruiter not taking you seriously just because you made some mistakes. Take your time to review your precious CV and correct all petty mistakes. Remember this could be the bridge between you and your dream job. Don’t take it for granted. If you are not able to do this well, you can ask a friend or someone in HR to look at it for you.
That’s about it. We will be back next time with more information on writing that great Cover Letter.