Creating your CV is the first step to getting a job. If it is your first time writing a CV, this article is going to help you learn how to do it step-by-step, providing some basic guidelines to CV writing as well as what needs to be included.
Before you begin writing your first CV check the following tips to help you get started:
#1 Choose the type of CV you want
Before you do anything, you should decide what type of CV you want. You can choose the chronological, functional format or a combination of these two types to construct your CV.
- Chronological: this is the most traditional CV format that lists your work experience or previous employment in the order that took place.
- Functional: this is the CV format that lists your experiences or knowledge according to a specific skill. This format is great if you are considering a career change and you don’t have enough related work experience as it displays your functional skills first.
- The combination of chronological and functional formats works better when you are applying for multiple jobs.
#2 Cover all important information about you
Normally you would need to create 5 or 6 sections on your CV to provide a structure on the document. You should include your contact details, personal summary, qualifications, previous employment or work experience, skills/competencies, interests or hobbies and references.
Let’s see what each section should include:
- Contact Details: include your name, address, date of birth, mobile phone number and email address.
- Personal summary: refer to your career objectives and relevant skills/knowledge needed in the field. This is important as it is the first thing employers see on your CV when searching for keywords relevant to the job.
- Qualifications: list all your qualifications in order starting from the one you obtained most recently. Refer to educational institutes you graduated from and dates of duration e.g. September 2003 to May 2006.
- Work Experience: refer to your previous experience again starting from the most recent and relevant to the position. List the companies you worked for in the past as well as dates of employment.
- Key Competencies: refer to key job-specific skills needed and transferable skills including teamwork, leadership, public speaking, communication skills, etc.
- Interests/Hobbies: refer to your interests and hobbies such as reading books, writing, travelling, playing music, exercising.
- References: provide the contact details of at least two referees at the very end.
#3 Make it professional
When you start writing up the content make sure that your CV is as professionally written as possible. Use action verbs to describe yourself and skills and avoid words that have less impact such as “did”. Some good words to use include “administered”, “proposed”, “clarified”, “conducted” and “adapted”. Also, as far as the overall appearance is concerned, use an appropriate font such as Arial or Times New Roman, 11 or 12 font sizes and try not to make your CV look too colourful.
#4 Include volunteering experiences where appropriate
In order to show employers you have all the necessary skills and knowledge to fill the position you have to go a bit further. Think about what you did as a university or college student. Were you involved with any volunteering opportunities relevant to the job role one way or another? Better yet, have you acquired any skills that might apply to the jobs you are seeking? Don’t forget to include this information in your CV as it will make you more valuable to the company.
#5 Check your CV
Once you have finished writing, go over your CV again and proofread the document in order to make sure it is clear and concise (up to 2 pages) and that it makes sense; it has no spelling or grammatical errors and that it is targeted to the position(s) you are applying for.
Hopefully, these 5 tips gave you an idea of what should be included in your first CV and how to get started. So, after writing your CV you are going to need a strong cover letter!