When writing a CV (Curriculum Vitae), one should stick to the motto “less is more.” A CV should contain key items that will keep the attention of someone reading it on the information that will help you get a job. A CV should not exceed two pages, and it would be ideal if all data could fit one. You can use templates that divide information into sections so that your presentation to your future employer is clear and space is fully used.
Spatially, we can imagine a CV as a studio apartment – it should be functional, so, it should only contain the most important elements, and then, it should be neat so that one can easily go through it. A CV should be regularly cleaned of information that is no longer relevant but creates unnecessary jams. For example, if you are a student looking for your first job, it is OK to explain different volunteer experiences and numerous conferences that you have participated in, but if you have already had several years of experience, you can omit information about seminars that are not closely associated with the position you apply for.
The most important elements of a CV are personal/contact data, education, work experience, foreign languages, and computer knowledge. All of this should only be specified if it adds to your values and makes you a desirable candidate given the criteria specified in a job description.
The CV design itself should contribute to its functionality: try to reduce data and do not go away from the essence. When choosing a font, make sure that it is easy to read and professional, and to make content understandable, use bullets instead of long sentences.
In an introduction, next to your name and surname, be sure to provide your contact phone and email address, in a visible place, where it will be easily accessible. Since job interviews are confidential, it would be best to leave your mobile phone number so that someone in the HR sector can contact you directly, not someone from at your home or a colleague. An email address should be professional (firstname.lastname@example.org) so that you make a good impression.
If you decide to enrich your work biography with a photo, then let it be as recent and faithful as possible so that you can be easily remembered through a selection process later. Photos with other people, pets, or from different events, or nightlife, should not be found in a CV.
You may omit information about your residence address, date of birth, citizenship (if you are not a foreign citizen) because it is not of crucial importance. When previewing a CV, a recruiter wants to establish whether you meet job criteria, or whether you have the necessary knowledge and experience. If you do, they will invite you to an interview where you can discuss whether an address of your residence may have any impact on your arrival at a workplace.
Data on marital status, children, served military time and similar personal information should also be avoided because it is not important in the selection process, and you can better use that space to list your skills and professional achievements.
Working experience is a vital item of this document and therefore, should take most of the space. When specifying your work experiences, put them in reverse order – one by one, specify working experiences from the most recent experience till the last one. Try to make all items clean and meaningful: feel free to bold job titles and employers’ names so they could be easy to identify, and specify locations only if you worked in different cities or countries. Be sure to specify dates – a month and year as a period when you worked so that a recruiter would have a clear insight into duration and chronology of your employment.
For each job that you think is relevant to a position that you apply for, specify responsibilities and achievements in a few items, mainly if a lot of the tasks you have performed are not contained in the name of a position you worked at. Highlight the most important topics so that you do not go unnoticed and to emphasize that you have the qualities that distinguish you from other candidates.
If you have no experience, use this space to talk about the relationship between your interests and skills with the required criteria for a specific position. Also, be sure to specify internships you attended during your schooling, student jobs, and your participation in seminars to better present your commitment and motivation to your future employer.
When specifying education, you should also stick to reverse chronologies, i.e., specify first the highest education title you have acquired. Elementary school data is not relevant since it is mandatory and the same for everyone. You can omit high school data if you have studied, especially if you have been on master or doctoral studies. Graduates should specify a vocation title they have acquired, but an average grade often does not affect a selection process, so you do not have to put it, although it can be a good indicator of your commitment if it is a high one.
Foreign languages section does not have to take too much space because it is not necessary to break each language to write/read/understand sections, it is sufficient to specify the approximate level of your knowledge. If you have a certificate, it is always a good idea to specify that as an additional confirmation.
Computer skills is also an item that deserves space in your resume, and you can describe knowledge of each specified program similar to a level of languages you speak — from basic to advanced.
Although hobbies and interests speak a lot about personality, it is not necessary to specify them. In the next round of selection, an interviewer will ask you more about that to get to know you better. They will also ask you questions about the characteristics that are desirable for a particular position, and you do not have to spend space to list attributes that are already listed in a job ad.
Specify having a driver’s license only if a job ad says that it is a requirement to fulfil your work duties, although it is not a bad idea if you leave it in a CV anyway.
When the text of a job ad is published in a foreign language, always attach a version of a CV in the same language. Before sending, check the full text that you are sending, because typos or grammatical errors make a bad impression. If you believe that you are a person who pays attention to details, this is a great way to show it in action. Because of different versions of a program, fonts may change, or a picture and rows could mix, so in the end, be sure to save the document as a PDF file to avoid this and make sure that it reaches an employer looking the same as on your computer.
Finally, a CV should be your personal hallmark. Although there are finished templates (European Form and similar), it is still advised to use only the structure, but to choose your own font, detailed descriptions of duties on previous jobs, and the entire visual design. In this way, your computer skills could be seen, as well as your effort and initiative. Do your best when preparing your CV, it is your ticket to get a job!