No two Curriculum Vitae (CV) are the same and as such, there is no one fixed way to approach this often dreaded task. Perhaps then, this is why our candidates often describe creating a great CV as a challenge. At WRS, our consultants understand the industry specific detail required for creating a CV that will get you noticed. We have used our experience to create a short guide, designed to help you through the CV creation process. Our guide offers tips that will help you write engaging content and create a professional looking format. By the end of this article you should feel confident that you are able to create a CV that will stand out - and for all the right reasons!
Make sure that your CV is up-to-date
Whether you are looking for a new job or not, it’s good practice to regularly review and update your CV. By taking this simple advice, you should never miss out on any opportunities to progress your career. Remember, a great CV is a highly effective marketing tool, allowing you to advertise all your key skills and experience to a prospective employer. A good CV should always include:
An accurate overview of your professional history
Some information that describes your future career goals and aspirations
Create a great first impression
Before you begin to write your content, take some time to think about the layout and format of your CV. An employer will be looking for a document that is accurate, clear and easy to read. By choosing one font and applying this to the entire document you will avoid making the page look busy and over complicated. We suggest using one font size for your body copy and another, slightly larger font for your headings. To highlight key information you can embolden or underline the information, just make sure that you choose just one method and be consistent throughout the document.
Accuracy is absolutely vital to the professionalism of your CV – this document is your first chance to make a great impression. Don’t let yourself down by failing to spot and remove any spelling or grammatical errors!
Keep your CV relevant and the information concise
Whilst we appreciate that CVs will vary in length, depending on the level of your experience, it is important that you keep any information included relevant and concise. How you prioritise the information within your CV is critical for engaging a reader, the following points outline the key sections and information which every employer is going to look for in a quick scan of your CV, and how you should approach writing the content for them.
1.Name, contacts and personal information
This sounds like a ‘no brainer’ but you would be surprised at how many CVs are missing these vital details. Any languages spoken and level of fluency is useful information to include here too.
The key word here is summary! This section should contain a ‘brief’ overview of your career to-date, including your specialties, countries worked in, environments worked in etc. You can incorporate further detail and specifics within later sections of the CV.
This section is at the top of your CV to give you the opportunity to showcase your key career highlights so far. Make sure that you tailor these as closely to the specific role that you are applying for as possible.
This is arguably the most crucial part of the CV. It is imperative that the layout and content you include is accurate, up-to-date and correct. The aim here is to allow the reader to review your work experience quickly, allowing them to find out everything that they need to know in a glance.
Start with your most recent role at the top of this section and work backwards in date order. Dependent on your individual employment history, you should only need to include details of the last 10 years - this is likely to include roles that are most relevant to the role for which you are applying.
Each role should be introduced with the follow information (an example is provided below):
Dates of employment
Operation or project worked on
Location (province and country)
Brief description of the company/project
Clear and concise bullet points covering duties/responsibilities – some good information to include here is, who you reported to / number of direct and indirect reports.
Mar 2008-Apr 2010Company: ABC Engineering
Title: Senior Planning Engineer
Location: London, UK
ABC Engineering is one of the world’s leading producers with a total plant capacity of 100MTPA. The ABC operation was one of four Greenfield projects which was in it’s second year of production during my time there.
Duties and responsibilities
•Reporting to Chief Planning Engineer with my direct reports including the five Lead Planning Engineers and a further 10 indirect reports.
Depending on the type of work you do, you may have been involved and have played a critical part in a certain stage/s of a project. If this is the case, it is always useful to have a separate section for the different projects you have been a part of. In each project, it is advantageous to include details such as:
Name of the role or project and the company name
What were your responsibilities?
What was the outcome upon completion of your participation
Any qualifications listed should include the information outlined below:
Level of degree (Bachelors, B-Tech, Higher Diploma)
Subject matter which was covered by the degree or course
University or institution from which the qualification was obtained
Year the degree was obtained (the total years spent gaining the qualification is also useful for the reader – for example 1999-2003)
Some of these may not seem important to you, but for an employer this can be key. Where roles require a specific qualification or education level, the company may request a vocation specific degree. For example, for an engineering or maintenance position, the company may request either a mechanical or electrical background as a preference.
This is of course optional and for those that don’t want to reveal any names or contact details in the first instance, it’s always useful to state that this can be provided upon request. This way, the reader knows you are willing to provide references when the time is right. However, if you do decide to include this information, you should provide the following details:
The company at which you worked together
Job title of the referee
You should aim for your CV to be no more than three pages long. If you feel you can’t do yourself justice in just three pages, consider adding a line in your CV to explain that you will be happy to go into further detail or answer any questions that your reader may have. When you are working on your CV, it’s important to remember that this document is your chance to make a great first impression on a prospective employer. Keep your CV and the information within it relevant, concise, accurate and clear. If you follow these simple tips, you should find creating a great CV easy!