RichBest has experience writing professional CVs and enjoys sharing their tips with others.
Your resume, or curriculum vitae (CV), can be considered as an advertisement that will, or will not, sell you to a potential employer. It is the key element that has the potential—if done right—to unlock the doors to multiple interviews, which might result in your securing the job you have always dreamt of. This is why it is important for you to know how to write a good CV that stands out among your competitors. After all, you might not be the only person that is looking forward to securing your dream job. So, here are the things you need to do, in an orderly fashion, to arrange a good CV.
How to Start Your CV
First, don’t write ‘Curriculum Vitae’, ‘CV’ or ‘Resume’ as the title of your CV. As a matter of fact, you don’t even need a title at all. A potential employer knows clearly that it is a CV. Come on, what else can it be? You are trying to apply for a job!
Your Personal Details
What you need to write first instead are your personal details. However, make sure you leave out unnecessary information such as the name of your parents or your e-mail address – especially if it sounds rather unprofessional. Instead, write your name, date of birth, home address, telephone and nationality. To make it clearer, look at the following example (please keep in mind that all data in the examples provided here are imaginative and does not necessarily reflect actual data):
Name: John McGregory
Date of Birth: August 1, 1981
Address: 51 Vermont Road
Telephone: 033 1234 5678
Note: You can use subheadings for each section, as shown in the examples.
Your Education and Qualifications
After personal details, what you should let your potential employer know about yourself are your education and qualifications. You should write your most recent education first. Note that your potential employer is likely to be more interested in your college and university qualifications rather than your achievements at school. However, keep in mind that you can still include your achievements during your school years, it’s just that they are not usually the top priority. When you are trying to provide information on your education and qualifications, you should include the dates you took your education, the name of university or school you were in, and the degree or grades you have achieved. If you have not graduated from university yet, you can write the degree you are expecting to achieve.
To get a better idea of writing your education and qualifications, look at the following example:
1995 – 1998
ABC University, ABCTown
BA in Informatics Engineering
1992 – 1995
Prestige Senior School
Your Work Experience
Now, it is time for you to provide information on your work experience. This often becomes the main focus of most potential employers before deciding whether or not to recruit you. Apparently, the more relevant your work experience is with the job you are applying for, the better your opportunity is to become a part of the company you are applying to.
In writing about your work experience, don’t forget to include the dates you were employed, your job title, and your employer’s name. Also, if you are writing an international application letter, say clearly in which country you were employed.
Sometimes, you might not really have the required work experiences that are relevant with the job you are applying for. However, do not be desperate at once. There are actually countless graduates that are in a similar case as you are but they still manage to secure their dream job. What they usually do is that they capitalize on the skills and experiences they have. Note that most employers will normally try to see how your skills and experiences link up with job requirements. To do that, employers will have to pay attention to your skills and experiences and this might as well improve your chances of being granted access to the company.
Here are also a few things you can do to improve your chances even more:
- Know where to target your CV; carefully look over the requirements of the job you are applying for. Whenever possible, in your resume or CV, mention your skills that are relevant to the job you are applying for.
- Be ready to prove your claims; be honest. If you cannot really do something, refrain from saying that you can do it. For example, if you don’t think you’ve got good communication skills, don’t write so. Yet, if you’ve got good communication skills indeed, you can try to inform the potential employers how you have used that skills of yours effectively in order to finish something.
- Reveal your contributions; a better idea compared to simply listing the duties in your previous work experiences is to demonstrate the success you have achieved, if any, in your previous jobs. Whenever possible, provide measurable information. For example, it is better to say, “established a new marketing plan that resulted in a 75% increase in the company’s product sales” than to say, “established a new marketing plan.”
To make it clearer, here is an example:
1995 – 1998
John’s Diner & Café, XX Town
Assistant Bar Manager
I supervised 5 staff members and created promotional events that increased the company’s profits by 20% during my employment period in the company.
For certain job positions such as professors, physicians, or researchers, it is wise to include specialist experience. For an example, professors may provide information such as ‘Foreign Lecturing’, ‘Teaching Experience’, ‘Lectures and Presentations’, and so forth. Here is an example:
1998 – 1999
Overseas University, ABC Country
I was in charge of giving lectures on the subjects of ‘Information Technology Project Management’, ‘Software Engineering’, and ‘Engineering Economics’.
Activities/Interests/Positions of Responsibility
Now, at this stage, you need to write about your activities, interests, or positions of responsibility. Keep in mind that it is important to reveal activities you were once involved in. This will tell potential employers that you are a well-rounded individual and that you have motivations to do things.
In addition to that, it is also a good idea to reveal your positions of responsibility in extra-curricular activities you once joined. For example, if you were once involved significantly in a Student Union, say you were the chairman of the organization, you should say that as it might cause potential employers to consider accepting you more. However, make sure that you do not simply write a list of your interests. Instead, make sure that you reveal how deep you were involved and what achievements you had gained.
Here comes the example:
Positions of Responsibility
1996 – 1998
ABC University, ABCTown
Chairman of Informatics Engineering Student Union
I was in charge of training, organizing and also motivating Informatics Engineering students and achieved the predicate ‘Recommendable Chairman of Informatics Engineering Student Union’.
Lastly, you can put some additional information about yourself as well. For example, you can put the languages you know here. Say your native language along with any foreign languages you know. Also, include your proficiency level for each of the languages you know.
Besides languages, you can also write other skills you have that you have not mentioned yet anywhere else in your resume or CV. For example, you can include your driver’s license and IT skills. In case of IT skills, you need to reveal what applications or software packages you are familiar with and how good you are at each of them. Also, if you have any certificates, such as Health and Safety, list them here.
Then, if you once attended any seminars, workshops, or conferences that are somehow relevant to the job you are applying for, you can also include them here. Don’t forget to write the conference names, dates, places and also organizers.
Take a look at this example to get a better picture:
English – Proficient
Japanese – Proficient
Microsoft Visual Basic – Proficient
Microsoft Office Package – Proficient
Adobe Photoshop – Proficient
Last but not least, you can write down people who can refer you to your new potential employers. Of course, you should ask for the permissions from these people first before writing their names down as referees. In most cases, 2 referees are enough, 1 from the academy you once studied in and the other could be your previous employer. Upon their approval, you can write down their names as referees along with their reachable phone numbers and positions.
However, if you run out of spaces in your CV, you can simply write “References available on request” instead. Here is an example:
References available on request
Other CV Tips
Here are some other tips that might as well help improve the chances of your job application getting accepted. First, try not to write more than 2 pages of CV as employers do not usually have the time to go through them all. Secondly, always use a good quality piece of paper to type your CV on.
Keep in mind as well that prefacing your CV with a somehow descriptive statement is not really a good idea. For example, do not write “An enthusiast, well educated, that will change the history of informatics engineering” or anything similar. In fact, do not write such things at all. You should instead let the potential employers themselves judge your capabilities.
Another tip is to use page numbers on your CV. Yes, they might seem to be little details but they might impress your potential employers.
Now that you know how to write and arrange a good CV or resume, you can start submitting your CV to companies and see what chances await you. Oh, one more thing, you may also want to submit your CV to CV directories online. There are numerous directories online that will help submit your CV so that it becomes accessible to numerous companies worldwide. Who knows what chances await you?
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Georgia Lyons on March 20, 2019:
Sheriff Nelson-Nai on December 19, 2018:
This helped me land a good job...thanks
munga on December 07, 2016:
hi, great tips on CV writing.
shoaib4d on April 17, 2016:
I think one should try the great interactive tool to create cv http://realtimecv.com/cvdetails
RichBest (author) on July 03, 2015:
@nkem kindness Can you do freelance writing? It's online work that you can do from home. However, you need to pay attention to quality and deadline. If you can, confirm to me at rchslly9899 (at) gmail (dot) com.
nkem kindness on July 02, 2015:
please I am a fresh graudate I needed job at least to make my people proud after traning me in school.
UHUEGBU SAMPSON C. on June 17, 2012:
I,m a nigerian graduate.please can you offer me a job.i,m the breadwinner and the hope of my family.thanks,and God bless you.+2348064524404,+email@example.com
RichBest (author) on July 13, 2011:
Hello there, Simone Smith, thanks for your vote, I find it pleasant that you find the tips above useful. :) Shall be back with other tips. :)
Simone Haruko Smith from San Francisco on July 12, 2011:
Great tips, RichBest. I really prefer CVs to resumes- they're so much better at getting all one's achievements in! Voted up and useful.
RichBest (author) on July 11, 2011:
Hey there Denise Handlon, thanks for your vote and bookmark, I'm glad you found this information useful. :)
Denise Handlon from North Carolina on July 10, 2011:
Just in time for those who are currently unemployed and needing that extra info to help present themselves to the company...thanks. Great information and usefulness. Voted it up and bookmarked for future reference.