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Today, I’m going to discuss CV writing. Originating from Latin, the full term is Curriculum Vitae, which means a course of life. And in the course of life, you are going to need a CV when you apply for jobs. It is the gateway to a successful career and in turn, a fulfilling life. Often people face rejection and disappointment where they get no interview calls despite applying to jobs. This usually means someone more qualified or well-connected has been hired. But one primary reason for this could be that you don’t ‘sell’ yourself very well. Which means that you don’t know how to market your skills. You have a poorly formatted CV with grammatical and factual inaccuracies. But not to worry, I’ll break down the CV writing process step by step for you.
Stick to basics
Don’t look up CVs of people with decades of experience and degrees from Ivy League institutions. This is not the time to be ambitiously over the top. Chances are, you are going to be overwhelmed with the pages upon pages of qualifications and credentials. Remember the basic format of a CV: a header, personal profile, work experience, education, skills and additional sections. And then, you can work with these to customise CV according to your skills and qualifications.
This is not the season to be quirky
When it comes to fonts, choose something legible. The perk of choosing fonts like Calibri, Arial and Georgia is that they are time trusted and simple. Your font shouldn’t have so many curves or curls that it is difficult to make out. Moreover, it’ll make a wrong first impression as most employers spend only six seconds looking at a resume, according to researchers. If you don’t make their job convenient, they are not likely to give you much of their time.
Whatever format you choose for your resume, please follow it throughout. As someone who has looked through hundreds of CVs, nothing irks me more than sloppy formatting. In CV writing, people may use different fonts in one section and then change their formatting style in the next. Ensure margins and fonts are the same throughout. Use the same font size everywhere, except for bold headlines and section titles. Also, use the same date format throughout. Not only will that look professional, but it will also make it easier for recruiters to skim through your profile. Win-win.
Work on a good profile section
Would you want to hire someone who writes “wants to work in a thriving environment where I can test my skills” Ugh! So often people fall back on those dreadful sentences. The question is, why wouldn’t you spend time curating a good objectives section when you’ve done the same for other sections? This part isn’t as much about what you want, but what you can offer to a company. You should market your skills and experience to convince recruiters that you are an ideal candidate for the job. A much better example would be “technical writer with 7+ years of experience in content management agencies. Have led a team of content writers to create SEO centred content for digital brands. Want to bring my analytical skills and language proficiency to Healthy Links”.
Keep your work section relevant
I never tire of telling people this. Tailor your CV to suit the job you are applying for and its requirements. Don’t make one resume and send it to every company under the sun. No, you do not need to list your experience as a voice-over artist when you are applying for the role of a content creator. This is not a university panel that you are trying to impress. They need to know how your experience is relevant to the position they have open. Read the job description carefully and identify which skills you will need. And if you have experience performing similar tasks, list them even if they were secondary roles. And while we’re at it, there’s nothing wrong with having a brief, concise and to the point resume. Not having a four-page long CV doesn’t mean you are any less eligible for the job.
Now before I forget, list your contact details correctly, so employers don’t end up ringing someone else. Make sure you give a phone number you have with you at all times. Other details include your email, residential address, professional title and LinkedIn profiles. If you have a relevant blog or portfolio website, that’d be a great addition as well.
At the end of the day, if you feel overwhelmed with the process, remember that professional CV writing services are just a few clicks away.