In my previous article, 5 mistakes made on a CV, I highlighted some important points that you should avoid, if possible when writing a CV. This article will address how to write a good CV in order to make it stand out and utilise the best CV design.
1. CV Design
The first step to creating an effective CV template is to choose the right CV design. Make sure to choose one that suits your industry, showcases your personality and reflects your skills.
2. Personal Information
Every CV sample should include some personal information, most importantly your name, address, email and contact number. Anything else should be omitted i.e. age, date of birth etc, unless otherwise stated. If you are younger than 18, you MUST include your date of birth.
3. Personal Statement
This is a short summary outlining your ability as a professional. It will highlight some key projects that you were involved with, some outstanding contributions that you made and generally an outline of skills that you achieved during your work experience. Be sure to avoid phrases like: “Award winning national sales manager looking for a challenging work environment…” and other phrases of self praise. Include statements more like: “Proven success directing and managing projects within data center computing infrastructure and other areas which resulted in a combined saving of 3.4 million”. Be sure to SHOW not TELL in your summary.
4. Areas of Expertise/Skills
Make sure to list at least 10 areas of expertise and skills in your CV template. Place them into a table format and have them bullet pointed to allow the reader skim them quickly. Try and avoid soft skills like “Good Communicator” or “Team Player” and include hard skills like “Negotiation”, “Team Management” and “Process Engineering”.
5. Work Experience/Professional Experience
This is where you list your complete work experience. Be sure to write the duties in alignment with the industry that you are applying to. Include specific buzzwords to grab the employer’s attention. Not only will it show that you are familiar with the industry, it also shows that you are in tune with the work you want to apply for. Make it attractive with bullet points but DON’T include experience that is more than 10-15 years old. You can add them as a career note if you wish, or relate the employer to your LinkedIn profile.
6. Education & Certifications/Education & Training
In this section, you don’t need to list all the education that you have completed. If you have a Third Level Degree only include that in this section. Employers don’t need to know about your secondary school education. If you didn’t go to University but completed FETAC, PLC or FAS courses include them here. In addition, if you completed ANY training relevant to your profession include that here too. But try not to go too far back. Training that is older than 10 years is not relevant and should be omitted. If you are a member of any professional organisation, completed specific exams etc., include them in this section too.
7. Additional Information (Optional)
Depending on the industry that you are applying to or the geographical location, you can include these sections into your CV template:
- Languages & Proficiency
- Technical Proficiency (for IT related jobs) i.e. Protocols, Programming Languages, Operating Systems, Software and Hardware etc.
- Voluntary Experience
- References (This is usually a section included in Ireland and UK. You can simply put: “References Available On Request”)
If you follow these steps, you would have effectively designed a CV that is perfect for you. Some points to remember is that a CV should not be longer than 2 pages. You can space the content to make it more appealing to the reader if you find yourself over 2 pages. Having 1 page is also acceptable but should still have all the necessary information.
Don’t be afraid to format your CV template as much as you want. You can add colour, columns, tables etc. as long as it has the necessary industry buzzwords.