How to Write a CV: Step-by-Step Guide to Writing A Successful CV

How to write a CV? A well-written CV is a vital part of the job-hunting process and can often be the difference between a position and a rejection. There are many different components that contribute to a CV and they are outlined in this step-by-step guide to successful CV writing.

CV

What Is a CV?

CV stands for Curriculum Vitae. It is a document highlighting an applicant’s academic and professional history to convince an employer that they would be a valuable employee. The CV should tell your potential employer all about your education, your qualifications, and any skills you have that make you a prime candidate for the job. You can also include a small section about your personal life, but anything on the CV should be relevant to the position or industry you are applying for. You must include all of your contact information as well so that the employer can get in touch with you regarding their decision.

Difference between a CV and a Resume

A CV is a more extensive document than a resume, so you can include more about yourself and your accomplishments to appeal to the employer in a CV. A resume is typically only a page or two, whereas a CV can be any number of pages.

While you can choose to tailor a CV specifically to the position you are applying for, that is more commonly done with a resume. This is because there is an unlimited amount of information that can be included in a CV, so your skills will always wind up being relevant to any job you apply for because you can mention everything you have learned, but a resume is limited, so it is best to customize it more heavily for different positions.

A CV also has a less flexible structure because each category should be chronological to show your professional and academic progression. As a resume is more concise, the relevant skills, jobs, and achievements can be organized however the applicant thinks is best. Sometimes in a resume, it makes more sense to forgo the categorization and strict formatting that is common with a CV. For instance, you could mention important skills with the job you learned them at to demonstrate progression from your academic background.

How to Write a CV

Guide to Writing A Successful CV

Though there isn’t a length limit for a CV, it is better to not make your application too extensive so that your potential employer can quickly get a feel for if you are the right candidate for the job. It is essential that you get straight to the point by introducing yourself in a short personal profile and explaining what you could bring to the job. Similarly, you should have your personal details visible right at the top of your CV and provide several means of contact, primarily an email address and a telephone number.

Then, you can move on to explaining your employment and academic history in their own sections. It is recommended to have a separate section where you bullet points your skills as well, but just list them and then go into depth about them when talking about your previous jobs and education to demonstrate how everything ties together to make you the perfect candidate.

You should only mention things that are relevant to your application on the CV, so focus on outlining everything that made you feel ready to apply for the position and use this document as a way to show your potential employer the type of employee you would be.

Tips on Writing a Successful CV

Do not make your document too confusing because that can cause important information to be skipped over. Instead, separate the different components of the CV into their own sections with a noticeable bold heading. While your personal profile is a short introductory paragraph, you should write out all the other sections in bullet points. This makes it easier for employers to scan your CV as they don’t have to trawl through long chunks of text. You can include as many bullet points as you think is relevant for each section, but try to avoid repeating yourself or mentioning pointless extra information.

Everything about your CV should sell you as a prospective candidate for the job, so only mention things like hobbies or your personal life if they are relevant, otherwise, you are just extending your CV for the sake of it. And never lie on your CV because employers will almost definitely catch you out at a later date. A starter CV will obviously be a lot shorter than the CV of an older, more experienced candidate, but don’t let that put you off.

The only way to build your CV is to apply for more jobs and get more work experience. For graduate positions, your academic history and recent degree will likely be the most important aspects of your CV, so make sure you link in the skills you learned while studying to prepare you for the professional world.

How to Write a CV | Sample CV

Below is a sample CV layout. It demonstrates one way you could format your CV so that everything is neatly organized and easily visible to the employer. It is up to you to decide the formatting style you prefer, but creating sections in a CV, whether through the use of subheadings or separate boxes, is essential for giving your document a cohesive structure.

YOUR FULL NAME

ADDRESS

MOBILE NUMBER

EMAIL ADDRESS

Profile

  • Who are you?
  • Why should you be considered for this job?

SKILLS

List here your most relevant skills as bullet points

WORK

Start date- End date of your first job

Position, Company name, Location

  • Bullet point list of all the relevant skills you learned from this job.

Start date- End date of your second job

Position, Company name, Location

  • Bullet point list of all the relevant skills you learned from this job.

Also include any relevant work experience or volunteering that you feel has helped you prepare for the job you are applying for, even if it was unpaid work.

EDUCATION

Date of your first set of qualifications

Qualification Title

Institution you studied at, Location

What grade(s) did you achieve? You can specify the most relevant ones, such as achieving an A in Mathematics if the position you are applying for requires mathematical skills.

Date of your second set of qualifications

Qualification Title

Institution you studied at, Location

What grade(s) did you achieve?

Date of your third set of qualifications

Qualification Title

Institution you studied at, Location

What grade(s) did you achieve?

How to Write a CV | Sample CV

How to Write a CV | Sample CVPin

Conclusion

Always keep in mind that your CV could very well be the key to securing a job because it is your opportunity to distinguish yourself from other applicants and market yourself before you even meet the employer. Go over your CV multiple times and also have friends and family members look at it to ensure that there are no spelling or grammatical errors because those will cause employers to immediately disregard your application.

You must appear professional, skilled, and eager to advance what you have already learned at your previous jobs and during your education. Think of the CV as your introduction to the employer because it will make more of an impact on them than any subsequent job interviews and a well-written CV is the key to professional success.

How to Write a CV | Infographic

How to Write a CV

How to Write a CVPin

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