Writing the perfect CV can be a nerve-racking and time-consuming endeavor. This is more so especially if you’re unsure where to start or what to include. However, with a little preparation, you can ensure your final CV is its possible best.
Whether you’re planning to use a CV-writing service or giving it a go on your own, it’s important to take some time out for it first. After all, your CV will only be as good as the information you put in.
Read through this guide and become a CV-writing pro!
Although it may seem pointless to note, there are certain factors that must be taken into account when writing your contact information on your CV.
Choose a professional email address and phone number to include so that your CV looks legitimate. And more importantly, you look legitimate. This also has a plus. I recommend creating a separate email address with your name solely for your career. Also keep a cell phone number dedicated to this very purpose. You will not get confused between work-related and non-work people anymore.
It is no longer necessary to indicate the number of your property and your civic address on your CV. Include country if only you’re applying for internships/jobs abroad. In addition, do not include your marital status or date of birth, these personal details are not needed; your employer can ask you about them during your interview.
Your Online Presence
Did you know that 70% of employers will search your profiles online before deciding whether to interview you according to CareerBuilders’s survey? Save time and make sure they find the most appropriate profile to improve your employability by including the links that matter most to your work on your CV. More likely, this will include your LinkedIn profile, your personal website, or your online portfolio.
If you have avoided creating a LinkedIn profile so far, it’s time to bite that bullet. You can also learn how to write the ideal LinkedIn profile for your job search before adding it to your CV. If you’ve already created a profile on LinkedIn, update its information to your new CV and personalize the URL for your public profile.
If your work requires social media expertise, you can also include links to these relevant accounts. Before deciding which links are at the top of your CV, make sure the content of each is professional, work-related, and up-to-date.
Remember that your online presence must complement your CV and support your career goals; not sabotage them.
Do Your Research
A perfect CV is carefully written with a specific internship/ job target in mind. If you have not yet defined your career goals, now is the time to do so.
Once you have set your goals, search online for at least three job postings that match the type of job you are targeting. The location of each job posting is not important; for the purposes of this exercise, all you need to do is worry about the job description and its requirements.
Then copy and paste the text of each job into a Word or Google Document and highlight or embolden the phrases in the list describing your experience and skills. This will help you identify the needed qualifications that should be prominently listed.
Make a list of all the tools and softwares that you’re a pro at in your field of study and that are relevant to your current job/ internship search. This list should include anything from programming languages such as Java and Python to softwares like AutoCAD, SolidWorks, Photoshop, MS Office Pack et cetera. If you are multilingual, be sure to list each language you speak and your level of proficiency (for example, basic, proficient, native speaker, etc.) underneath each. Indicate a foreign language on your CV only if you feel comfortable speaking that language at work or during the interview process.
You can always improve skills and learn new ones through websites such as edX or Coursera for free or low-cost online courses, or browse YouTube for educational videos.
List all the positions you have held in the last years. Start with your most recent post and goback. If you recently graduated from university, indicate your internships and the jobs you held during your studies or college. For each position, note the following information:
- Employee info: Indicate the name of the organization, the URL of its website if possible, and the place (city/country).
- Dates: Include the months and the years. You or your professional CV write might not prefer doing this, but it is good to have this information in order to make an informed decision.
- Responsibilities: Describe your daily tasks and responsibilities. Include details such as the number of people you supervised or led or the territories you have covered et cetera.
- Achievements: This should cover your added value or any quantified work such as reduction in costs, generation in sales, projects completed.
If you’re a freelancer, you can showcase your freelancing experience as an employment position and pick the best projects you did with the best clients as references.
Also, as a needed plus, read this article to find how you can find a job with no job experience.
Have you been actively volunteering with a non-profit/student organization or an association?
List any volunteer work that you have done in reverse chronological order. Write down the name of the organization and the URL of its website, the positions you have held, your years of involvement, your responsibilities, and your non-profit contributions.
If you don’t have volunteering experience, AIESEC can help you with that through its Global Volunteer program. Give us a go.
Write down all your academic qualifications starting with your last degree.
Indicate the institution, its location, the name of your degree, your field of study, your graduation year, and the honors associated with the degree. If the list is long enough, you may decide to mention only that which is the most relevant to your current career goals.
Add the same details for any relevant certifications you have obtained or for additional training opportunities you have done since you graduated from university.
Avoid the 5 Most Common CV Errors
- Don’t put Curriculum Vitae or CV as titles, put instead of that your name in the head.
- Don’t make it general; modify and tailor your CV for each application according to the job description.
- The photo is not obligatory unless you apply in certain areas such as (Airways companies, Media and fashion industry, hospitality where your physical appearance takes part in the selection process. So don’t put it up unless required. If it is, then put up a front-facing professional picture like that on your passport.
- Always use reverse chronological order and start with the most recent information.
- Proofread, proofread and proofread. Avoid spelling and grammar errors.
YOU CANNOT WRITE A PERFECT CV WITHOUT A LITTLE WORK.
EVEN THOUGH THIS PREPARATION MAY SEEM LIKE A TIRING TASK, TAKING THE TIME TO REVIEW YOUR CAREER NOW, YOU WILL SEE THE BENEFITS IN YOUR FUTURE CV.
So what’s next? After writing a CV you can start your global career with AIESEC. All what you have to do is to sign up at aiesec.org. Fill your profile information, upload your CV, and start applying for internship opportunities in startups and companies around the world.
Please don’t hesitate to put your questions and feedbacks about this article in the comments.