Friday, May 14, 2021

How to Write a CV (CV Writing Guidelines and Tips)

CV Writing among the most searched words on search engines the reason behind this is its great importance in our daily life. Ever get stuck while writing a CV as a student? If yes, then no worries. We are here to help you. Your confusion gets cleared after reading this article. We would cover all the aspects of writing a perfect CV in the following article.

What is a CV?

“Curriculum Vitae” is a full form that goes for CV. All of you aware that CV is essential for jobs. It provides employers your detailed educational and working history. You summarize your education, skills, and experience to sell successfully your abilities and skills. But many students have to cancel the dream of getting a job due to no proper CV. If you are looking for opportunities in academia or looking for paid jobs, CV is mandatory for your recruitment.

Follow the given guidelines to make a compelling CV.

What should be the length of the CV?

There is no defined word limit for the CV. But CV should not be too long or too short. Most of the recruiters indeed scan CVs in only 6 seconds. However, a proper layout and format with clear cut points in the education and working section will help you proceed in your hiring process. Its length depends upon your education and working experience. Usually, CV covers two sides of the A4 page.

Types of CV

CV can be mainly classified in two ways:

  1. Chronological CV/ traditional CV
  2. Skill-based/ functional CV

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1-Chronological CV/ traditional CV

This type consists of a list of all details and headings starting with the most recent one at the top under each heading.

It is suitable when:

  • You are applying for a job that is closely related to your experience
  • You want to emphasize on your career progression
  • You have had continuous employment with no gaps

2-Skill-based/ functional CV

It mainly highlights your skills and achievements rather than your employment history

It is suitable when:

  • You are changing your career and show the gained transferable skills relevant to the applied job
  • You have an extensive gap in the employment history because it gets prominent in the date list of chronological CV.
  •  Have had a series of short term paid or voluntary roles; it enables you to group your all skills and achievements gained from these.
  • You are a fresh graduate.

Other CV Types

Hybrid CV is a combination of both chronological and functional CV but it aims to highlight your skills to stand out the best candidate in internships or voluntary works.

Technical CV emphasizes IT and other soft skills if you want to apply to an IT company.

Video CV works best for your body language and communication skills.

Academic CV is appropriate when you want to do research or have a research post in an academic institute. This is also required for researching organizations. It can be longer than two sides of an A4 page and has a different format.

Components of CV Writing

These components must be included in your CV. Though some of the components get optional while changing the CV format, it is better to add all components with special emphasis on the selected components according to CV type.

1)Contact information: your full name, address, phone number, job title, and email address.

2)Academic history: List all the institutes starting from the recent one through postdoctoral (if applicable). It concludes the title of the degree you earned, the year you graduated, and the name of the institute.

3)Professional experience: the organization where you worked, the job title, the dates you were employed, and a summary of your experience and achievements.

4)Qualifications and skills: a combination of hard and soft skills you’ve developed throughout your career.

5)Awards and honors: For each of the awards, add the name, year received, the organization that gave you the award, and any relevant details.

6)Publications and presentations: For publications, provide a full citation including your co-authors, date, summary, volume, page, Digital Object Identifier number. For presentations, provide the title, date, and venue where you presented.

7)Professional associations: The organization’s name, location, or chapter and the dates of active membership.

8)Grants and scholarships: Name of the grant or scholarship, date awarded, and the institution that provided the award.

9)Licenses and certifications: Include the name of the license or certificate, the date you earned it and the institution that awarded it.

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CV Format

All the mentioned types have different formats.

1-Chronological CV/ traditional CV Format:

It is the most common format which concentrates on your education and professional experience.

You have to add all the details in chronological order under the following headings.

  • Contact information
  • Personal statement
  • Academic history
  • Professional experience
  • Qualifications and skills
  • Awards and honors
  • Publications and presentations
  • Grants and scholarships
  • Licenses and certifications
  • Professional associations

2-Skill-based/ functional CV

It is the 2nd most commonly used format focused on your abilities and skills.

  • Contact information
  • Personal statement
  • Qualifications and skills
  • Awards and honors
  • Academic history
  • Professional experience
  • Publications and presentations
  • Grants and scholarships
  • Licenses and certifications
  • Professional associations

Hybrid CV Format:

It converges employers’ focus on both of your educational history and professional background as well as your skills. All the headings will be the same but you have to add them in the following manner:

  • your experience
  • career goals
  • what you think is the most relevant to the types of jobs you’re seeking.

Remember your experience will go on top after personal details.

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CV layout Guidelines:

While writing a CV in MS word, keep the following points in mind:

1.   Font Type and Size

For CV writing Choose the right font type and size to make CV legible and easy to follow. Use Sans serif fonts like

(Helvetica, Arial, Geneva) because they are easier to read. Serif fonts (Times New Roman, Courier, Georgia) have decorative things which make them difficult to read and understand.

Simple fonts can be easily followed and scanned by the employer.

The font type should be consistent throughout the CV. Break your CV in headings as mentioned in the format section. The heading font size should be bold and between 14-16, and the body font size should be 10-12.

2.   Margins

Keep a page margin between 1-1.5 inches. It is very good to check your page margins before writing a CV. Do not leave too much white space on the borders or overfill the borders. Page size should be A4.

3.   Headings  

Keep color, font size, font type of headings consistent. Present your CV in headings, sub-headings, and bullet.

4.   CV length

Page size should be A4.Do not make your CV too lengthy. None of the employers will be going to spend his precious time reading your too much lengthy CV. It should be a minimum of one page or a maximum of two pages long.

CV must-haves and Optional things

It is not a very strict rule on what to include in a CV or what does not. It depends on your experience, where you are applying to, and many other things.

There are following things which must be included:

  • Contact information
  • Personal statement/CV objective
  • Work experience
  • Skills
  • Education

The optional things are:

  • Certifications and awards
  • Languages
  • Personal projects
  • Volunteer Experience
  • Publications and presentations
  • Grants and scholarships

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Tips to Write a Perfect CV

1.Personal Statement

It concludes your CV summary and objective in a single paragraph of 4-6 sentences. After giving personal details, write a CV summary which consists of:

  • Jobs and years of work experience.
  • Relevant achievements and responsibilities.
  • What you look for, your goal.

The CV objective right after the CV summary should include:

  • Skills, education, and certificate relevant to the job title.
  • Type of responsibilities to help you will help out with successfully.
  • How you can apply what you’ve learned so far.

If you are a fresh graduate student and lookup for a paid job, you should focus on CV objective rather than CV summary. When you have a lot of experience, you should focus on the CV summary.

2. Proofread your CV

A good CV is always spelling free, grammar free, and over-phrase free. After writing your CV, proofread it twice. Rectify sentence structures and phrases. Use active words and sentences where possible.

3. Words Choice in skill Section

You have to figure out which words best describe your skills. Use words like Accurate, Adaptable, Confident, Hard-working, Innovative, Pro-active, Reliable, Responsible, etc. to show your abilities.

Avoid words and phrases like Excellent communication skills, Goal-driven, Flexible, Motivated, Multi-tasker, Independent, Detail-oriented, Self-motivated, etc. to describe yourself. These overused clichés blend you up in the sea of candidates and minimize your chance of hiring.

4.Presentation of CV

Never curriculum vitae at the top of the CV. Your email address should be professional. Don’t mention the things you never did. Exaggerating things will get you in trouble during the interview. Always submit your CV along with the Cover letter unless the employer states otherwise. Submit CV online via email in pdf format. Tailor out CV to make sure that your CV is targeted to employer company and role.

5.   Choose CV type and format carefully

Decide carefully which CV type and format is right for you according to your circumstances. If you have a lot of experience, use chronological CV/traditional Cv. But you will choose skill-based/ functional CV if you are a fresh graduate. Use a hybrid CV when you are about to change your career and want the employer to see the transferable gained skills.

6.   Organize your CV in professional template

It is better to customize your CV template on MS word by yourself. Learn things from the internet, take some time, and put some effort to present the CV with creativity. Never try to use the ready-made templates available on MS word and other websites as these are lifeless and create a bad impression.

CV and resume

Most of you get tangled between CV and resume. This section clears all your misperception and never get confused in the CV and resume again.

Whether there is a difference in both of them or not, it depends where are you from.

If you are from Europe, African or Asian countries, they both are the same and are used interchangeably for the very same document. So, if you are applying for a job in Asian, African European countries and they demand your resume, just send them your CV.

In the USA, there is a big difference in CV and resume.  CV is considered as an extensive

the academic document which includes all your experience, publications, and more things in detail. Whereas Resume is a short one-page summary which includes your work experience and background of the job you are hiring for. In the US, the main difference is that resume is about one page (max. two), whereas the CV can be longer (as an academic CV can be). A resume is used for job pursuing in all companies or firms, and the CV is primarily used for jobs and admissions in academia. Lastly, the resume is tailored to the specific job you’re applying to, and the CV is an all-inclusive overview. So, if you want to apply for jobs in USA companies, be careful and send the document according to their demand.

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ARTICLE WRITTEN BY :

MAHPARA TABASSUM (Pharm D)

From:University Of Veterinary and Animal Sciences Lahore

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