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5 Step Guide to Creating the Ideal CV

CV could be called ‘the story of your professional life.’ The start of any job application process is always creation/updation of this document, since this is what decides whether you will be called for an interview or not. We understand its significance and have listed below six attributes to create the ideal CV to help you stand out in a tough job market.

In case, you were wondering, here’s how you can create the ideal CV

1. Call it a resume or curriculum vitae, use any format, but the purpose of the CV remains the same – showcasing your achievements to the potential recruiter. As a result, the CV needs to be:

  • Well-organised, highlighting your achievements
  • Relevant to the JD and interesting
  • Scripted in a format that reflects your journey favourably and is unique to you

2. The primary purpose of a CV is to differentiate you from other candidates and get you in front of the recruiter. This is one of the most crucial steps and being right on point is the key. In other words, the CV should clearly provide the following information to the recruiter:

  • Personal details
  • Skills and career summary
  • Key achievements
  • Qualifications
  • Career history

Here’s how you can stand out from the pack!

3. Once the key information is included in the CV, focus on the following to structure the information effectively:

  • Generally, the document should contain no more than 2 pages. Sometimes, a one-page summary is all that is required. 
  • The CV should be honest and factual.
  • The first page should contain enough personal details for a recruitment consultant or a potential employer to contact you easily. 
  • Choose a presentation format that allows you to headline key skills, key achievements or key attributes. 
  • Your employment history should commence with your current or most recent job and work backwards. 
  • Achievements should be short, bullet-pointed statements and include your role, the action you took and a comment on the result of your action.
  • Where information clearly demonstrates your suitability for the vacancy you’re applying for and enhances your chances of being short-listed, include this information near the beginning of the CV. 
  • Leave out information that is irrelevant or negative. 
  • Include details of recent training or skills development events you have attended which could be relevant.
  • List all your professional memberships and relevant qualifications.

4. When you apply for a job, the recruiter is analysing your CV with the objective of investing in you. Therefore, a CV needs to be tailored to the specific needs of the employer. To ensure this, the document must abide by the following points:

  • It must meet the needs of the target organisation where possible. This means a single generalist CV is unlikely to be sufficient.
  • It must highlight your achievements and how they relate to the job you are applying for. It must give the reader a clear indication of why you should be considered for this role.
  • It should summarise the things about you that are relevant to this role. Presenting the information as a list of achievements, a summary of skills, or a list of key competencies (this choice should be made in discussion with your career consultant) is important.
  • Give as much evidence as you can to suggest that you are suited to the career/job that you are pursuing.

5. Finally, once the content of the CV is sorted, we move on to its presentation. When you submit a printed CV to a recruiter or a potential employer, it is likely to be the first thing they get to see or read of yours. Therefore, you need to present your CV well and make it user-friendly. For example:

  • Use a good quality paper, typically 100 gsm in weight and watermarked. In most cases, be conservative and print your CV in black ink on white paper. Cover letters should use identical stationery.
  • Lay your CV out neatly.
  • Don’t make the margins too deep or too narrow.
  • Resist writing lengthy paragraphs – be concise.
  • Careful use of bold type can be effective.
  • Typefaces such as Times New Roman or Arial are fairly standard.
  • Do not use a type size less than 11 point.
  • Check for spelling or typographical errors – no matter who actually types your CV, errors are YOUR responsibility. Don’t rely on a spell checker. If you’re not sure about a word, resort to a dictionary. Sloppiness and lack of care could be heavily penalised.

If you are submitting the CV online, try and create a PDF and submit it as that looks professional. These days visual CVs are in vogue and you can create yours using templates available online or design one that reflects your personality.

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