A strong CV or Curriculum Vitae is your most powerful tool to get noticed by an employer and get a dream job. So, this article will help you to understand how to structure and format it correctly as well as which information to include.
How to Make a Good CV
Before dividing into writing a CV itself, let’s start with a pre-step – conducting research.
Pre-writing step: Research
To create a professional CV, first, you need to understand which position you seek and hence, what skills you need to highlight in your CV. So, it would be beneficial to check out job adverts to see a wider picture.
Thus, start with searching for the job adverts on job websites like glassdoor.com. For instance, if you are looking for a position as a Data Analyst, you need to find 5-10 such job descriptions and take notes of the requirements this position expects a successful candidate to have. Then, you will see which skills are repeated most frequently and those ones you should add to your CV draft.
While doing this research focus on hard skills like knowledge of different software, programming skills, language knowledge etc. For instance, for a Data Analyst position, you usually need to list knowledge of Python or R, Excel, BI, Tableau among your skills.
Meanwhile, soft skills are often too general and vague, so you can just skip them.
So, here we come to the main part: how to structure your CV? Below are described essential parts each successful Curriculum Vitae should include.
At the very top of your CV should be placed your name, contact details, and the position you are looking for.
As contact details add your phone number, and an email (make sure it looks professional).
Also, you can include your social media accounts. The best one to mention is your LinkedIn profile which is relevant for any position. If you are looking for some jobs related to managing social media accounts (like SMM manager or a marketing manager), you can also add FB or Instagram accounts.
You don’t need to include your age, birthplace, or marital status.
Personal statement (Professional profile)
In this part, you should craft a personal statement or a summary of who you are as a professional with a brief description of your work experience and your objectives as a job seeker.
Keep it short, 5 to 7 lines, and make it precise.
Here goes a bulleted list of your hard skills. Each point should be short. Also, try to organize this list in a logical way so that skills that are related go one after another. Moreover, the most important skills should go at the very top of the list.
Your work experience should be listed in reverse chronological order, from the most recent to the oldest.
Start this section with the correct company name, your title there, and the time period for each of your positions.
Then, add a brief description of this experience and your role in this company. Next, include a bulleted list of your responsibilities there.
Additionally, you can add your achievements backed up with facts and figures (like the revenue generated by you).
Also, there is a rule that says: the more up-to-date the workplace is, the more details you should add as the hiring manager is more interested in your recent work experience.
If you have no experience, you can add other information here like voluntary roles, part-time jobs, internship, etc.
Your education should be listed at the bottom of your CV. If you are a junior candidate or a recent graduate, make this part more descriptive. If you are an experienced one, keep it very brief.
Hobbies & Interests
Additionally, you can add your soft skills and interests at the very end of the document. However, it should be done only if you have some unique and very relevant information to add. Otherwise, if you add some general information like ‘being responsible’ or ‘being hardworking’ as soft skills or ‘listening to good music’ among hobbies, it will bring zero value to your professional profile.
If you have your own projects like a website set up by you, your blog, or some pet-project (if you are applying for a position of software engineer), this worth mentioning.
To see how our CV should be structured, check out the structure of a Linkedin account page as it represents the perfect sequence of describing work experience, professional skills, and education.
Your CV should be easy to navigate. Thus, use bold headings with bigger font size to divide your CV into sections. Additionally, you can add some visual dividers like blue, brown or grey lines.
Don’t use fancy colors and fonts. While, it indeed will grab the attention of the recruiter, it will look unprofessional. All in all, clean black or dark-grey font and neutral colors of background and separated blocks (if you have them) would be the best solution.
- 1.0 or 1.15 is the most common line spacing.
- Calibri, Cambria, Helvetica, Georgia, Verdana, Book Antiqua, Didot are among the best fonts to use in your CV.
As for the document formats, you can have it as a Google doc, Word document, or PDF format. The last option is the best one to avoid possible confusion with headings and fonts.
Moreover, it goes without saying, that your CV has to be grammatically correct. You can use some proofreading software like Grammarly to avoid misspellings.
One to two pages is usually a gold standard. This is enough to tell all your relevant professional experience and not make your potential employer bored.
Yes, especially for candidates with no work experience. If you have some, a 2-page CV would be perfect.
You can list such hobbies as volunteering, sports (especially if you have solid achievements here, not mention doing regular workouts), traveling (especially if you are looking for a job in a travel-related company), art & design (share your profile on Behance if you have one), writing (perhaps, you have your blog or some novels or poetry to share), etc.
CV Example: Marketing Specialist
This guide is aimed at helping you create a good CV that looks professional and thus to eliminate confusion the majority has when they need to draft such a document. Keep in mind that this is only a tool to present yourself. The main thing is to build the needed set of skills and have a clear vision which job fits you best.