When you apply for a job, you will most likely be asked for your resume, or curriculum vitae (CV). A CV (in addition to your cover letter) ensures that your future employer is curious about you. At least, it's supposed to do so. We can help you create a CV that will make any employer curious about your added value for his or her company!
what does a winning CV look like?
- contact information
- education and training
- work experience
- skills and key strengths
- volunteering and hobbies
- contact information
1. contact information
If you're intimidated about writing your new professional resume, then starting with the straightforward “contact Information” section can be a great way to build some momentum.
The rule of thumb is to display all necessary information clearly and in an easy-to-read format. That way hiring managers don't have to waste any extra time figuring out how to contact you once you've dazzled them with your CV.
This includes: your name, address, phone number, email address, date (and place) of birth and possibly links to your own website or LinkedIn page.
2. a photo
A picture says more than a thousand words, so it should not be missing from your resume.
Choose a photo for your CV in which you can be seen clearly, without other people around you. So preferably not a vacation snapshot with sunglasses on.
3. education and training
Don't underestimate the value of outlining your education and qualifications - particularly for those who have limited job experience. Your education and training section in your CV can cover anything from university degrees, to specific diplomas and certificate courses, industry-specific courses, in-house courses, and any other professional training you may have undertaken during your career.
List your highest qualification first and then below this, list your other qualifications in order of the relevance they have to the job you are applying for.
For instance, even though your latest qualification might be a Fork Lifting certificate, if you are going for a job in marketing, you should list all relevant courses to that instead.
4. work experience
This area is usually the most compelling to prospective employers and should include a list of all your recent and past employment history, including paid and unpaid work.
Start with your most recent experience. Use strong, clear wording and always be prepared to back up what is written on the resume in your interview.
Don't forget to include the title of your position at your former employer, how long you worked there and a brief description of your activities. This will give the person who is reading your CV an immediate impression of what you did there and why you are suitable for the new job.
Now comes the fun part: describing what you did and accomplished in each role. The good news is that once you know the basic formula for constructing this section, it practically writes itself.
The secret is to break down each role into a short paragraph of your responsibilities, followed by a few bullet points highlighting your major accomplishments. Follow up every paragraph with three to five specific accomplishments. Numbers jump off the page, so think in terms of revenue generated, percent increases and money saved.
5. skills and key strengths
This is a very important section in your CV which outlines your key skills and abilities, and can be made up of both tangible and intangible assets.
For example for tangible skills think about any computer applications, or software packages you may have experience in - powerpoint/keynote skills, experience using excel spreadsheets etc.
For your intangible skills, think more about your soft skills and the abilities you have such as 'quick learner', 'personable', 'reliable' etc.
Do you have the skills to read and write in a certain language? Mention that information in this section of your CV too.
So put your computer knowledge in this section of your CV, as well as your soft skills. Your ability to communicate and work in groups, for example.
Stick with the skills that are most applicable to the position you’re applying for. Refer back to the job description to find keywords that appear often or are listed as qualifications or requirements, and add them to this section on your CV.
6. other relevant information: volunteer work and hobbies
Do you come across any other elements in the job description that you have to meet? Have you gained a lot of experience from your work as a volunteer?
In this section you can always mention some (relevant) hobbies that tell a bit more about you as a person. For example: playing tennis, coaching kids, playing the guitar, working on cars or photography.
Who could put in a good word for you? References and referees are usually listed at the end of your resume. This can be a list of around two to tree people who you have worked with in the past or present - usually your managers, or ex-colleagues. With their recommendation, you'll be one step closer to landing that new job! Always ask for permission before listing someone as a reference.
Procuring good references is an important aspect of your job search - the people you list might be called and asked to provide some information on your relationship to them, and give an indication of how you performed in your role when they knew you.
Usually contact details for referee's are not required until the very latter interview stages - so you have the choice of providing their reference details on your resume or simply including a line in this section saying 'References available upon request'.
Either way, it is customary for prospective employers or recruitment agents to ask your permission first before proceeding to contact the people you list here.
some hints & tips on how to write a winning resume
Your CV should be thought of as your own personal shop-window, proudly displaying to prospective employers your skills and experience, as well as highlighting your key career achievements to date.
It is your number one personal marketing tool, and its purpose is to engage with your potential employer with the primary objective of being offered the chance to interview for the role you are after.
One of the most difficult things about writing a resume is figuring out what makes you stand out from the rest of the crowd and why you would be a good fit for the job.
If you can’t even answer these questions yourself, you’re going to have a difficult time convincing a prospective employer that you are the one they should hire.
So, before you start writing your resume, sit down and make a list of your skills, strengths, interests and experience. Figure out what makes you special and how to define your own personal brand.
The most important thing when writing your resume is to make sure that it is relevant to the job you are applying for, and to showcase your skills and experience in a way that will have the hiring manager who is reading it jumping out of their chair in the effort to call you and confirm an interview time and date.
The structure above provides the potential employer with the information that he or she wants - in the correct order - to help them make the decision to interview or not. Before using your CV to apply for roles, ensure that you have no spelling errors, and that it is well formatted and easy to read.
At the end of the day, no-one gets a job based on their resume alone - the purpose of the resume is to get the interview, no more, no less.
ready, set, write!
Following these steps won’t let you down, and if you take it section by section, you’ll have a polished, professional resume in no time.