How to write a good CV: 13 steps (with pictures)

How to write a good CV: 13 steps (with pictures)
How to write a good CV: 13 steps (with pictures)

Having an eye-catching resume is important to getting an interview and even landing the job of your dreams. To have a clean and well-written document you need to decide what content you want to put in it, you need to compose it with a professional tone that highlights your personal experiences and you need to add your little creative touch to it to make yourself stand out from the crowd. lot of other candidates who, let's be honest, are worse than you!


Part 1 of 3: choose content

Write a Neat Resume Step 1

Step 1. Decide on the type of your CV

There are three main types: chronological, functional and a combination of the two. Ask yourself which type you want to use before you start writing it.

  • A chronological resume is a list of the work you have done in chronological order starting with the most recent position and working backwards. Its main advantage is that it is easy to read and that it gives the employer a complete idea of ​​what you have done before. However, it also brings out the “holes” where you haven't worked, so you should avoid using this format if you've been unemployed for several periods. It is best to use it to showcase your professional progress and the skills you have developed throughout your career.
  • A functional resume focuses on your strengths and skills which could also be important to the employer. It does not indicate dates, places, periods to minimize the importance of periods when you have not worked. This can help you focus on your specific strengths and skills that might otherwise be hidden in a chronological resume, but be aware that many employers don't like this method because they feel like you're trying to get them. hide your jobless periods, your odd jobs or the lack of progress in your career. It is better that you use a functional CV if you have just graduated, changing careers, or looking for a freelance job.
  • A combined CV mixes the functional and chronological type. Usually it includes a history of your jobs, but also a separate section where you highlight the skills you have acquired, your volunteer work or any other training you have taken. This is a great solution if you are changing careers, but if you have a lot of experience that you can apply to your new career. You shouldn't use it if you have little experience though, as potential employers might think you're trying to hide something.
Write a Neat Resume Step 2

Step 2. Include basic information

There is some basic information that you should include in any CV. When writing your own, make sure you don't forget the following things.

  • Your contact details, for example your name, phone number, address, email address, etc. Do not use abbreviations, write "avenue" or "boulevard" in full. Use a professional email address, with your full name (no “[email protected]”!)
  • Make a list of the schools you studied at and the degrees you got. You should also include the school where you are currently attending classes. Make a list of all the degrees you have and the ones you will be getting soon. If you've received any awards or taken relevant courses, you should mention that as well. For example, if you are looking for a job in the medical field and have received a CPR certificate, this is a detail you should also mention.
Write a Neat Resume Step 3

Step 3. Think about your professional history

Your resume isn't a long list of all the jobs you've done. It is a document that shows a certain professional progression and the acquisition of skills, which is why you must carefully choose what you are going to write in it.

  • Tailor it to the job you want. For example, if you are looking for a job in marketing, include any experiences that might relate to this area. Do not write that you have been diving for a month in a restaurant in Ibiza, your potential employer is not interested.
  • Many students who have just graduated make the mistake of including all the odd jobs they've done that have nothing to do with the job they're looking for now. If you want to move to a big city to join a publishing house, you won't impress anyone with your cocktail skills learned when you worked as a bartender to make ends meet. However, you will become a more interesting candidate if you talk about your internship at a large publishing house or the three years you wrote articles for the university newspaper.
  • If you are changing careers, it can be difficult to include relevant experiences. Even if you've been in a position for years, you could appear to have done nothing for quite a long time if you omit jobs that are unrelated to your current application. However, you can try to reframe your experience in a way that may seem more interesting to your current research. Say you wanted to get into the pub business after spending three years as a waiter in a fancy restaurant. Instead of not writing down this experience and giving it the impression that you have been twiddling your thumbs for three years, you can present it as a unique opportunity to interact with customers and understand what they are looking for in the food industry.. It is a very interesting skill for marketing.
Write a Neat Resume Step 4

Step 4. Add other information

Don't reduce your resume to a history of your jobs. Include additional information about your skills to impress prospective employers.

  • You can add an “additional skills” section and use it to include less relevant items in your work history.
  • If you speak foreign languages, this is where you should mention it.If you have any certificates or diplomas, mention it. However, you should continue to include relevant information. If you are applying to a law firm, you don't really need to note that you know how to do word-of-mouth.
  • Also include any awards or publications, especially if you are applying for a job in academia.
  • Computer skills are essential for most jobs, which is why you should also talk about software that you learned to use in your previous jobs.
Write a Neat Resume Step 5

Step 5. Find a way to add skills that you can move on to your new job

Often there are soft skills you learned in your old jobs that don't directly apply to the new one. For example, if you've just graduated, you might have a lot of experience as a waiter, which then means you know your way around customer service and communications. The job itself might not be relevant. Consider adding a general skills section to showcase those you've learned over the years in a way that showcases them.

  • Focus on interpersonal communication in the skills section, as in almost any job you will have to work with other people. If you've worked in the service industry, you can listen to others, resolve disputes, express your views respectfully, and work hand-in-hand with your clients.
  • Discuss your ability to plan and organize. “Organizational skills” are an attribute that many employers demand and a necessity for low-paying part-time jobs. In your soft skills section, you can discuss your abilities to solve problems, meet deadlines, multitask and complete them.
  • "Leadership" is also a skill that can be found in many job offers, which is why you can discuss your experiences of managing work groups in this section. If you've been involved in training a new hire, talk about your abilities to train and counsel others.
  • Many employers are looking for experience with social media these days, even if it's just a small blog or Twitter account, it might be worth mentioning if it's relevant to the position you want to get.

Part 2 of 3: Write the CV

Write a Neat Resume Step 6

Step 1. Pick the right words

Now is the time to brag. Make sure you use words that sound impressive or that accurately describe the value of your experiences.

  • You can find keyword lists online often organized into categories. Certain words like “supervise”, “remedy”, “clarify”, “maintain”, “inventory”, etc., catch the eye on your CV.
  • It may be helpful to jot down some of the tasks you had to complete and rephrase them to make them more impressive. For example, let's say you worked as an editorial assistant for a magazine and one of your job duties was to correct mistakes. You could then write: “I read the articles and I checked that they were well written and flawless. I would then discuss the changes with the others and the editors”.
  • Expand the previous sentence to make it more impressive. For example: “I revised a large panel of content from various contributors to ensure the clarity of the text, its ease of reading and respect for grammar rules. I then worked with the authors and the rest of the publishing office to improve the content that was sent to me”.
Write a Neat Resume Step 7

Step 2. Give numbers when possible

Resumes shouldn't just be lists of soft skills. You should try to go into as much detail as possible when you get the chance.

  • If you are in business, don't say “I increased the company's profits between 2012 and 2013”. Include the exact amounts, for example: “between 2012 and 2013, the profits of the company where I worked went from € 120,000 to € 340,000”.
  • Sprinkle numbers on the resume. If you are a teacher, do not say: "I taught French to a group of high school students", but rather say: "I taught French to a group of 18 high school students five days a week, that is. say four sessions of one hour each”.
  • If you are working in an area where quantity is difficult to define, focus on duration. If you work in the artistic field, discuss the general length of your projects to emphasize your effectiveness. If your work is based on your performance, mention the time you spent each day developing these skills. If you write, speak in terms of the number of words. Give your potential employer an idea of ​​how many words you write per day.
Write a Neat Resume Step 8

Step 3. Use bulleted lists and paragraphs

You can write your CV in a narrative style by having a short paragraph appear after the explanation of your skills. You can also use bulleted lists for each skill. It is best if you use a mixture of these two techniques, describing in two or three sentences the position you have held before making a list of the tasks you had to do.

Part 3 of 3: Choose a solid model

Write a Neat Resume Step 9

Step 1. Keep the content on one page

In most cases, your CV should be no longer than one page. No one wants to read 50 pages of professional experiences. This is one of the reasons why you should choose carefully what to include in it. When employers read the CVs of dozens of candidates before an interview, they might not even consider a document longer than one page.

Write a Neat Resume Step 10

Step 2. Use a legible size 10 or 12 font

You should always use a readable font of an appropriate size for your CV. Now is not the time to be creative.

  • You should use a common font that is easy to read. Forget about fonts that look like handwriting or have frills. Wingdings is of course out of the question!
  • Calibri, Arial, Times New Roman, and Georgie are safe, easy-to-read fonts that you can use for your resume. If you are applying for a job in a more creative field, you can choose something more stylized, but still readable. Try for example Bookman Old Style, Garamond, Goudy Old Style or Century Gothic.
  • Using smaller fonts can allow you to enter more information. However, don't go below 10. If your prospective employer has trouble reading you, they might choose not to read you at all.
Write a Neat Resume Step 11

Step 3. Keep a consistent format and punctuation choice

There are no universal rules of punctuation in a resume, but whatever ones you use, you should follow them from start to finish.

  • Sentences in bulleted lists are usually fragments of sentences, so you can decide whether or not to dot them. Even if there is no solution that employers prefer, you should keep the same choice in all lists. Do not end the work history list items with a period if you do not include one in the additional experiences list.
  • Spaces are important in a CV. While you may be able to fit more items without leaving any blanks, you might also make it more difficult to read. You should include spaces after each section while remaining constant throughout the document. Look at it and ask yourself if you would like to read it for the employer.
  • If you use bulleted lists in your work experiences section, use them in the additional experiences section as well.
Write a Neat Resume Step 12

Step 4. Add creative elements to help you stand out from the crowd

While your resume should keep a professional appearance, it shouldn't be boring either. It is possible to add small creative touches to make it stand out from the pile where it is buried.

  • The subtle use of color is a great way to make yourself stand out. You shouldn't use anything flashy or difficult to read, such as bright primary colors or yellows. You can, however, add deep shades of blue, mauve, or red to your headers to make the document more pleasant to read.
  • If possible, create an online resume or personal site where you can direct potential employers. This is all the more important if you are applying in a creative field.
  • You can add a monogram with your initials at the top corner of the document.
  • There are plenty of tips online for writing a creative resume if you're looking for a way to make it stand out.
Write a Neat Resume Step 13

Step 5. Try your hand at less traditional formats

While you can play it safe with a traditional format, you could experiment a bit to make your document more eye-catching. Especially if you are applying in a creative field, an unusual but easy-to-read format will help you land an interview.

  • If you work in an environment where document format is important, such as graphic editing, a moody and traditional resume might not impress prospective employers. Try to adapt to the job you want. Many candidates get an interview thanks to a CV personalized to the field that interests them. For example, a youngster who was looking for a job in photo montages designed a CV that looks like a photo collage with a pink background and graphics in the form of paper clips and post-its. Although she might not be hired, it is certain that her document has caught the attention of many employers.
  • If you are not looking for a job in a particular field, you can always find a more original and attractive design for your document. You will find many models and examples on the Internet. Take a look at Flickr or Pinterest for inspiration.
  • Be careful, however, not to be overly creative. While an interesting concept can help you stand out from the crowd, you don't want the graphics and format to obscure the content. Your CV must remain readable, whatever the format.

Tips for a good CV

  • When you send it by email, present it in PDF format. The format of text documents can change from computer to computer, and you wouldn't want the format you've been working on for hours looking different on another computer.
  • It might be useful to prepare slightly different documents depending on the areas that interest you, especially if you are leaving the door open to different positions.

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