When applying for a job there are certain do´s and dont´s when it comes to writing a CV (Curriculum Vitae). I am aware that the art of CV writing differs between countries, but there are some general guidelines that I would recommend you to stick to:
Keep it clean & structured - A recruitment agent usually has to go through hundreds if not thousands of CVs. If the CV is cluttered or not properly structured then it will most likely not be read as the recruiter simple doesn´t have time (or the motivation) to go through a poorly structured CV.
What I mean with clean & structured is that:
- Write your name on the top together with your contact details (you have no idea how many students forget this).
- It should be structured according to your education, work experience and extracurricular activities (or achievement or something similar).
- Each section should be structured in paragraphs with plenty of white spacing to improve readability.
- Each item/experience should have a clear heading or title that conveys some important information. Such as the company name you worked at, the position you had in the activity or if you are doing a skill based CV you can write the skill as a title.
- The CV should use a clear font (Arial, Times New Roman etc) in a normal size such as 10,11 or 12.
- The experiences within each section should be ordered in reverse chronological order (the latest item first and then going back in time).
- Use bullet points!
Keep it relevant - There are probably a thousand things you could add to your CV that has happened sometime in your life, but try and keep it short and concise. You want the recruiter to read your CV, be intrigued and end up wanting to know more about you (hello Mr Interview). If you include everything interesting about you then the recruiter has no reason to invite you for an interview since they already know everything about you!
Write it with action words, such as developed, lead or organized etc
Here I should also mention that a CV should really not be longer than 2 pages, if it is, then start removing things. Writing a CV is like a test, since you need to show the recruiter that you can condense your life into 2 pages or less whilst keeping it highly relevant for the position and avoid just blabbering.
Proofread it - Fun trivia, apparently 61% of CVs that have spelling mistakes are rejected. In the day and age of computers, it is so easy to modify and correct any spelling mistakes (and lets not start talking about spell checkers, they even do your job for you!) there really isn´t much of an excuse to send in a CV with spelling mistakes. Print it out, get a buddy to read it, and double check every sentence before you send it in.
Writing style – Everyone has their own personal writing style, however I would strongly discourage trying to make jokes in a CV. Most often the recruiter will be a stranger which makes it very difficult for them to pick up on your jokes in your CV (it is only text and they don´t know your personality). Plus, it often comes across as unprofessional. Try to be more descriptive than emotional in your writing, the CV should present the recruiter with facts not with your emotional state.
There are several ways to write a CV, and the best CVs are the successful ones. If you have a CV that consistently lands you interviews, then don´t change it. However, if you consistently apply for jobs and get rejected, then it is a good idea to revisit your CV and maybe rewrite it.