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How to Make a CV – The perfect CV for a Perfect Job

How to Make a CV
  • Keep the CV concise and to the point. No one is going to read every single word. Concentrate on highlighting the job specific attributes in CV.
  • Make sure you have consistent margins and spacing’s when you are creating a CV. It comes off quite amateurish when text does not line up.
  • Run your CV through tools like Grammarly for spelling and grammar check.

When you apply for a job in any company, they ask you about your CV. Wait… what? A CV? Don’t worry we will tell you all about CV and how a good CV can help you in getting your first job. Most job seekers ask different questions related to CV like what should be the format of CV and what to mention. These are some of the questions people ask and we will try to answer these in this article.

If you are a fresh graduate and does not know how to make a CV then we will provide the help you need. Making a CV is not difficult and there are many free samples available on the internet. Before telling you about how to make it, we will tell you about what it is.

How to Make a CV

Curriculum Vitae (CV)

The CV stands for Curriculum Vitae which is a Latin word. The actual meaning of Curriculum Vitae (CV) in Latin is the “course of life”. It is an in-depth document about your past, present professional life experiences and skills. The main purpose of the CV is to tell the company that you have the required set of skills for the post you are applying for.

There are different CV makers available on the internet but you can just use Microsoft Word to make one. It is up to you to use whichever software you want to use. However, we will tell you just what to include in a CV and how you can write it. Firstly, you need to brainstorm for your CV like what to include. Secondly you need to make a list of the skills. Lastly, you have to decide which software to use or which sample to use.

Difference between CV and Resume

Before we dive into the process of making a CV, there is one thing you need to remember. There is a difference between a CV and a Resume. A Resume is concise and to the point document. In contrast, CV is a much more detailed document than Resume. It is a two to a three-page long document depending on the candidate. The entry-level candidate CV will not be longer than two pages. If you are an experienced individual then your CV length would be more than two pages.

Now we will tell you how to make a CV and what needs to be included in it. To make a CV, you need to follow the instructions, we are going to give you in the article.

How to Make a CV

Brainstorming

The first step in making a CV is thinking about the things you have to include. You can include your personal information, interests, skills, education and professional experience. These are some of the common things which people include. So, try to include all the relevant information in it.

Research about the Company You Are Applying In

Before applying to a company, you must look at their website and try to get extra information. The information will help you in making your CV according to company needs.

Research about the Job You Are Applying for

It is better to do some research about the job before making a CV. A good CV is created according to the specific job or company for which you are applying. Firstly, try to find the required skills for the job. After that, try to find what they are looking for in an employee..

Making lists of your Interest, Skills and Experience

You should make a list of all your interest, skills and experience before making a CV. If you make a list of all these things then it will be easier for you to make a CV. As you don’t have to think about all these things when you are writing them. So, it’s always a better idea to list them.

Before writing, you must know about things to include in a CV. Therefore, we will discuss the things you should include.

Information to Include

There are certain things you must write in a CV. The things you should never miss out are given below.

  1. Personal details
  2. Personal Statement
  3. Work Experience
  4. Education
  5. Skills
  6. Interests
  7. References

These are some of the things you must include and we will explain all one by one in detail.

Personal Details

You must include your full name, home address, mobile number and email address. You can also include your LinkedIn profile link in the personal as well. Nowadays, most recruiters look at the LinkedIn profile, and they get an idea about your abilities from your profile. So, it is better to include a LinkedIn profile link in personal detail.

You should have an email address that you can use in your professional life. If you don’t have one then create one today.

Personal Statement

The personal statement is short and to the point paragraph that helps you in standing out from the crowd. Now you’ll be thinking about what to write in a personal statement? You need to write about your key qualities and your career goals. The personal statement should be written at the start. So, better to write about your aims and achievements in it.

How to write a personal statement?   

The personal statement is a short paragraph but it holds a lot of value. It placed right below the personal details, so it is important to write a good personal statement. It tells the recruiters that you are a good fit for the job or company. The latest research shows that the recruiters take only 6 to 8 seconds to look at a CV. Therefore, the personal statement becomes important.

If you want the recruiter to look at your CV longer than your personal statement should be good and precise. Don’t write a long paragraph, just keep it simple and short. Don’t write more 100 to 150 words. A good personal statement will give you an advantage over other applicants and your application will stand out in the eyes of employers. Before writing a personal statement you should follow some rules.

Rules you should follow

  • Write the personal statement according to the job, you are applying for.
  • You must be honest in writing a personal statement.
  • Try to tell about your aims and experience briefly.
  • Keep it simple and write no more than 150 words.
  • After that, check all grammatical and spelling mistakes. If there is any spelling or grammar mistake in it then you should correct it. The personal statement is at the top so any mistake in it will be apparent to the recruiter.
  • When you are done writing it, read it out loud so that you can know about the flow in writing.

Things you should not do in Writing Personal Statement

  • You should not copy and paste your cover letter in your personal statement.
  • Don’t include any personal information which is not necessary such as your age, marital status etc.
  • In a personal statement, you should not include use clichés, slang or jargon.
  • Do not use saying or slogans in it. Overuse buzzwords.
  • You should not write any quote from others.
  • The recruiters do not have time so better to get straight to the point.

These are some of the things you must do and must not do in writing a personal statement. The next important thing you must include is your work experience.

Work Experience

Nowadays, you must have some sort of experience to apply for a job. If you don’t have experience then you might not be able to get the job unless you are lucky. You can include any work experience you have like any freelance work experience or an internship you did in a company. The work experience you include should be in reverse sequential order.

The latest work experience would be most relevant to the employer. So, write the latest job experience first and then the previous job experience. When you write about the employment history, you must write the position you held, your designation and the dates you worked for. If you want to leave an impact on the recruiter then write about the previous role and responsibilities in a bullet point.

If the work experience list is quite long then don’t include the work experience which is more than 10 years ago. Try to reduce the list to only relevant positions you had in your career. You should delete all the experience from 10 years ago.

Education

Next important thing to write is your education. The education tells the recruiter that you have the relevant education for the job. For instance, if you are applying for a bank manager job then you must have a business degree. Otherwise, you cannot apply for the job. In the education section, you must list down all your qualifications. Include the recent qualification first. Don’t include your matric and FSc or O/A Levels in the education section.

The recruiters don’t have the time to look at all your educational qualifications so include only the recent one. For example, if you have a bachelor’s degree the just include the bachelor’s degree information. If you have a master’s degree then include a master’s degree first. After that, write information about your bachelor’s degree. You should mention the period and CGPA of your university degree

Skills

The next thing you must write is your skills. In this section, you have to tell the recruiter that you can speak different languages and you can use different software’s. You must include the skills that are relevant to the job you are applying to. For instance, if you are applying for a graphic designing job then write about the software’s you use to create different image graphics. If you have a command over Adobe Photoshop then mention it in your skills section.

You should not lie in this because you have to back up your claims in the interview. Therefore, do not exaggerate about the abilities you have in your CV. Only include the skills on which you have a complete command. To lie about your skills is never a good thing to do.

Interests

These are not the interests you tell to your friends and classmates. The interests like reading and watching movies will not capture the recruiter’s attention. For example, if you write that you like to socialize then it might not be striking for the job recruiter. Therefore, include the interests on which you can talk about in an interview.

For instance, if you have your blog site then mention it. Suppose you are applying for a job in media then to include such things might help you. You can talk about the blog in your interview and recruiter might be able to draw a complete picture of you. So, to include interests like these will certainly help you.

References 

You don’t have to write the names and details of the references you have at this stage. You just have to write ‘references available upon request’. If you don’t want to add it then it’s your choice but better to write about the references at the end.

These things are a must to mention. You can add other sections such as certifications if you have any. After that, you have to decide the format. There is no pre-defined format. You can follow any format you want. It is up to you. Just keep in mind the length of a CV. However, before we tell you about the format of a CV, we will discuss the number of words you should write.

The details that should be included in a perfect CV

Which words to include?

To know about the right words that are perfect is difficult. So, you must include the words that gain the recruiter’s attention and enable you to fit all the relevant things. As you are trying to write all the relevant things in a CV so words like these will certainly help. The words you must include to write a good CV are following.

  • Adaptable
  • Accurate
  • Hard-working
  • Confident
  • Innovative
  • Responsible

Which words you should not include?

When you are making a CV, you should not include some words and phrases that mostly consist of clichés. To include slangs or jargons is not a professional thing to do. But there are certain words that most people use in their CVs. As you want to stand out from the crowd so better to leave the words given below.

  • Goal-driven
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Flexible
  • Motivated
  • Self-motivated

These are some of the words that most people use. So you should not include them in your CV because you want to create something which is better than other applicants. Now you have to decide the format. There are different formats for different places like the CV format would be different in the UK and US. So it up to you to decide which format you want. As there isn’t any defined format you must follow. However, we will tell about the format that will help in landing your first or dream job.

Format

When you want to make a CV, you look at different samples available on the internet. However, if you don’t want to use any sample or CV maker then you can follow the instructions given below.

  • You must write the information section wise. If you write the information in sections then the recruiter will not face any difficulty in reading your CV. Try to write your personal details in one section and personal statement in another section.
  • The best way to break up the information in sections is to use headings. For instance, if you are writing about work experience then write “Work Experience” in heading and list down all your employment history in this section.
  • The font size of the heading you should be 14 or 16 and it must be bold. This way, the heading will stand out.
  • Don’t use the fonts that are difficult to read. Most people use Arial or Times New Roman as the default fonts.
  • The font size should be between 10 and 12. The font size is important because it makes the text easy to read for the recruiter.
  • Don’t use any fancy fonts available in MS Word. Also, use the same font throughout your CV.  The font size and font should be consistent from top to bottom.
  • As we mentioned earlier that all the work experience should be in reverse sequential order. So include the most recent work experience first then follow up with the next recent job experience.  The job recruiters look at the latest work experience first. After that, they look at other work experiences you have.
  • Try to give all the information in clear spacing and bullet points. If you write information in bullet points then a recruiter can pick out the relevant information first. So, this layout is better and allows the employers to jump straight to the information they want.
  • The first thing should always be your personal detail followed by a personal statement. After that, write your work experience then write your educational qualifications. Lastly, write about skills, interest and references in different sections.
  • Try to keep it to two to three pages max.
  • Save your CV in PDF format, not in .doc format.
  • If you are taking a print of your then print it on A4 paper. If the CV has two pages then print two pages separately. Don’t print it like the first page on front and second page on the back. It is not a sensible thing to do.

The pictures of a paper and a pen

This is the format which people follow to make a CV in MS Word. However, you can still make a CV in the CV maker as well. But we will tell about the different CV makers at the end of the article. Let’s look at how to make you shine.

Writing a Good CV

What is a good CV and how it makes you stand out from other applicants? There are a few techniques to write a good CV.

  • The active verbs should be used in a CV. A good CV has more active verbs than passive. So, try to use words like created, analyzed in your CV. Using these words will give an idea to the recruiter that you are the kind of person who shows initiative.
  • In any good CV, there aren’t any grammar or spelling mistakes. So, when you are done writing your CV, proofread it to check there aren’t any errors in the CV.
  • We mentioned earlier in the article that doesn’t use the words which most people use in their CV. Try to avoid terms like hardworking, team-player etc. A good CV has all the real examples that validate all skills you have mentioned in the CV.
  • The personal details should be mentioned clearly at the top of your CV. The format should be like the one mentioned below.
  • Enter your Full Name (First name then last name).
  • Your mobile number (write it with the code).
  • Valid email address.
  • You can write your home address as well in the personal details (House no, street followed by the location you live in).
  • You can also your LinkedIn profile link as well.
  • Don’t send the same CV to every job recruiter. Make a CV according to the company and job description. The best practice is to look at the company website and social media accounts. You will get the idea about the role and company you are applying in. With an idea about the company and job, you can make a CV according to the role and employer.
  • A good CV is in order and has all the skills mentioned in it. You have to decide which type of CV is right for you. If you are applying for a job in academic then create an academic CV. If you are applying for a skill-based job then create a skill-based CV. It is up to you to decide which CV is right for you which can help you in landing the job.
  • You should not write ‘curriculum vitae’ at the top of the page. The job recruiter knows that it is a CV or Resume so you don’t need to write it.
  • The email address is important nowadays. So mention the email address that sounds professional. If you don’t have one then create a new one and write it in your CV.
  • You should not lie in your CV. It shows dishonesty to the employer. For instance, if you do not have the specific skill then don’t mention it in your CV. If you mention it then it shows that you are dishonest and lied to the employer to get the job. For example, if you write the wrong CGPA in your CV then it is a criminal offence. If CGPA is 2.5 then don’t write 2.6, write the correct one only. Exaggerating about the abilities and education will have some serious consequences.
  • In a good CV, the personal statement is simple and concise. You have to write in such a way that it captures employer attention. Don’t use long sentences instead use short sentences and use simple and snappy words so that employer stays on your CV, to read it from start to end.
  • When sending an application for a job, you should include a cover letter in it as well. It shows the employer your work history and some other things.
  • Try to use bullet points and keep the length of the CV to maximum two complete pages.
  • You should mention the period in work experience and education section. For example, if you did a job in a firm for six months then write the only month and year like (August 2019 – January 2020). This way the employer can know about the duration of the work you did in a firm.

Use of linkedIn. Two girls holding a LinkedIn Logo.

These are some of the ways to write a good CV but also there are some things you should not include in your CV. So better to avoid these things we are going mention in the article if you want to write a good CV.

Things not to include

There are certain things you should not include in a CV and some of the things you should not include are following.

  1. Marital Status
  2. Date of Birth
  3. Photograph
  4. Social Media Accounts link
  5. The gap in education and employment history
  6. Writing every educational exam grades
  7. Salary History

Marital Status

To mention your marital status in CV is not the right thing to do. The employer does not want to know that how much kids do you have or you are married or not. This is the personal detail you cannot include in your CV. So, you should avoid mentioning such things in your CV. The employer might reject you for that because it does not look professional.

The employer does not have any concern regarding your marital status. Your employer just wants you to do the job that’s it. So no need for you to write it in your CV.

Date of birth 

The only dates which are of any interest to the employer, are the dates of your employment history and your education. It is a stupid thing to do, to write the date of birth in the CV. Some recruiters want to hire young people so to mention your date of birth in the CV will open you to age discrimination. Write only the employment dates and education dates in your CV. No need to write the date of birth in your CV.

Photograph 

There are some countries where you have to include a recent photograph in your CV. However, in many countries, you don’t have to include it because it takes some valuable space in your CV. Adding a photograph does not add anything in your CV. So why to add a photograph in CV when it does not provide an edge over other applicants.

The photograph is only necessary if you want to create a CV for modelling work. However, for modelling, you have to create a portfolio. In acting and modelling work photograph ammeters. So to add a photograph in a CV if you are applying for a banking job then it is not the right thing to do.

Social Media Accounts Link

The social media accounts link should not be included in the CV because it showcases your personal life. Your name, mobile number and email address are the only things you should include in your CV. Some people also suggest that you should not include your home address in the CV. There are a lot of scammers in the world so writing the home address in the CV will make you vulnerable to these scammers.

You can just add your LinkedIn profile link in the CV. LinkedIn is a professional network and most employers use LinkedIn for hiring purposes. Nowadays, having a good and up to date LinkedIn profile will make an impact on the job recruiter.

Other than LinkedIn profile link, you should not include any other social media profile link in your CV. If an employer wants to know about you then he or she can search your account on google.

The gap in Education and Employment History

Do not write about the gaps in your education and employment history. When you write all the details of employment history and education such as duration and dates then to write about the gaps is not necessary. The recruiter will ask about it in the interview so better not to write about it in your CV. When the interviewer asks you about it, just tell the truth and provide all the information at that time.

Writing Every Educational Exam Grade

To write every educational grade in CV is not the right thing to do. When you enter your professional life then the only thing that matter is your work experience. Just write the recent education grades. For instance, if you have completed your master’s degree then just write CGPA of your master’s degree. You don’t need to include your Bachelor degree grade.

If you have mentioned grades of bachelors then remove it. The employer just wants to know about your recent qualification.

Salary History

These are the things which should be discussed in an interview. To write about salary history is the worst thing you can do. So to mention your salary history in CV is just stupidity.

In some of the jobs, you are required to provide the cover letter to the employer. If the employer is asking for a cover letter then you should know how to write it. We will tell you how to write it and what to include in it.

Writing a Cover Letter

The cover letter is just a one-page document that you submit with your CV in the job application. So we will guide you on how to write a cover letter. There are three things you have to write about in the cover letter. Firstly your personal summary, secondly your qualification and lastly thanking the reader.

  • First, write all your contact details like your name and address.
  • After that, you need to give a brief introduction about yourself. You can tell about the achievements, to leave a good impression on the recruiter.
  • Now, write about all the qualification and telling the reader how you are fit for the job.
  • Lastly, say thanks to the reader and end the cover letter with a call-to-action note.

This way you can write a good cover letter and attach it with CV. Remember one thing that the cover letter should not be similar to your personal summary. The cover letter is like a direct message to the recruiter. So just write 300 to 400 words cover letter to tell the recruiter why you are suitable for this job.

This is the method for making a CV in MS Word but with many online CV builders available, you can use any of them to make it. To provide more convenience to you we will tell you about the CV makers you can use to make your CV.

Online CV Makers

There are many online CV makers available on the internet and you can use them to create your first CV. Just search online CV makers on google and you will see several good CV makers available. You just need to select the template you want and then write all the relevant information in it to make your first CV. One thing you should keep in mind is that not all these CV makers are free. They charge you monthly for creating a CV. Some of the CV makers are given below.

  1. Visual CV
  2. CV Online
  3. CraftCV
  4. CV Creator

These are some of the online CV makers but we recommend you to use MS Word to make it. You can also download different free samples from the internet and edit them in MS word. Just write free samples on google and you will find hundreds of free samples. Firstly download the sample you want and make sure it is free to use. After that, edit it with MS Word. The sample should be in doc file if you want to edit it in the MS Word.

Image of Google search engine.

The only advantage of using sample and online CV maker is that you don’t have to worry about the format. They ready-made samples and you just need to write your information on it. Also, these CV makers and samples look quite professional as well. However, sometimes people face difficulty in editing some samples so better to make a CV in MS Word then using free samples.

Finishing touches

The last step in making a CV is to check for errors in the CV. Read the whole CV from top to bottom and see if there are any errors in it. Check if there is any spelling or grammar mistake in it. If there is any then correct it. You don’t want to create a bad impression in the recruiter’s eyes. You can also send it to your friend and can ask him or her to check it if there is any mistake in it.

Sending CV to others can help as well because they can tell you what to add in it and what to remove from it. After proofreading, check all the spacing, the font size. Look out for any repeated words or sentences. If there is any then change it.

Conclusion

In short, there are many ways to create a CV and there are different samples available which you can use. However, to make a good CV you have to follow the instruction which we have given you in the article. If you are an experienced individual or a fresh graduate from university it does not matter.

The fact is we all need some help in CV making. Everybody is not an expert so this article will certainly help those people who don’t know how to make one. If you have any point that we have not included in the article then feel free to write about it in the comments.

Written by Umer Zahid

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