Your CV is the first impression a company gets of you. Therefore, it needs to be an accurate reflection of you as much as possible. We know this is challenging, you’re an awesome fully rounded human, how are you going to squeeze it all into an A4 sheet of paper?

Fortunately, recruiters and hiring managers know that a CV only tells one part of your story so let’s make sure it shines, giving you the chance to show the rest in person.

Keep the following things in mind:

Layout

When writing your CV ensure a clean and legible layout that is straight to the point. This will help the recruiter pick out the key information about you. Remember they are reading many CV’s and won’t have time to waste.

The way you lay it out very much depends on the job you’re applying for. If you’re applying for a creative position such as a graphic designer it would make sense for you to have a more creative CV. In this case, it is still extremely important to be laid out clearly, neatly and in a format that is easy to understand. Keep in mind that your CV should be no longer than 2 pages, the more concise, the greater chances of it being read.

Information to include:

Personal information

This may seem obvious but you would be surprised. Be sure to include your name, surname, mobile number and email address. This is how the company will be contacting you for an interview so, put it right at the top where it will be easily found.

Personal statement

There are different opinions on whether to have one or not, however, we feel having a nice brief explanation of who you are and what your strengths are can help someone sifting through dozens of CV’s and will help put you in the short-list pile. Here’s an example:

As an experienced marketing manager, my proactive and go-getter approach contributed towards significant growth for the brand I currently work for. My strong communication skills allow me to communicate the brand’s messages in a way that our target market listens and reacts. After six years in marketing, I am currently seeking a new challenge which will utilise my analytical skills and friendly, professional manner.

Work experience

This is the most important section because the company will want to know the background you’re coming from and your probable skill set. Therefore, when writing this section include the job title, the name of the organization you worked for, the time spent on the job and most importantly your main responsibilities within that post. Underline the experience and skills you gained from your time within the job and link them to the role you’re applying for. This way they can quickly see if you would be of value to their company.

Education

This section is very much dependent on the stage you are in your career. If you are applying for your first job and your education makes up the majority of your experience, then delve into more detail and show what skills and qualifications your education has given you. However, if you have a lot more work experience show your latest qualification. So, if you’ve reached a tertiary level of education, it is enough to mention that because it shows you have gone through all the previous steps. Keeping things short and sweet is always better.

Interests & Extra Curriculars

This section is a little more about your personal self so highlight those things that really contribute to who you are such as sport or travel. Try to focus on interests and activities that have contributed or contribute to your personal development and therefore help support why you would be good at the job you’re applying for. If you don’t have something of value to say simply leave it out. Other information worthy of mentioning such as awards or gaps in your career should also be mentioned here.

Next read: How to Prepare for a Job Interview