A Guide to a Perfect CV

What exactly is a CV?

A Curriculum Vitae, commonly referred to as a CV, is a detailed synopsis of your skills, experience and education. It lists your educational and academic background as well as teaching and research experience, publications, presentations, awards, honors, affiliations and other information. In short, it is a brief description of your capabilities and achievements.

Your CV is the first thing that your potential employer comes across and as such it is in your best interest to impress him with just words. Your CV should be a living, breathing, growing document.

It’s Importance

What is your CV to you? What does it represent?Our experience of CVs and the answers to these questions make us skeptical. There are so many assumptions running about how important and useful CVs are and how to make them perfect.

Your CV is designed to do one thing: get you an interview.

Writing a good CV can be one of the toughest challenges of job hunting. Most employers spend just a few seconds scanning each CV before sticking it in the 'Yes' or 'No' pile.

Writing done right!

  • Remember the 3 C’s- concise, clear and correct. Your statements should be brief and to the point, they should be lucid, should clearly address the questions asked and of course they should be correct and truthful.

  • You know how you dress up differently for different occasions? Some events require funky dresses, some somber colors and so on. Similarly each company has its own requirements and so you need to tailor your CV accordingly.

  • What makes you marketable? Your unique attributes. Your CV is like your life story that highlights your abilities; write it in a way that it makes an impression. Showcase your talents and do justice by meaning everything you write

  • List your recent achievements and degrees. If there has been a gap in your studies/job line, mention the reason or it makes other suspicious.

  • Do not make any rash or biased observation in your CV. Your CV should separate you, not stereotype you.

  • There is no room for mistake. So you need to check, double check and triple check all the spellings and grammar of your CV.

Perfecting your CV

One thing that we need to accept is that we are not perfect, not by a long shot. We have our own flaws and we make mistakes but there’s no reason why these errors should dominate our lives.

When you apply for a job, the first thing the employers do is look for any sign of weakness. So, be a step ahead of them and learn how to skillfully hide your weaknesses or use them to your advantage. What exactly are these weaknesses I’m talking about?

  • Lack of leadership skill

  • Too many job changes in the past

  • A gap in your employment history

  • An unimpressive career graph

  • Lacking experience or set of skill/knowledge

How can you cover these weaknesses? By highlighting your strengths or skills that might be relevant to the job. You can present your life as a learning experience that has taught you many lessons.

Must avoid Mistakes

The process of selection of a candidate for a job involves more rejection then selection and hence you cannot afford to make any mistake. Here are a few mistakes you should care to avoid:

  • Sending out the wrong CV:As mentioned before, your CV should be tailored according to the job requirement. Sometimes in this confusion, you may mistakenly send the wrong CV. This you should avoid at all costs as it displays absent-mindedness and a lack of organization, not the qualities that will impress a recruiter.

  • Typing/Grammar mistakes-This happens to be one of the most common mistakes and one that instantly puts you in the rejection list. Have someone else go through your CV or cover letter so that you’re sure that it is mistake free.

  • No lies: You cannot hope to put false information and get away with it. The recruiters may decide to cross-check and look up reference to whatever you’ve mentioned in your CV. So it is for the best to write it honestly.

Format for the Curriculum Vitae

Here’s a sample that shows the appropriate format.

Your Contact Information

  • Name
  • Address
  • Telephone
  • Cell Phone
  • Email

Personal Information

  • Date of Birth
  • Place of Birth
  • Citizenship
  • Visa Status
  • Gender

Optional Personal Information

  • Marital Status
  • Spouse's Name
  • Children

Employment History

  • List in chronological order, include position details and dates
  • Work History
  • Academic Positions
  • Research and Training

Education

  • Include dates, majors, and details of degrees, training and certification
  • High School
  • University
  • Graduate School
  • Post-Doctoral Training

Professional Qualifications

  • Certifications and Accreditations
  • Computer Skills

Awards

Publications

Books

Professional Memberships

Interests

Once you have perfected your CV, you are good to go and apply to as many companies as you want and if your words manage to leave a favorable impression, you’re sure to get the interview call.

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