Over the years, the technique to writing a good CV has evolved, and the list of do’s and dont’s seem to differ from one article to another. However, the foundation remains the same- GIVE THE EMPLOYER KEY INFORMATION THAT SETS YOU APART.
In the same way we manage our Facebook or Instagram accounts to show the world our unique selves and what makes you authentically you, a CV needs to be presented the same way. Why? Because your CV is the closest thing to your brand, it’s the one thing that will represent you and shows your personality, achievements, and highlights before you even walk in that door for an interview. So the same effort and enthusiasm we use to manage and brand our social media needs to be employed when drafting a CV or creating a professional profile.
Below are a few keys steps to help you manage the exciting, but sometimes challenging task of CV drafting.
Key Information to include: Who are you?
Employers always need details about who you are and how they can get hold of you- this should be visible, clear and always at the top of your CV. This information includes:
Name and Surname (a must!)
Email Address & Contact Number (how can we reach you; stray away from putting contact numbers of friends or family members, besides this is YOUR CV)
Residential Area (you do not have to put in your full address but your suburb and city is important
You can also choose to include your ID Number if you want to or if this is requested in the job advert
Experience: What have you done?
This can be a bit daunting if you are still and student and haven’t had much work experience (which is why volunteering or interning or a part time job is key- I will talk about this in an upcoming post).
*If you do not have work or volunteer experience yet, skip to talking about your academics.
Employment History: Where have you worked?
Remember here to always start from the most recent employment or education level.
Name of the company; location; (dates worked)
Duties: (make this is as informative but as concise as possible)- two or three lines explaining your core responsibilities
Volunteer work, Internships or Societies at University
Have you ever worked in promotions? Joined a society at University? Overseas internship? Have you volunteered as an administrator at your local church or office? Let’s talk about that.
This can help boost your CV and let the employer know about your skills and interests outside of the academic space (one or two sentences explaining what you have done is helpful)
Education: Where and what have you studied?
What are your majors? What courses have you taken?
Have you worked on any projects or research papers you would like to highlight? Talking about your projects and skills you employed to get the project done are two ways you can show your potential employer how valuable you are as a candidate. Employers are not just looking for good grades but in many cases, the skills you had to use in a certain project can easily be transferred to a role they are hiring for.
Awards or Achievements (no pressure if you do not have anything to add here)
On the Dean’s merit list or achieved high marks you would like to highlight?
Awards for any projects or sporting activities you have participated in?
Name; Job title and Company/ Institution
Contact Number; Email Address
Any previous or current employers (it is important to build good and lasting relationships with colleagues and employers even if you are simply working part-time- these relationships are crucial and you never know if you might work with them again)
*if you do not have any work experience, speak to your Lecturer or Supervisor and ask them to write up a reference letter for you and if you can list them as a reference.
You can also ask for a letter of service or reference letter from places you have volunteered and keep them handy.
There you have it, the 5 key points of information to include in your CV. A few things to remember:
ONE: A really good CV is a page or maximum 2 pages, be careful not to put too much or too little informatio
TWO: Show off who you are- if you are a creative put that in there with a link to your work and if you can make your CV a bit funky, do so.
THREE: If you are a techie, why not write something small in code or a link to your website or projects? Or if you are a creative or content writer why not share a link to your blog post.
FOUR: Always research the company and role you are applying for, and make small edits to your CV to really stand out to each specific company or role. I will highlight this in greater detail in my next blog post on drafting a good cover letter.
Now that you have built the tools to create an awesome CV, go forth and be great! And remember, you hold the key to building a successful career.