So, you have been building your profile and brand, and have stepped out into the real and virtual worlds to meet potential employers and companies. Now, let’s tackle an item that causes a lot of headaches even in this digital age; the CV. We hope to give you a little background and then some key tips in writing a top class CV.
Firstly, let’s discuss the difference between a resume and a CV. These two are frequently used interchangeably across the world. They do have small differences, and the words are used differently in different countries around the world, but with the world job market becoming more global the words are merging. For the sake of clarity we will provide a definition:-
The C.V., or to give it’s proper latin name Curriculum Vitae, meaning “course of life”, is a longer document, over 2 pages, and includes not only a chronological work history, but also your education history and all other achievements, such as publications, interests, skills and groups or affiliations. Usually it has a particular format. It is the most frequently used form in most of the world; Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
The Resume is generally shorter, about an A4 page in length, it has no format and is brief and concise. It does not have to be chronological and has no real format. It is used mostly in North America.
It is interesting to think that one of the Greatest minds in history, Leonardo da Vinci, is credited with writing the first professional Resume in 1482. It was used over the next 400 years by traveling workers or guildsman to introduce themselves for jobs, and by Lords and Diplomats to provide some kind of introduction. It was not until the 1950s that they became a formality for job seekers. Over the course of the 1960s and 70s they became more professional, and in 1984 the first book on writing a CV was published.
The digital age has brought with it many online tools and resources, which have developed over the last 20 years, and has significantly changed both the job market and CV writing. The formation of LinkedIn in 2003 changed the CV market again, and now the ease of online video means that Video CV’s are more and more common.
5 Top Tips for CV/Resume
It is tempting to embellish your career or skills. No Gentleman would do this, but also don’t hide your light under a bushel. Be proud of your achievements and make sure to mention them.
If you make claims, make sure you can back them up, with references or links to the work in question.
If you have gaps, explain them – children, sabbaticals, loss of job, etc.
Edit & Proof
Firstly, keep the format simple and the font generic, so that, if it is opened on any other computer, it will not change and look like a mess.
Make sure you read it and read it again; only 1 in 10 CV’s has no mistakes. Proofreading is essential. Lastly, give it to the Grammar Guru friend that you have to make sure you have made no mistakes, yet again.
It is worthwhile making sure that all your contact information is correct and visible.
First, do a base CV and then tailor it to each job you apply for. It is time consuming, but you are in a competitive position and need to Stand Out. Research the the company (Part 2) and find out what they are looking for so that you can highlight it in your CV.
If you are including a personal statement, make sure it is concise and gives a good summary of you.
Keep your Language positive, use words such as ‘developed’ and ‘achieved’.
Keep the whole tone positive, you can do this in a factual document.
Never criticise your old bosses or companies.
5 things to remember –
Always write a covering letter that is as specific as possible to the key person seeing your Resume. Highlight why your skills and background make you a great candidate.
Employers will ‘Google’ you and they will look at your LinkedIn profile. Hopefully you have done your preparation and all your digital life is consistent (Part 1) and the CV and Profile matches, if you haven’t done that then you had better do that immediately.
If you are uploading your CV to an online platform or engine, make sure that your Resume is keyword friendly. As the programme will search for mistakes and will search for keywords for the relevant job(s).
If you are in certain industries, you can bend our tip “Edit & Proof” and instead make your CV a real design piece that stands out. However, the details about making sure the spelling and the grammar are correct still holds true.
Walk a mile in their shoes
Finally, think about the employer and what they want. Think about the company and the department and indeed your direct boss/bosses and why they are hiring and to deal with what situation. You will tailor your approach and CV much more effectively if you spend some time to do this.
Good Luck with the Quest – Next Week – First Contact