The Do’s and Don’ts of CV writing

Photo by Markus Winkler

First impression

You how they say that the first impression is always (the most) important? Well, your CV is the first phase of your presentation to a potential future employer, so it better be a good one. The way it’s composed will say certain things about you. It probably won’t be a deal-breaker for the job (if we exclude some extreme cases🙂), but it can influence the employer’s decision to invite you for an interview. It can also create an inaccurate picture of you before the interview if it has not been correctly worded.

Keep it simple

Long gone are times of overly decorated and complicated CVs, with too many colors and weird fonts. (Not sure if they were interesting to anybody, but there have been plenty of them back then). The most effective ones today are simple, black on white documents filled up with information about you on a maximum of 2 pages. Candidates often write them from scratch, using just a few different fonts to distinguish sections and highlight the details. The purpose of CV is not its magnificent appearance but the content and clarity of the information you provide to the person in charge of the employment.

Tell your story

Certain things should be included in your CV, without which it will be incomplete, increasing your chance of rejection. Arrange the information according to the selected CV template.

  • Personal information
  • Current occupation and specialty
  • Education
  • Past employment experience
  • Other significant achievements
  • Other occupations and hobbies
  • References
  • Cover letter

Avoid the pitfalls

Many candidates are rejected in the early phase of the hiring process due to a poorly organized CV. Pay attention to small details like spelling and grammar mistakes and incorrect or bad formatting.

Validate

We can be 100% sure that something is a great success and still be wrong. We need another pair of eyes to validate our work. If possible, ask a friend or a colleague with experience in hiring or interviewing to evaluate your CV and give you honest feedback, so you can improve it before sending the job application.

Update regularly

Most job ads are unique, requiring specific things and skills relevant to the position and company. If you want to get a chance for an interview, you need to prepare your CV particularly for the position you apply for, for the company you want to work for. This means you will have to adapt your CV when applying for different jobs, stating and emphasizing things that matter for the job you apply for.

Takeaways

There are many things in favor of why you should invest your time in preparing CV, some of them mentioned at the beginning of the post. You can start writing it from scratch or find a well-structured CV template and fill the information in prepared sections. Remember to keep it simple and easy to read, even if you have a lot of information to share. Do research on what specific information should be included based on your job specifics, and on which parts you should pay attention to. Update your CV regularly when applying for another job, prepare it for that specific position, show how you are capable of doing what that company needs.

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Amel Halilovic

Amel Halilovic

Senior Software Engineer and Writing Enthusiast.