The first CV was probably written by Leonarda Da Vinci around 500 years ago. Since then, things have progressed greatly and in this era of competition, an effective and well-presented professional CV is your ticket for an interview call.

There is no ‘one best way’ to construct a CV. However, there are some basics that must be essentially covered to meet the employer’s expectations.

Follow through these tips to help you get started:

Get the basics right

The basic framework of a CV includes personal and contact information; education and qualifications; work history and/or experience; relevant skills to the job in question; own interests, achievements or hobbies; and some references. A common mistake is the use of unprofessional weird email addresses as contact ids that lead to immediate rejection.

Presentation is key

A successful CV is always carefully and clearly presented, and printed on clean, crisp white paper. The layout should always be clean and well formatted. CVs should never be crumpled or folded, so use an A4 envelope to post your applications.

Always remember the CV hotspot – the upper middle area of the first page is where the recruiter’s eye will naturally fall, so make sure you include your most important information there.

Spelling and grammar also play an integral part of the CV.

Stick to no more than two pages of A4

A good CV is clear, concise and relevant. Just keep things short and sweet. A CV is a reassurance to a potential employer who will probably be ticking the right boxes by going through the sections. Your job is to get the maximum boxes ticked so stick to a maximum of two pages of A4 paper.

Understand the job description

Before applying for any job, carefully analyze its job description. Often. the clues are in the job application, so highlighting keywords, requirements of skills etc is essential.

Tailor the CV to the role

Remember, there is no such thing as a generic CV.Create a unique CV for every job you apply for. You don’t have to re-write the whole thing, just adapt the details so they’re relevant.

Making the most of skills

Mention key skills that can help you to stand out from the crowd. These could include: communication skills; computer skills; team working; problem solving or even speaking a foreign language. In case there’s something you can’t meet as per the job description, mentioning that you’re adaptive and a quick learner in the skills section is an additional advantage.

Making the most of interests

Highlight the things that show off skills you’ve gained and employers look for. For example, leadership, responsibility, team building or any creative idea to show how diverse, enthusiastic and skilled you are. Don’t include passive interests like watching TV, solitary hobbies that can be perceived as you lacking in people skills. Make yourself sound really interesting.

Making the most of experience

Use assertive and positive language under the work history and experience sections, such as “developed”, “organised” or “achieved”. Try to relate the valuable skills you have learned to the job role you’re applying for. For example: “The work experience involved working in a team,” or “This position involved planning, organisation and leadership as I was responsible for a team of people”.

Including references

References should be from someone who has employed you in the past and can vouch for your skills and experience. If you’ve never worked before you’re OK to use a teacher or tutor as a referee. Try to include two if you can.

Keep your CV updated

It’s crucial to review your CV on a regular basis and add any new skills or experience that’s missing. For example, if you’ve just done some volunteering or worked on a new project, make sure its there – potential employers are always impressed with candidates who go the extra mile to boost their own skills and experience.

A survey of employers found that the following aspects were most looked for in a CV (Reference: 2010 Orange County Resume Survey by Eric Hilden)

45% Previous related work experience
35% Qualifications & skills
25% Easy to read
16% Accomplishments
14% Spellings & grammar
9% Education
9% Intangibles
3% Clear Objective
2% Keywords added
1% Contact Information
1% Personal experiences
1% Computer skills

Remember, a CV should define your promising personality. Put an effort in it and let no one perceive any less of you! Good luck!

Isra Usman

Student Relationship Manager