Tips: How to write good Curriculum Vitae (CV)

CV (Curriculum Vitae) writing is an art. One will experience that as time progresses, one adds on months and then years of experience in our chosen career(s) and our CV also may become more voluminous!

While there may be ready-made templates available from MS Office Online (http://office.microsoft.com/) or the internet, there is no ‘one set format’ for a CV. The prospective nature of job for which one is applying has to be borne in mind (vis-à-vis roles and responsibilities that go with it), while working on one’s CV and core skills /competencies identified in oneself may be projected appropriately. That is why I think when we hear of an opening in an organization for example, we immediately query “what is the job profile like?”, to get a first-hand information of the nature of that job. Experience tells me that the more I analyze my CV, the more better and finer it could be made to get the desired ‘punch’ in it or in simple words the CV looks better and so the chances of catching the eye in one glance multiplies when a prospective employer views it.

Here are some tips which may be come in handy.

CV Writing Tips

Your CV is an employer’s first impression of you and it must leave a favorable and lasting impact. A successful CV is one that will appear in the most searches and generate the most interviews.

The CV Builder will guide you through the CV building process step-by-step providing you with tips and examples along the way. We have also provided you with a list of action verbs (please see list at end) that we recommend you refer to and use to ensure the strongest, most concise delivery.

Position Sought

Here is where you define who you are in relation to skills and experience. This is a critical part of your CV as it is the first section a potential employer reads and it should portray you in the most relevant and professional light.

Examples:
  • Marketing Manager
  • Senior Corporate Tax Accountant
  • Advertising Executive
  • Financial Analyst
  • Pediatric Nurse
  • Sales Representative
  • Concierge
Tips:
  • Include words that highlight your skills and area of expertise
  • Include keywords of the actual position you are seeking

Objective

This should be a brief and focused statement of what you can do and what you are looking for. Employers will look here first before proceeding onto your resume.

Examples:
  • Seeking new challenges in (occupation) which effectively utilizes (professional experience).
  • Looking to join a progressive organization that has the need for (a type of occupation) and offers opportunities for advancement.
  • To gain first hand (type of experience), using my analytical skills and commitment to perform quality work.
  • To obtain a position in a (type of target company) using my administrative and programming skills.
  • To secure an internship with a (type of organization) specializing in (area of expertise)
  • (Title) with (background) and a passion for (type) pursuing a career with (target company). Skilled at building strong team environments and developing open communications.
Tips:
  • Describe the job you are seeking. You can include your experience and skill level.
  • Be focused – vague objectives are less likely to attract an employer.
  • Emphasize what you can bring to your prospective employer.
  • The Objective should be one sentence – two sentences if needed, but not longer.

Work Experience

Unless you are a fresh graduate, your Work Experience is the most important part of the CV. Highlight your skills and assigned responsibilities in each previous job.

Examples:
  • Managed a team of (number) that established (name of project goal or result).
  • Successfully launched and marketed (name of project).
  • Participated in the creation of a (name of product or production) that resulted in (a positive outcome).
  • Extensive involvement managing client relationships at all levels.
  • Wrote feature stories and conducted interviews for (type of press); edited copy of other writers.
  • Trained new interns in (type of department).
  • (Number of years) of (system) integration experience and implementing solutions to help clients succeed.
  • Successfully managed and staffed not only business start-ups, but also periods of rapid, sustained corporate growth.
  • (Number of years) of management experience on industrial projects.
  • Installed different operating systems, software and hardware.
  • Compiled and edited comprehensive quality control reports.
Tips:
  • For each position describe your responsibilities, duties, the challenges faced and accomplishments achieved. Use specific examples e.g., Increased car sales turnover by 200% or saved department $100,000 by redesigning performance measurement system (PMS).
  • If you had multiple positions within the same company, remember to list dates of positions to show the prospective employer of your rapid progress and quick learning abilities.
  • If you have not had much work experience, try including temporary, holiday or voluntary jobs.
  • Remember to keep it short, positive and use action verbs.

Education

List your academic background; degrees, certifications and training received.

Examples:
  • Continuing education classes in (Name of courses).
  • Licensed (name of certification) , (City/Year).
  • Thesis: (Title of Thesis).
  • Additional course work in Computational Mathematics, Kuwait University.
  • Work towards CPA qualification.
  • Series 7 and series 63 registered.
Tips:
  • Include your Grade Point Average or General Ranking if it is impressive (Excellent, Very Good).
  • Mention any Honors, Awards, Scholarships, Internships, and Dissertations received.
  • Include any information that might be appropriate to your job search. Fresh graduates should include relevant courses, extra-curricular activities, scholarships, honors, and GPA (if it is good).
  • Allow your educational credentials to emphasize your strengths and qualifications. Do not be misleading, as employers will check. It could be awkward and quite difficult to verify a false educational statement made on your CV.

Memberships

List out any professional affiliations, associations or memberships of interest to employers.

Examples:
  • Active member (name of association) .
  • Speaker/Treasurer (name of association) .
  • Appointed to serve as (position).
  • Past Chairman/President.
  • Elected to serve as (position).
Tips:
  • Being part of any association shows a potential employer your interest and involvement in a related professional field.

  • Adding this information is completely optional, but it may help show a potential employer things about you that may not be clear from the rest of your CV such as your hobbies and your eagerness to participate in contributing to and developing your society.

  • This is particularly relevant and important for fresh graduates or candidates seeking to make a career switch.

  • Use action verbs.

Skills

Use this section to show a potential employer your overall work-related skills and abilities including languages and technical skills. Please note that your skills are one of the KEY search criteria in Employer searches so make sure you include all technical, analytical, professional and other skills.

Examples:
  • German- Intermediate.
  • Microsoft Office software & the Internet- Expert.
  • MS Word, Excel, Access, Power Point, MS Project, Project Workbench and Lotus Notes- Expert.
  • C, Cobol, Fortran and SQL – Expert.
  • Quantitative Analysis- Expert.
  • Creative Skills- Expert.
Tips:
  • Focus on skills that match your target job and target company.
  • Use this section to include industry keywords that match an employer’s keyword search. For example: Knowledge of encryption theory
  • Describe your interpersonal skills, (an experienced presenter/ public speaker / sales person, organizer or teacher).
  • Use action verbs (please see table below)

References

Listing references is optional but it is always a good idea to include them. List the name and contact information of references.

Tips:
  • Include the details of your professional acquaintances. It may be your ex-supervisor, manager or a co-worker. It is best to include contacts from an industry related to the one you are in.
  • If you are a fresher with limited or no experience you may include the name of your professor, or a family friend.

List of Action Verbs which may be used

A : allocated, analyzed, anticipated, approved, arbitrated, arranged, assembled, assessed, assigned, assisted, attained, attended, audited, authored

B : balanced, budgeted, built

C : calculated, centralized, chaired, changed, checked, clarified, classified, coached, collaborated, collated, collected, communicated, compared, compiled, composed, computed, conceived, conceptualized, condensed, conducted, consolidated, constructed, consulted, contracted, contributed, controlled, converted, convinced, cooperated, coordinated, correlated, corresponded, counseled, created, critiqued, cultivated, customized

D : debated, decided, defined, delegated, delivered, demonstrated, designed, detailed, determined, developed, devised, diagnosed, directed, discovered, documented, doubled, drafted, drove

E : earned, edited, educated, effected, eliminated, enabled, enforced, engineered, established, evaluated, examined, executed, expanded, expedited, experienced, experimented, explained, extrapolated

F : facilitated, figured, financed, followed through, forecasted, formed, formulated, founded

G : gathered, generated, guided

H : handled, headed, helped, hired

I : identified, illustrated, imagined, implemented, improved, improvised, increased, influenced, informed, initiated, innovated, inspected, inspired, installed, instituted, instructed, insured, integrated, interpreted, interviewed, introduced, invented, investigated, issued

J : Justified

K : keynoted

L : launched, lectured, led, licensed

M : maintained, managed, marketed, mastered, mediated, mentored, merged, met deadlines, minimized, moderated, monitored, motivated

N : negotiated, nominated

O : observed, obtained, operated, organized, originated, overhauled,  oversaw

P : participated, performed, persuaded, pioneered, planned, prepared, prevented, prioritized, problem solved, processed, produced, programmed, projected, promoted, proved, provided, publicized

R : recommended, reconciled, recruited, reduced, referred, reorganized, repaired, reported, represented, researched, resolved, retrieved, reviewed, revitalized

S : scheduled, selected, separated, served, set goals, setup, shaped, simplified, solved, sparked, specified, spoke, staffed, strengthened, submitted, succeeded, summarized, supervised, surveyed, systemized

T : tabulated, tailored, taught, tested, tracked, trained

U : upgraded, utilized

V : validated

Naseer Ahmad

I am Naseer Ahmad Mughal from Islamabad (Pakistan). I have been working as a Manager Development at SyntecX from last 4+ years, and its my passion to learn new things and implement them as a practice. I am also work as freelancer as well as a volunteer web development expert who loves to learn through innovative ideas and inspiration. You can find me online at LinkedIn & Twitter