CV -curriculum vitae- or a resume, is probably the most important document when applying for a job or an internship. So, make sure yours is as good as it can be!
Think of the CV as a tool you use to market yourself. On one hand, be clearly about your personal information. On the other hand, showcase your skills, education and working experience. Spend some time polishing and fine-tuning it to meet the requirements of your next application.
A CV usually has at least these sections:
It contains your personal information, such as full name, date of birth, nationality and contact details. Usually put at the top of the resume.
Lists post-secondary degrees. Details include: name of the university, dates studied, name of the degree or major subjects. Also shorter courses can be listed here. If you have some certificates (e.g from language schools or computer courses), this is a good place to show them off.
A chronological list of your work history. Only related jobs should be posted. Do not list all the different short temporary and summer jobs you did in the past. You can mention related internships, placements and voluntary jobs you have had.
This part shows all your skills that would be useful or relevant for the desired position. Display your language skills, computer skills and programs you can use, interpersonal skills and skills. Make sure that they are some how related to the position you’re applying for.
The following sections aren’t absolutely necessary, but you should consider whether or not they would be beneficial for your CV.
References from reliable, recognized sources can greatly increase your CV’s authority. Use references from fields related to the position you’re applying for. For example, if it’s a technical job, use references from your former workplace’s technically qualified manager or expert. He is the most qualified to answer questions about your line of work. For recently graduated students, you can use references from your former lecturers.
Remember, the more well known the person or company in the reference, the better it is for you.
You can state your career related objectives here. Not absolutely necessary though. There
Depending on the type of job you’re after, you need to consider having a couple of lines about your interests, hobbies or completed projects. Remember not to go overboard with the details here – this is the part which should be like a side dish, not the main course.
Think about who you’re sending your application to, who is going to read it and what information they would consider relevant. Having several pages of unrelated work history or unnecessary personal details is not going to do you any good. The most common advice here is to limit the length of a CV to two A4 pages.
Although beauty is in the eye of the beholder, you should aim to keep your CV as simple and functional as possible. Many companies and recruiters are loaded with work and have tons of CVs and applications to go through. If the necessary information isn’t easily found, your CV is in danger of being completely skipped. Additionally, even if your actual experience is lacking, a clear layout and logical structure can give a good first impression.
Use at most two different fonts. Avoid mixing in all the highlighting methods. Do not use bold, italic, underlining and background highlighting all at once. If you are unsure about grammar –especially if the CV is in a foreign language- let someone who is proficient in the language double check it. Do not just rely on internet translators.
On the other hand, if you are applying for a graphic design related job, a CV can, and should be an example of your artistic capabilities.
If you’re wondering which file format you should use, .doc and .pdf are surefire choices.
You can always pick up some ideas from existing model CV´s and templates – or you can just use a common format, such as Europass.