Guide to preparing a Professional CV
„CV' (Curriculum Vitae - Latin for 'life story'), or in some countries its called a 'resume', however you spell it, this is the most important tool in your arsenal of application documents to win your dream job. It works as your personal advertisement to sell yourself to a prospective employer. The CV and accompanying cover letter are key to making you look like a person the company would like to spend the time and resources on meeting with at an all important job interview.
While an adage asserts that everyone will enjoy 15 minutes of fame, the modern recruiter is bombarded by hundreds of CV’s for every advertised position, giving your resume a scant 15 seconds to stick out of the crowd. Proper preparation of this vital vitae is paramount.
Work Service recruiters review hundreds of CVs daily. They are glad to share their experience in helping you prepare a resume that will quickly capture fellow recruiters’ notice
- Make sure you that your CV is not too long. A resume for students and recent graduates should not exceed one A4 page. For seasoned professionals with more pertinent experience, the recommended maximum is two pages.
- Organize in a logical whole the following list of information that is generally presented in the Curriculum Vitae:
- A short career statement (also known as a career objective) is becoming standard and is often the first item the recruiter reads. Avoid the use of personal pronouns, such as I, me, my, and make it short. For example someone seeking employment in merchandizing: “Retail merchandizing position requiring proven proficiency in the creation, monitoring and boosting of in-store promotions of FMCG consumer goods to customers”.
- Personal data, including preferred means of contact.
- Education, degrees and other accomplishments in your academic career.
- Work history, give the name of your employer, job title, dates employed, and very important, what you actually did and achieved in that job. List your most recent experience first.
- Completed courses and training.
- Knowledge of foreign languages, don’t exaggerate your skills unless you will be comfortable being interviewed in a foreign language.
- Any additional skills relevant to the position, for example computing experience, or possession of a driving license.
- Interest and hobbies, a common mistake is to write far too much in this section, keep it very brief. If you are applying to an American company, you may consider eliminating this section entirely.
- Limit yourself to only the most important and valuable information from the perspective of the employer and position for which you are applying for. Ask yourself, “Will this information help me get interviewed for this specific position?” If not, leave it out.
- Avoid the passive voice and use action words, its more direct and concise.
- Use an easy to read, standard font. If you are sending your resume electronically in a non-PDF format, a standard font will most likely be installed in the recruiter’s computer. Some of the most legible fonts and their recommend minimal sizes are:
- Gill Sans MT-12pt
- Trebuchet- 11pt
- Times New Roman-11pt
- Your resume may be copied to share within the company, so avoid textured or colored paper.
- Don’t depend on an automatic spell check to correct all errors, carefully proofread the CV to eliminate mistakes a computer won’t catch.
- Don’t be afraid of using bullet point summaries, they convey a lot of information in an easy to read format.
- Do not include a photo unless specifically requested. In some countries, requesting a photo is not legal! In Poland it is a common request. First of all, it the photo must be current with a format not exceeding the size of the pictures placed in the official documents (passports, student ID cards). The photo should show you in the best professional light with appropriate grooming and attire. For most jobs, this is not the time to display your originality. Toss out the attractive and beautiful travel photos!
- If you personally deliver the documents, it is best to place them in a transparent foil cover, or white envelope with your name, the position and job reference number. When sending documents via e-mail, do not forget to include them as an attachment. In the subject line write your full name as well as the title or reference number of the job for which you are applying.
- In some counties, including Poland, you need to include the consent to have your data processed according the personal data privacy legislation. You can place this text as a footer.
Now that we have an attention grabbing resume, let’s prepare the cover letter to complete our application package.