Despite the number of job ads posted online, landing a job seems to become more and more difficult each day. For most applicants, enduring the long job application process only to be turned down by a potential employer can be quite disappointing and painful. One of the reasons why it is so hard to get your dream job is that you have to compete with hundreds, if not thousands, of other applicants who are seeking the same job you are looking to earn. Moreover, potential employers have set the bar in qualifications and standards higher, making it more challenging, especially for new graduates and undergraduate applicants.
If you want to earn your dream job in a good and reputable company, it is important to equip yourself with a professional curriculum vitae or CV, along with a strong cover letter to convince the hiring party that you are worth to be given an opportunity to be interviewed and that you are the perfect person they are looking to fill in the position offered by their company.
The Significance of a Good CV
In most companies, a good curriculum vitae (CV) is always imperative. That is why it is essential to always keep in mind to never underestimate the great importance of a having a well-thought-out, professional CV. But before we go in-depth about the significance of a well-written CV, let us get to know what a CV is.
According to Wikipedia, “A curriculum vitae is a written overview of a person’s experience and other qualifications for a job opportunity”. It usually provides a comprehensive outline of the academic, employment history and accomplishment of a person who is looking to apply for a job. Basically, the information that you include in your CV can potentially make or break your chances of making a good and lasting impression on the hiring party. That is why it is highly recommended to spend time and effort on the perfecting the presentation of content in your CV. Another important thing that makes a CV great and effective is to be certain that its content is true, concise, and, accurate.
Although potential employers receive up to hundreds of CVs every day, a great CV can help you attract their attention and get noticed by taking note of the following:
- Using a clean and good-quality paper
- Highlighting headings
- Using bullet points to easily feature your key skills and qualifications
- Free from any grammar and spelling errors
- Neat presentation
- Setting the right tone
- Using positive words
- Contains keywords relevant to the job
No matter how great your skills and how well-qualified you are for the position but if you fail to exert time and effort, then your CV may never see the light of day. Keep in mind that your CV has only a few seconds to capture the attention of the hiring party. If you fail to spark their interest, then your CV goes directly to the pile of unsuccessful applicants.
CV vs Resume: The Difference
If you are confused about the difference between a professional resume and a CV, then you are in the right place! It is not a secret that a lot of job applicants do not know how a CV is distinctive from a resume. That is why in this section, we will discuss everything you want to know about both documents.
Although both documents are often used in the job application, there are three essential things that set them apart: purpose, layout, and length. A resume is a one or two-page document that shows a potential employer a short summary of the applicant’s set of skills ad experience. This information can be systematized to suit the best interest of the applicant. A CV, on the other hand, is a more detailed document that can be stretched to more than two. While you can choose to customize a resume to match different positions, the information listed in your CV remains the same and if there are any changes, you can just write them on your cover letter. But the thing that really set a CV apart from a resume is that former places more focus on the applicant’s professional career history and the latter highlights more of the skills and achievements made by the applicant.
Key Things an Employer Look for in a CV
Oftentimes, when an employer is opening a position in his company, his job advertisement clearly states the list of skills that an applicant needs to have in order to qualify for the said position. Although you may pass their standard qualification, there are other things that a potential employer looks for in your CV, which are not included in the job posting.
Let us say that there is only one position available in your company and there are at least 100 people applying for the vacant position. If you are the employer, it would be extremely time-consuming to evaluate each CV. Let also take for instance that there are about 10 applicants who have impressed the hiring party with their CV, so who would you choose to contact for an interview?
Here are the following things that an employer will consider when evaluating a CV:
1. The Person Applying
It is obvious that a potential employer wants to know more about the people who are applying for a position in his company that is why you should make sure to include a comprehensive profile about yourself. If you are thinking that the employer will pay more attention to your personal information, then you are wrong. Experts revealed that the first 50 words that are written in your CV matters a lot to the employer. So when writing your CV, make sure to impress the employer by writing a short, yet impressive profile on your professional work experience, knowledge, and skills.
2. How You Can Make a Difference
A lot of times, applicants list down a number of universal transferable skills but fail in proving that they possess such skills. Instead of using cliches, such as mentioning that you are a good team player or that you are a highly motivated person, it is better to show the potential employer how much you can make a difference in their organization by providing him with true and relevant examples.
3. Unique CV
When we say unique, we do not mean that you have to incorporate a unique and artistic design to get noticed by the hiring party. Make sure to tailor your CV to the position that you are applying for by including your key strengths and how you can be an asset in the company. Although you can choose to download from our collection of job curriculum vitae examples, you can use them as your guide in matching your CV to the job position.
4. Relevant Accomplishments
Sometimes no matter how many experiences you have, it just isn’t as impressive as having accomplishments. If you want to impress the employer with your accomplishments, do not just tell them what you have done, rather make sure to show them how you successfully stood out from the other members of the organization. However, be wary in choosing your wordings carefully, as you would end up bragging about your accomplishments.
CV Formatting Tips
Because of the increased competition in job application process, following the appropriate CV format helps increase your chances of capturing the attention and interest of the hiring party. In this section, we have provided you with some quick tips on how to format your CV properly:
Unlike a resume which can be limited to one to two pages, a CV is often longer and can go beyond two pages.
2. Font Style and Size
The standard font styles used in a professional CV are Times New Roman, Arial, Calibri, and Verdana. The font size is often set to 10 to 12 points.
Since a CV has different sections, they should be all uniform all throughout. Meaning that if you are using bold face for each section heading, the rest should be all the same. If you want to highlight important information in your CV, make sure to use bulleted lists so that it can easily capture the attention of the employer when they scan your CV.
If you want to ensure accuracy, make sure to spend some time proofreading your CV for spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors before sending it to the hiring party. Also make sure to check if you have written correctly the name of the company, as well as the name of the person to whom you will address your CV and cover or application letter.
How to Present Your CV in a Professional Manner
We all know that the content of your CV is unique from the other applicants, but no matter how different your information is from theirs, it is important that you follow the proper format and structure of a CV. In this section, we have listed how to organize the components of a CV while following the appropriate structure:
1. Contact Information
Your personal contact information should always be located at the top of the document. Your contact information should include your full name, mailing address, contact numbers, and email address. Providing these essential information shows your eagerness to be contacted. It also allows the employer to easily contact you, in case you pass the initial job application screening.
Your objectives should clearly specify your reasons for writing a CV. Moreover, it is important to make sure that your objective/s should provide the potential employer with an overview of your skills and expertise in the position that the company is offering. When writing your objectives, they should be brief and concise.
3. Career Highlights and Accomplishments
Make sure to use bullet points if you want to emphasize important milestones in your career, as well as the accomplishments you have made in the past. However, you should only highlight accomplishments that are relevant to the job and company. Instead of making a good impression, highlighting accomplishments that are not pertinent to the job descriptions and requirements can potentially turn off a prospective employer.
4. Work History
When listing down your work history, make sure to follow a reverse chronological order, meaning you should start from your latest work experience down to the oldest. You also need to include the position you have held, the name of the company, your duties and responsibilities, and the date and period of employment.
5. Research Experience
This section should provide brief yet comprehensive details about your research experiences. Just like when listing down your work history, the research experience section should also follow a reverse-chronological format. Start with the most recent down to the oldest. It should also list down the project titles, the location of where the research was conducted, the names of the people you have worked with, the duration of the research, your position along with the duties and responsibilities assigned to you. Also include the publications if there are any.
The academic section should provide your educational background. This often includes the names of the institutions and graduate schools that you have attended, along with the dates. Remember to also follow the reverse-chronological format when listing down all the information relevant to your education background.
7. Honors and Awards
If you have received any departmental awards, dean’s list standings, and scholarships list them down in this section.
8. Professional Memberships (optional)
Job applicants who are associated with a professional organization should use this section to list down the names of the organization, as well as their duties and responsibilities. If you are one of the board members in an organization, make sure to list it down.
When you want to follow the correct CV format, the skills are often found at the end of your CV document. Use this section to provide an outline of your specialized skills, such as computer programming.
Types of CV Format
There is just one thing left to do before you start writing your CV, and that’s determining the type of CV format you will use. And since most job applicants have different backgrounds, experiences, and qualifications, the format of your CV changes as well. There are times when the CV format does not work well to your advantage. That is why in this article, we will help you identify the correct type of CV format that you can use.
1. Chronological Format
This format is also known as the performance CV format. This is considered as the most traditional and commonly used format by the job applicants. It basically provides an outline of your professional work and educational history but in a reverse chronological order. What is great with using this format is that it is perfect for applicants who do not have a lot of accomplishments to highlight. Just make sure to focus more on your present and past job duties and responsibilities. However, this type of CV format is not the best option for applicants who have significant gaps in their employment.
2. Functional Format
Since this type of CV format is perfect for applicants with employment gaps or for the ones who are planning to make a complete change in their employment careers, functional CV format places more emphasis on the applicant’s accomplishments. Although this type of CV format is not often preferred by employers, use it to convince them that you are perfect for the position they are offering by highlighting major accomplishments and transferable skills.
3. Combined Format
The combined CV is also known as a chrono-functional CV, just like what the term implies. Since it follows and combines two different formats, the combined CV is often more detailed and longer compared to the two mentioned above. One of the greatest advantages that come with using this type of format is that it allows you to effectively sell both your key strengths and experience at the same time.
Sample CV Templates that You Can Download
Professional Academic CV
Part Time Job
IT Professional CV Template
Sample CV Template
International Standard CV Format
Now that we have reached the end of this article, we hoped that you have learned a lot of things from us. Try to remember and incorporate this helpful information when drafting and designing your CV. If you think that you are not yet confident with writing your own CV, then let us help you. Just feel free to check out our article on How to Write a Curriculum Vitae or download from our collection of best CV templates.
There is a wide selection of professionally designed CVs that you can choose and download. The templates do not only help to capture the attention and interest of a prospective employer or the hiring party, but they are specially designed from the employer’s point of view. Download these templates now and start off your job hunting with the right foot!