I am getting many CVs and requests to correct them or to give some advise.
I will write down here some suggestions that I always make. Please remember these are not orders, just suggestions:
- Orthography – even I lost a few opportunities when not paying attention to details and e.g. putting “professionnal experience” instead of “professional experience”. Yep yep, check it not twice or three times. Check your CV at least ten times before you start sending it.
- Prioritize your work experience and not education unless you are a scientist or just finished studies. Your experience counts more for your future employer then what you learnt.
- Always adapt your CV to every job. I personally have 3 resumes: one for recruitment jobs, one for training and one more general for admin jobs. You should also have at least 2 or 3, unless you have a specific job e.g. as a Business Analyst for many years and you only want to focus on this field.
- Have 2 versions of CV – a short and a longer one. Some companies prefer one pagers. E.g. Google always says there is 1 page for 10 years of experience. Some other employers prefer longer CVs. But never write a book, 20 pages is too much 🙂
- Address culture and company fit immediately. If I apply to Fifa, I would of course check their company values and try to put it somewhere in the summary. I would also mention that I am a football fun and that I enjoy playing Fifa online (please bear in mind both of my statements are true!)
- Talking about truth, never lie in a CV. You can adapt CV and say things in a professional, nice manner (e.g. “Coordinating extension and contracts service” instead of “Creating contracts and terminating people”) but never say things that you do not know or did not do!!
- Snapshot of your skills/achievements instead of the summary. Some people would make a summary about themselves for half of page saying they are professional, successful etc. I don’t say it is very bad but… It is better to saying concrete things, an overview of your biggest achievements or competences e.g.:
- Quadrilingual account manager (speaks fluently English, German, French and Polish)
- Having portfolio of 20 clients and working simultaneously on 10 roles.
- Generated an annual profit of 950 000 CHF.
- Remove some “empty” words e.g. success, professional etc. Instead of saying you have had great success in your career, give them an example of that success. Use numbers, metrics. It will show quickly that you have success but without empty wording – using examples is always a key.
- Visuals are important. If e.g. you are applying for a role of e.g. e-learning designer, you can give examples of your interactive quizzes. Remember never to exaggerate with strange colors or too much visuals. Remember about a professional photo. I swear to you once I received a CV with a photo of a guy in a nice white shirt and a horse next to him. And no, he didn’t apply for a job of a jockey 🙂
- The same with writing. Do not use super complex, long sentences. People prefer simplicity over too much complexity.
- Do not forget about other types of CVs that you should keep up to date especially on linkedin or xing. You don’t have to copy your CV to these portals but keep them up to date.
- There are a few formats acceptable by employers but I would recommend a PDF. Word or other readable formats can look differently on different systems. PDFs are safer plus if you save them as images and not text – nobody will copy them.
- Never stop improving your CV or portfolio. I created my last version of CV in September 2017. It does not mean I am actively searching for jobs. I like my job a lot. But it is always good to freshen up your resume. Use a newer template, add new tasks/responsibilities etc. Remember there are no ideal candidates and there are no ideal CVs. Do not give up 🙂