Best Practices for Writing a CV or a Resume

Best Practices for Writing a CV or a Resume

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The importance of first impressions can hardly be overstated. When we meet people, it takes no more than a couple of seconds to create a perception of the person and usually, our behaviour or interaction with the person depends on that perception. In the professional field, this first impression is generally created by your Curriculum Vitae (CV) or Resume. Before we look at some of the best practices of writing them, let’s understand the difference between CV and resume.

Curriculum Vitae (CV)

Curriculum Vitae (CV) means ‘course of life’ in Latin. Thus, it is a detailed document mentioning your professional experiences, education, awards, and all other information that might be relevant to your prospective employers and clients. CV is generally written chronologically and starts with a person’s educational details.

Resume

A resume is a summary document mentioning your job experiences, professional skills, and educational qualifications. A person’s professional associations (for example, BAR or medical council membership) and social projects are also often mentioned briefly on the resume. A resume is written in a non-chronological manner by most people nowadays and starts with the current/latest job going back to educational details.

Both CV and resume are important elements of communication and there are certain best practices/writing tips that can help you make a great impression with your CV or Resume.

Let’s find out about those practices below:

Readability

Your CV must be easy to read. It has to present the information in a neat, attractive, and structured manner. Write short sentences, use bullet points and clear fonts.

Provide the information sought by recruiters

While applying for a job, you should make sure that your resume clearly and concisely responds to the job description. Use the keywords, skill sets, and the right tonality. You don’t have to be extremely formal, but, you can’t obviously start with “hey buddy”. Avoid using jargon or any technical words unnecessarily.

Make it presentable

Your CV is your advertisement. It highlights who you are and what you can do. A good CV is not simply a typed-out sheet of paper, but a neat and tidy as well as visually appealing document. Don’t use different fonts or font sizes/colors while writing the CV. Uniformity makes good reading. Never print it double-sided.

Make it short, but, informative

A good resume shouldn’t go beyond two pages in length. You might write a lot more if you wish, but recruiters are unlikely to read it. You have to carefully summarize your professional journey and expertise in a concise and impactful manner, and you can leave the description for a personal interview.

Edit and proof-read thoroughly

The last thing you would want on a CV is spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, and irrelevant details. You might mention football as your favorite sport, but, a recruiter is unlikely to be keen to know the number of goals you scored for your school or college.

Alongside the above tips on writing a good CV, there are certain mistakes and traps that you must carefully avoid while writing a CV or Resume. Let’s take a look at those as well:

  1. Don’t put false information – In the modern world, it is not difficult for lies to be found out during the verification process, and if you get a job by lying, the lie will also get you fired.
  2. Don’t do the reappearance act – Continuity of the journey is of great importance to recruiters. You might have been out of work for a couple of years due to some reason or probably took up petty jobs while on a break from a full-time planned career. However, there is no shame in letting it reflect on the Resume, and it is certainly better than going MIA for years.
  3. Load the interesting bits at the top – Most people follow a set template and it can make a resume read dull. Start with the key skills and best achievements first. Focus on addressing the job description upfront as it saves the recruiter’s time and is likely to make him/her interested in reading further.
  4. Don’t include hobbies and pastimes – If your hobby or interest is not something that adds value to your skills, it is probably not needed on your resume.
  5. Don’t use a personal/casual email id – Make it [email protected] andnot [email protected]. Your email id is a digital asset reflective of who you are, and for professional communication use a formal id only.

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