A curriculum vitae (also known as a CV, career portfolio or professional biography) is an excellent way to describe yourself for potential employers. It’s your chance to tell them who you are and what you have done in past jobs and in your life.
By having a strong CV, you will stand out from the rest of the candidates applying for the same position. You want to make sure that it paints a clear picture of you.
It should be a one-page document that is clearly structured and contains examples of your skills and achievements. Make use of both bullet points and paragraphs to highlight different aspects of your career.
Here we will go through some helpful tips on how to write the best possible CV.
There's no one and done rule
When it comes to creating your career portfolio, what makes a perfect CV is not necessarily dictated by the rules. But there are some basic guidelines that anyone can use to make their own personal style shine.
Under no circumstances should you include references or pictures of yourself as an employee. These may be considered self-promotional material and will probably get you fired! If you must include photos, stay neutral and unmemorable.
You do not need to put up a full length profile picture unless you feel comfortable doing so. We recommend using only one face shot and including at least three pieces of information – name, phone number, and position/job title.
Consistency is essential
No one wants to look at your CV if it has inconsistent formatting or content. Make sure everything is aligned and formatted properly so it can be easily scanned and understood. Use clear language and font styles- use neither very bold nor very thin fonts unless you are using them for something specific.
Make sure to keep yourself in budget by not buying expensive looking covers and decorations. If you have to spend money on something, make sure it’s quality! We would recommend Adobe Acrobat Professional as free software for anyone who needs to edit their CV. It is cost effective and easy to use.
Make some updates
When you are looking to change careers, it is important to make sure your CV or career profile is of the highest quality. Yours can be improved by replacing outdated content and adding new pieces that showcase your skills and experiences.
It’s also worth considering whether there are any things you may need to re-do like job titles or position descriptions. Make sure these match what people will see when they look you up online so their interpretation isn’t incorrect.
But a perfect CV isn't all
A perfect CV is not something that you will have at one stage, it is always changing and evolving. As mentioned before, keep your resume up to date! If you are having issues finding jobs, update yours to reflect more recent career changes or experiences.
CVs aren't all there is to landing a job application. Interviews are an integral part of getting employment in this industry so practicing them is important. Even if you’ve done interviews many times before, we can never be too prepared for what could happen.
What makes a great interview isn’t just knowing how to talk about yourself and your skills, but also being able to ask questions related to the position and putting those answers into context.
Work on your LinkedIn profile
If you are looking to find new employment, or improve an existing one, then your CV is not enough! A CV is typically limited to two pages at most. That means if you want people to look beyond that document, you will need to do something about it.
To make things more difficult, employers now use computers to scan documents so making yours very appealing is essential in getting noticed. The way to do this is by ensuring your personal details match what they have on-line, and by using rich media (like pictures and videos) when possible.
These tools help ‘sell’ yourself to potential employers who can compare your detail easily. They also give your image some depth which may mean someone wants to read more than just see a pretty face.
Something many novices get wrong is including too much content – try keeping it concise and focused on only those traits that matter to the position being applied for.
A perfect CV is not something that happens overnight. It takes time to put together, update, and improve upon consistently. There are many ways to do this, but one of the most important things you can do is be pro-active in your career journey.
By being pro-active, we mean seeking out opportunities to gain professional experience and creating an environment where you feel motivated to grow professionally.
This includes looking for positions that match what you’re looking for and asking lots of questions to determine if this position will help you towards your goal. You want to make sure it’s not only a good opportunity, but also a good fit!
And don’t forget about networking! This includes joining professional organizations, hosting social events, and reaching out to colleagues via email or direct messages on LinkedIn. By actively engaging with others, they will notice you and may offer you employment opportunities or referrals.
Prepare for new opportunities
Being consistently prepared is one of the most important things you can do to improve your career. Consistency breeds confidence, which helps you achieve your goals more quickly. As mentioned before, being well-prepared is a key element in creating your perfect CV.
But what makes a good preparation? It’s not just including everything you think might be needed, it’s also ensuring that nothing gets left out.
And while it may feel like there’s never enough time to prepare properly, don’t spend hours doing so without proof that it really matters. In fact, some experts claim that spending too much time preparing actually has the opposite effect and looks less professional than rushing through something.