You are done with your education, and you now feel ready to take on the world of work.
Or you are just planning to get back to working after that much needed sabbatical.
Your little one now goes to school and you finally feel you have enough time to rejoin the office after years.
BUT… there’s always a BUT, isn’t it?
The companies ask for a CV. You see the menacingly familiar word ‘resume’ all over the place. You have no idea how to go about creating it. You vaguely remember learning to create something like that in school, but that was years ago! Feeling overwhelmed to some extent is natural but that shouldn’t drag you down, right? Especially right at the supposedly first step.
Preparing a resume and/or a CV (yes, the two are a bit different: we will get to it soon) could be a daunting task for many. After all, to a great extent “it gives you away.”
So, here is a little guide as to what all you should look out for and what all you could include while making a CV.
First things first, let us get our concepts clear! Earlier there used to be a huge difference between a CV and a resume. But now the only difference is essentially of the length. Both include a summary of your work experience and education; only, the resume is ideally supposed to be just a page long. A CV, short for ‘curriculum vitae’ could be a little more detailed, with two or three pages.
‘Resumes’ are used in the United States, Canada and Australia. CVs are used everywhere in the world including the UK, New Zealand, Asia and the European Union.
If this is a bit too complicated to understand, the good news is that the two terms are used in an interchangeable manner in India, New Zealand and South Africa. You could now just focus on creating a CV and tweak it according to the country where you have applied. (Source)
Now, let us get to creating one!
You need to list down your skills, that is, your key expertise. These are what the recruiters would screen through.
Your work experience needs to be added. You begin with the latest, then the one before, then the one before (you get the drill, right?) and right up to your first job.
You also include your work tenure. You have to be particular here:include not just the duration but the years of joining and quitting. Make sure to include the location. Basically, where on Earth have you been when you were at this job?
Also, if you have had a particularly short stint at a role or you have had to change jobs too frequently, include your reasons. You don’t want to come off as a job hopper to the recruiters! Make sure to convey your reliability this way so that there is no fear that you would suddenly quit or stop showing up at work.
You have to include your job responsibility. What all you handle at your current job/ what did you handle at your previous job. Make sure to write only your responsibilities and not blindly copy-paste the ones you might come across from sampled CVs.
Essentially, you subtly sell and market yourself. It is a job “market” after all.
You continue the self selling and the marketing and list down your educational qualifications. You write down your degree, the institution where you did your degree from, the year you finished your degree.
You include your contact details: your name, very very obviously, but it’s always a good idea to check such a seemingly basic thing. Your E-Mail I.D, contact number, address, Skype I.D have to be there.
Your age, and date of birth are important because certain jobs do have age limits.
The subtle self-marketing continues as you list down the languages you know.
You tell your prospective employers what a well-rounded personality you have as you list down your other skills, and your interest areas.
It is important that you are honest. Do not copy and paste. Imagine if everyone copied and pasted a few samples. Every other CV would end up looking the same. We certainly don’t want that, do we? A personalised CV is a lot more attractive.
Check, double check, triple check your spellings, punctuation and grammar. You may or may not be applying for the job of a proof-reader but you must use that skill for scanning though your own CV. Ask your trusted friends and family to go over the document. An external observer could spot mistakes you might have overlooked.
Check the layout. Make sure it looks professional and tidy. Imagine your reaction if you were the employer and a CV such as yours came to you.
The format should be that of Word and PDF. Provide the necessary links and URLs.
Draft and re-draft your CV if needed.
Once you have got a hang of it, and if you want to notch it up a bit, you could check out the concept of video-resumes. They directly showcase your communication skills, personality and your overall presentation. Although you must make sure that they are accepted where you are planning to apply.
Video or no video, using a neat photograph of yours accompanying your CV is a good idea.
Lastly, what not to do: if you don’t have some essential job requirements, you shouldn’t apply. You could be under-qualified or over-qualified for the role. Besides this fact, in case some of your experience matched very well to the job role, then you may apply stating this fact , and highlighting it. Here, you do the self marketing and selling a little loudly and clearly.
Do not list completely unrelated skills. The skills you talk about on your CV should always be relevant to the role you are applying for. This is where tailoring comes in. For every role you should ensure you are highlighting the skills it requires and remove any completely irrelevant skills or experience.
It is always a good idea to research online as you go on creating your CV. Make sure you create something original. Use the samples just as samples.
Again, try to use your imagination and see if you would be pleased as an employer/recruiter if you received a CV such as yours.