A good CV is our greatest tool to make a good first impression with a potential employer. In an increasingly dynamic world, building a visually appealing CV with relevant, clear and succinct information can determine whether we are given the opportunity to better present ourselves in an interview, or whether we are immediately removed from our dream job!
Despite its subjective nature, there are some good practices and tips that we want to share with you so that you can guarantee a great initial presentation!
“Avoid using the Europass format!”
1. How to select the most relevant personal and professional information?
Start with the basic: full name, location (or geographic availability), phone number and email. These are essential for us to be able to reach you. The languages you master, your academic background and relevant certifications, are all important to be explicitly presented in your CV. Your work experience should always include a start and end date, as well as a brief explanation of your responsibilities or achievements. If you’re applying to your first job, make sure you present some of your most relevant academic work and extracurricular experiences. Make sure you summarize! Be clear and straightforward. If you do a good job on your CV, you’ll have time to get into details when we invite you for an interview!
2. Does quantity mean quality?
Not necessarily! Many people have the misconception that their CV must be long to reflect the idea that they have a lot of experience. Or that a person that is freshly staring its career must put everything he/she did (and did not do) on the CV. These are myths! It is important to make a good selection of information. Ideally, the CV should have between one or two pages, which is more than enough to get to know you in the first phase of the process.
3. How to structure the CV?
Here’s a very useful tip for you: Do you have LinkedIn? If your answer is no, then my advice is that you create your professional profile quickly. If so, we recommend that you look at how LinkedIn structures and organizes your career information and get inspired. LinkedIn visual structure is very useful for recruiters because it helps us “read” your path easily. Start from the most recent project to the oldest and do not forget to put the dates so it is clear how long you’ve been in each one. Academic information preferentially comes afterwards. If you are just starting your career you can start with your academic information and better develop this topic including, as I previously mentioned extracurricular activities and projects. Once again be selective, try to organize your experiences in a clear and perceptive manner. Finally, don’t forget to include your personal information and a short introduction in a prominent place, such as on the header or on the side of the page. We like to know you better through your own words!
4. What is the ideal CV format?
There is no ideal or perfect structure. However, my most useful tip here is: avoid using the Europass format! Europass is completely outdated and it’s quite impersonal. Use your research abilities or simply your imagination to come up with a visually pleasing and organized format that allows us to get to know you in clearly and efficiently! It is important not to use strong colours and to avoid coloured backgrounds. Simplifying is key.
5. Did you finish? Review, review and review again!
Believe me: CV’s with mistakes are much more frequent than you think! Our tip? Review all content before submitting it. First, make sure that all your data and contacts are correct and up to date- including your name, email and mobile phone – a simple mistake in your phone number can be the reason why a recruiter didn’t contact you back! Second, read all the information (again and again) and ask another person to do it too. Misspellings, errors or meaningless sentences do not make a good first impression. Finally, if you include hyperlinks, make sure they are all working correctly, otherwise, they will be useless and will work against you making you look careless or negligent.
CV ready? Time to apply for that dream job!
Good luck and many successes!
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Carolina is Corporate Talent Manager at Affinity, responsible for recruiting Affinity's entire Corporate team. Carolina loves to take walks in nature and seeks the best in people with the same dedication that she explores flavours mastering her cooking skills!