Writing a CV can be tricky. How do you know what should be included, what you should avoid or what recruiters are looking for? Perstorp’s HR department wants to help you sort out these questions.
Structure and design
• Find themes that make it easy to get an overview – normally a CV consists of themes such as “educational background”, “professional experience”, “voluntary work/other commitments”, “language skills”, “IT skills” etc., which are often used when writing your CV chronologically. You can complement the chronological themes advantageously with a summary that explains your professional profile in a few sentences and/or a short section that explains your professional goals.
• Make sure you have an easy-to-read structure – this means that it should be easy to get an overview of the content and easy for the recruiter to find what they are looking for. Clear themes are of great help when it comes to structure and to write your CV chronologically, with your most recent experiences at the top, is normally of preference. Remember, when writing your CV chronologically it is important to make sure there are no large unexplained gaps between the time periods.
• Personalize your CV – a CV needs to look professional, but this doesn’t mean flat. Aim for a mixture of conservative and creative when designing your CV. By adding a professional picture of yourself or changing the font for example, you have already distinguished your CV from the masses. Keep in mind that an easy-to-read structure is still priority, which means you don’t want to distract the recruiter from the content by letting your design get too creative.
Customize and keep it short
• Customize your CV to the position you are applying for – this might feel like a lot of extra work, but in fact it will significantly increase your chances of getting an interview. You will be a lot more interesting to a recruiter if you emphasize the experiences, skills and expertise that match the position’s requirements and qualifications. For example, if a position requires higher education and you have studied at university level, you might emphasize the relevant courses during those studies and leave out where you went to high school.
• Keep your CV to a maximum 2 to 3 pages – this is consistent with the previous point. If you emphasize what’s important for the position that you are applying for and leave out things that don’t apply, your CV will be shorter, more relevant and more pleasant for the recruiter to read. Another way to keep your CV short is to avoid long detailed descriptions without any specific purpose; recruiters often look for key words showing that you are capable of doing the job.
General tips & hints
• Avoid clichés and vague descriptions – when describing your skills and expertise, try to explain them by giving examples of what you have accomplished instead of using clichés or vague descriptions that really don’t prove or say anything. For example, if you want to describe yourself as “creative”, you need to support this statement with actual examples of your creativity leading to successful results.
• Don’t forget your contact information – your full name, date of birth, address, phone number and email should be included somewhere on your CV. In terms of space a good idea is to put your contact information under the header or footer.
• Proofread and go through all the details – if your CV looks sloppy, this will actually reduce your chances of getting an interview. When you feel satisfied with your CV, go through it again and look for grammatical mistakes, inconsistencies in design, structure and text size/font. If possible, let someone else read your CV for a second opinion before sending out your application.