Your curriculum vitae, AKA resume or CV, is a one to two page document. It should highlight your accomplishments and information related to the job you are seeking. If you have less than a decade of experience you should keep it to one page. If you have more than a decade or a deep level of experience than two pages is fine. But, never more than two.
Curriculum Vitae – First Look
People who will look at your curriculum vitae the first time will probably spend less than one minute scanning it over. They often have many resumes to look at. By only including the most important information on your curriculum vitae you will be able to keep it to two pages or less. You will also have a better chance for your resume to capture that person’s attention.
Resumes are often scanned electronically first. This is done to match job related terms to the keywords on your resume. It’s a way for non-related resumes to be weeded out from the start.
So, be sure to know what the relevant terms are for the job you are seeking. Then, make sure your resume has them. These terms are usually related to specific skills. You obviously need to have those skills before using those terms on your curriculum vitae.
There are certain things that shouldn’t be put in your resume. Avoid information that’s unrelated to the job you are seeking. Don’t include age, personal information or physical descriptions. The phrase “References available upon request” is outdated. If references are needed, you will be asked. Lastly, don’t list hobbies or spare time activities unless they are specifically and obviously related to the job. By avoiding these items you’ll have more room for the important content.
Curriculum Vitae – What to Include
A typical resume would include your name centered prominently on top. Shortly after that, include your city, state and zip code. You should also list your phone number and email address. With LinkedIn so popular now, you may want to include your LinkedIn ID as well.
Important sections following your contact information would include the title of the job you’re applying for, a brief paragraph with your selling points and a bulleted list of your skills (target your skill keywords here).
Following that, list your previous employers and work dates. Under each employer, indicate your job titles, a short paragraph about what you did, and then a few bullets describing the challenges you faced and how you solved them. If you can quote facts and figures such as dollars saved or percentage improvements, that will go a long way to establish you as a leader and problem solver.
At the bottom, list relevant degrees and/or education. Consider listing training courses you’ve taken if it pertains to the job you are seeking.
Curriculum Vitae – General Tips
Many people think that they should have one resume and that document should be provided for all jobs. Here’s a different approach. Start off with a general resume, but, fine tune it for the specific job listing just before you submit it. By doing this, you will have resumes that are more targeted to the requirements of the job you are submitting for. Don’t forget to bring that specific version of your resume to the interview.
Keep your resume’s format consistent throughout. Use the same font, keep headings and bullets aligned neatly and make clean use of white space and margins.
When listing previous positions, align the years worked to the right. Months are not needed.
Avoid acronyms unless they are specific to your industry. In general spell out words instead of using abbreviations. An exception to this is in the Information Technology industry where typically, programming language skills are abbreviated. e.g. SQL
List your most recent experience first, followed by your next most recent and so on.
Use strong action words such as “managed”, “analyzed”, “changed”, “ensured”, “developed”, “mentored”, etc.
Keep sentences brief but clear.
Use terminology that’s relevant to today and don’t forget to spell check before sending it out.
By following the above advice you should be able to assemble your curriculum vitae into a great marketing brochure for yourself. Remember to sell yourself well.
Photo Credit: the Italian voice
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