The purpose of the CV (Curriculum Vitae) is to obtain an interview. Your CV conveys your professional image and is therefore your main selling point. It is worth taking enough time to prepare it thoroughly and methodically as it defines your added value.
Generally speaking, a recruiter spends 30 seconds on a first reading of your CV. If s/he finds it interesting then s/he will spend an extra few minutes to read it in more detail, otherwise it will be discarded. Thus your CV has to be concise and relevant!
- Should be concise and clear (one or two pages maximum) and pleasant to read
- Include relevant information but avoid wordiness
1. Heading / Personal information
- Do not write “Curriculum Vitae” as a title
- First name and LAST NAME centered on the top of the page
- Address, phone number, and email
- Nationality and work permit
- Date of Birth
- Marital status
- Driver License (optional)
- Photo (not mandatory but usually expected, except in US/Canada)
2. Objective Line
This line states what you are looking for and what you bring to the company. In other words, it gives a clear indication of your own objective and should be in line with the main message of your cover letter.
- An objective line is recommended when looking for an internship as it helps an employer to narrow down the application, and should include the department you are interested in and the dates you are available.
- For graduates, an objective line is optional but can be added to help orient the reader to a view of your experience and future plans. It should be very precise and in line with the main message of your cover letter.
Give a list in chronological order with most recent school first. There is no need to go back to primary school.
Include the name of the diploma or degree and the year it was awarded. Make certain that you use the official terms, i.e. in the language awarded, plus an explanation of its equivalent value in English in parentheses.
4. Professional experience
Your professional experience does not only include your technical competences, but also your soft skills.
You need to mention the following facts, starting with the most recent:
- Date of position/internship
- Name of company, city, country
- Details of your responsibilities
Advice: If you have done several internships, it is best to group them by domain, such as internships in service, kitchen, or sales.
5. Extra-curricular or additional activities
Any responsibilities or specific duties you may have had, which give relevant information about your professional and personal competences, as well as your interpersonal skills.
Therefore, do not hesitate to include the names of committees and organizations of which you are/were a member, as well as the type of duties and responsibilities you have/had.
List the languages you speak together with your level of fluency in these as in the example below:
- English: Mother tongue
- French: Intermediate spoken and written
- Spanish: Fluent spoken, basic written
- Italian: Beginner spoken
N:B You can add the corresponding level from the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages after your description (B1, B2)
7. Computer skills
Mention the standard and specific programmes you can use: Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Access, and PowerPoint); Fidelio, Opéra, Micros...
8. Hobbies and personal interests
Your personal interests are important if they convey aspects of personality such as open-mindedness, generosity and commitment. They may also give information about leadership skills and responsibilities.
This article was first published on the EHL blog.