Whether you are looking for your first job or have some experience under your belt, resume or curriculum vitae (CV) writing can still be a challenging task. Your CV, along with your cover letter, form your first impression to a potential employer. Knowing how to write a great CV will significantly increase your chances of landing a job interview as it is an easy way to set yourselves apart from others.
In a nutshell, a resume is used by job applicants to present their educational and professional backgrounds alongside their skills and achievements.
Importance of a good CV
You should think of your CV or resume like an advertisement, where you are the featured product. Your CV should present succinct answers to questions a hiring manager might initially have about you, ultimately having a direct impact on whether you progress to the next round of an application process. Things like formatting, design, language, and structure are super important factors you should focus on when writing your CV.
How to structure your CV
Contact DetailsStart with your name, email (a professional sounding one), mobile number and LinkedIn URL. If you have a digital portfolio, definitely link it up to the top as well!
EducationKeep it concise by listing your highest level of education. More often than not this will mean writing your university, degree, start and (forecasted) completion dates, grades, and qualifications you obtained or will obtain. This can be followed by your high school and HSC ATAR.
Professional ExperienceThis section includes the company name, role title, start and finish dates, achievements, responsibilities and the key skills you developed. Your positions should be listed in reverse order, starting with the most recent.
As you build up more experience, the roles you mention may differ between applications. This is because it's better to keep your resume and tailored to the role you are applying for.
When describing your role achievements and tasks, quantify your impact as much as possible using things like numbers and metrics. You should avoid describing the role responsibilities and focus on the value you specifically added.
Leadership / Extracurricular ActivitiesThis can include anything from society memberships, volunteering, association involvement, and awards. The content included should be similar to what has been outlined above in the professional experience section. Make sure to add contextual information here such as a link to the website of where you volunteered or how many years you've played in a sports team.
If you worked on a project that required the use of technical skills or tools, make sure you mention them, as well as your proficiency.
MiscellaneousYou can choose to have a miscellaneous section if you deem it to be appropriate or if you have space. You can put things such as additional technical skills, languages, hobbies and interests.
Use strong action wordsStrong action words improve your writing, and help the employer understand why you should be the chosen one. It's also a great way to stand out. Check out this in-depth list by Zety.
Keep it 1-2 pagesRecruiters only look at a resume for about 6-7 seconds. You might think that's not enough, but when you have one thousand applications to look through, that's all the time they have. Odds are, you don't have to add every single achievement, work experience and volunteering into your resume. Make sure every single line has a reason to be there so that you can keep it to a concise 1-2 pages.
Spell and Grammar CheckThese types of errors are memorable and you don't want to put yourself behind others just because of a small spelling or grammar error. Make sure it's all correct before submitting it.
Avoid funky designs and photosEven though you want to stand out, don't stand out in the wrong way. Funky and colourful designs often don't go too far, depending on the type of position. A photo shouldn't be used to avoid any biases or subconscious judgements by the recrutier.
Tailor it as much as possibleUse relevant experiences and keywords from the job description in a clear and concise manner.
That wraps up our article on how to write a CV. Check out our article on writing a cover letter so you can go into application season as prepped as you need to be!