How to Write a CV or Resume that Catches an Employer’s or Recruiter’s Attention

Writing a CV or Resume can be a daunting task. If you haven’t written one in a long time, or are looking to revamp an existing, it is advisable to reflect on the format and the content prior. There are a lot of free CV templates to be found on the web, including Microsoft Word templates.

When applying for a position, you may feel that you are the ideal candidate. However, Recruiters and Hiring Managers may receive hundreds of other applications. Your CV should catch their attention straight away  This will keep them reading and keep your CV from being discarded, before they move on to the next applicant.

A well written CV is very important. It is generally the first impression the reader has of you. Therefore, you want to make an excellent first impression, which will make you stand out from the others.  The following is list of tips, to help you write a successful CV.

  • Clear and Professional: To include your Profile at the top, followed by headings for: Summary Statement, Employment History, Education, Hobbies. You may also want to add Associations. Better to avoid when possible icons or graphics. Use a font that is readable. Don’t try to be creative, unless the role requires artistic or graphic skills.
  • Length: Keep it concise and to the point (one to two pages). One is best. If you are seeking an academic, medical or legal role, your CV may be more than the one to two pages format.
  • Spelling: Have your CV proofread by someone else before sending it out.
  • Key words: Check the job description for the unique key words relevant to the requirements and profile. Use them, where possible, throughout your CV.
  • Summary Statement: A CV or Resume Summary Statement is found at the top, after the profile details. It is a summary of your qualifications for the position. How to write a Summary Statement, is the topic of a future article.
  • Employment History: List each employment in chronological order (with the most recent first). For each, list a summary of your responsibilities. Under the responsibilities, use bullet points to highlight your accomplishments. If you have a long career history where the beginning of your career is not relevant to your recent positions or career goals, then it is sometimes not necessary to add these first employments. There is no general rule on how many years’ experience to note on your CV. It will all depend on the position you are applying for and the relevance of the first employments to this.

Long work experience gaps in employment history: this will be discussed in a future article.

  • Education: If you have completed higher education (E.g. PhD, Masters, MBA, Degree), you don’t need to add your secondary education. Any Awards you received, should be added, as well as any study you are currently undertaking. If your level of education is a requirement to the role in question, insert it in the Summary Statement.
  • Honesty: Do not lie about work experience, accomplishments or education.

BEFORE EMBARKING ON writing a CV, you need to invest time to think about and note down: what you want, what you can offer to the role, the company who is recruiting, your work experiences, accomplishments. Sometimes, our dream job requires certain specific experiences and education. If the role requires 5 years mandatory in a niche domain or expertise which you don’t possess, then your chances of being called for interview are very slight, possibly zero.

If your dream job requires certain hard skills you don’t have, however, you possess certain soft skills which could be interesting for the role, then take your chances. In this case, in your Motivation Letter, highlight these soft skills with concrete examples and explanations.

Once you have your perfect CV, start approaching the companies and positions which fall into your career objectives. Job searching takes planning and strategy. For other related articles on this, which are already posted on the blog, please consult:

All the best for your CV writing and see you back soon, for other related articles!

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