Writing a CV (Curriculum Vitae) or resume can be a daunting task. That is why this article aims to provide practical tips on how to write a CV. If you are a student or first-time job seeker, you’ll find the tips helpful.
Let’s start with the difference between a CV and a resume.
How to write a CV – differences
A CV provides well-written statements rather than bullet points of key details about you in a job application. Understandably, the CV may take more than two pages. Whereas a resume contains detail in bullet points and takes up to two pages.
The three differences between a CV and resume are Length, Purpose and Layout. The tips below will help you write a CV that will help you score your dream job.
As mentioned, a resume is short usually 1 to 2 pages, concise and laid out with bullet points. Whereas, a CV can span more than 3 pages and written in complete sentences that are well linked together.
Many PNG job advertisements specify the number of pages. If the employers (recruitment agents) ask for 1 or 2 pages they are probably asking for your resume, instead of a CV. Therefore, write a resume giving the details bullet points.
However, if the job advert asks for more than two pages, then the employer is asking for a CV. So, write your job application in detail without using bullet points for every information under the CV’s sub-headers.
As a rule of thumb, a CV gains more traction with the employers that a resume. This is because a CV has more information about the applicant.
Tip: Find out whether the job advertisement asks for your CV or resume before writing your job application.
The content gives the answer to the question of how to write a CV. In fact, many job applicants are unsuccessful because the content is not clear to the person reviewing the job application.
Here are 5 ways to make the intention (content details) of a CV or resume stand out: Qualification – Are you qualified for the job?; Experience – Do you have the right experience (If you are a student, describe the right skill and knowledge, and attainment – the transferrable skill – relevant to the job)?; Commitment – Are you are a person who is conscious of time and attendance to work?; New challenge – if you have the capacity to do the job, you should not exaggerate the facts or lie in your application and Achievement – The extra ‘thing’ that sets you apart from other applicants such as special attainment, charity work, practicum, etc.
IMPORTANT: The content of a CV should reflect the position you are applying for. Any unnecessary detail can put your CV straight in the bin.
As mentioned earlier, the layouts (headers) are similar when writing a CV or resume. The difference is that a CV can span more than 2 pages, whereas a resume is usually less than 2 pages.
Either of them does the same job – convincing the employer that you are the right applicant. Therefore, it is important to use what you think is best for your job application.
You will want to include the following layout headers: your name, contact information, educational qualification, related work experience, level of competence, referees contact and Your references or write “References available upon request.”
The hobbies are, probably, the only part CV layout where you tell the employer what your passions really are. Things about your that may not be related to the job but shape you as a person of good reputation.
Students and first-time job applicants
State your GPA or school certificate results clearly under the ‘Your references’ line if you are not going to attach copies of your Transcript or Certificates. By doing this, you give the employer insight into your academic performance. If you have good marks, there is no point hiding them. This will get you shortlisted the first time.
The difficulty with writing a student’s CV is that there are not many experiences to include in it. But do not worry. The key is to acknowledge that fact that you are a student applicant. And, state your GPA, attainment, or special award clearly and emphasise on it. By doing that will compensate for the few experiences you may have had.
Tip: Ensure only details relevant to the job you are applying for are included: must be condensed, concise and informative.
Cover letter vital
In fact, it is important to write a great cover letter. Ideally, the cover letter summarises the entire CV. Bear in mind that the cover letter is the first thing the employer or employing agent sees. So, you want to make a good first impression.
Below are some tips that will help you to write a good CV.
What is a CV punchline?
The punchline is the statement that will make the prospecting employer read the applicant’s CV. And, hopefully, employ him/her.
For an applicant to just write ‘I am an experienced person or ideal candidate with good marks/GPA’ is not enough. You must clearly say why. Go a step further by substantiating why you are a better applicant.
For example, write about a specific target achieved such as:
In my last employment I did […this and that……] which makes me an ideal candidate for this job. Or, I was the School Representative Council leader from 2019 – 2021. In the three years, I was able to [.…..]. If given the chance I will use the people skills I have to […….].
Always sound positive. When you include a negative report, state how you managed to turn that negative into positive.
Include any transferable skills which may benefit the employer. For example, if you are good dealing with people, you may want to state how you can use the skill to perform the role specified in the job description.
Alternatively, if you are good with the writing, clearly identify the skill about writing as a transferable skill you can use to accomplish a task within the organisation.
Use CV punchline
Perhaps it is important to clearly state one (just one) thing that is highly relevant to the job on offer when writing a CV. I call it the ‘punchline’.
The punchline in your CV is the sentence that will convince the interviewer. So, your job application turns up in the shortlisted folder.
How to handle a Job Interview?
Unlike writing the CV, the interview can be ten times daunting. Ominously, this is the time when the interviewer puts the name to the face. So keep a cool, calm and collected demeanour.
In most interviews, the prospective candidates may be asked to say something. Inevertently, this is a positive sign. In fact, it is telling you that you may, just, be the person the interviewer is looking for.
The next part is where you siege the opportunity to tell the interviewer that you are the person they are looking for.
Link CV and Job Interview
Remember the punchline that I mentioned above? Cool, 😊. There are two ways to make a stance and deliver, what I call, the know-out blow.
Firstly, thank the interviewer for the opportunity (be polite) and then ask the interviewer to clarify anything that you may have misheard (or misunderstood) during the interview before responding.
Secondly, and the most effective response technique is to emphasise the ‘punchline’ mentioned earlier. The aim is to give the job interview a knockout blow so that the interviewer will pick you as the person they are looking for.
Tip: Use a ‘line’ in your written CV that you believe is selling you well and emphasise it with specific examples.
Summary of Tips
From writing a CV to interview, always bear these tips in mind.
- Find out whether the job advertisement asks for your CV or resume before writing your job application.
- The content of a CV should reflect the position you are applying for.
- Ensure only details relevant to the job you are applying for are included: must be condensed, concise and informative.
- Use the ‘punchline’ in your written CV that you believe is selling you well and emphasise it with specific examples.
- Be honest, measured, cool, calm and collected. It is the first impression that matters.
- Be on time.
The articles on this website are my way of giving back to the community and help students to be successful. How to Write a CV is one of them. You may also want to read the article on How to Start a Blog. If you like it, please share with your friends.
Here is an example earlier on PNG Insight Blog of a How to Write a Resume.