Finding a job can be a job in itself. The first thing to consider when finding a job is ensuring you have a detailed and succinct CV / resume. So what do you need to consider when drawing up your CV? Its not rocket science, but there is a few hard and fast rules you need should adhere to to ensure you're getting as much detail across as possible but keeping in mind that when you submit your CV / resume the hiring manager and / or recruiter is able to quickly ascertain your relevance to the role you've applied to is summarized in the first page or two of your CV. Below I have compiled a basic “template” of how your CV / resume should flow – note the emphasis is on flow.
Note that the following “template” is for White-collar workers – this is where my recruitment experience has been.
- Clearly state your name, address, email address and phone number to which people can contact you.
- A professional summary of your career to date and the skills you have picked up over the years.
- Education / Qualifications. Clearly describe your education, degree's and certifications line by line. Note: If you have achieved certifications, ensure you comment on whether they are current or expired, e.g.
- Attended XYZ University from 2001 - 2004 – completed XYZ undergraduate degree
- Attended XYZ University from 2004 – 2006 – completed XYZ postgraduate degree
- Completed XYZ certification – ID number (current)
Your soft skills matrixBasically a table of skills you possess relevant to your experience. e.g.
|Skills||Years||Rating out of 10|
Your hard skills matrixThis is essentially a table of applications or platforms you may have used in your career to date. This section is particularly important for those people in IT jobs or administrative jobs. e.g.
|Skills||Years||Rating out of 10|
Professional experience summaryIf you have more than 10 years of experience please only state the last 10 years of where you have been employed. The rest can be put into a similar summary at the end of the next section – Professional Experience. Note: If you were in the same company that whole time but you had several roles in that 10 years make note of that in the summary with the various job titles and the dates you were in those roles. e.g.
- Sales Director – XYZ company – Date started to Present
- Sales Manager – XYZ company – Date started to Date finished
- Account Manager – XYZ company – Date started to Date finished
Professional experienceThis is a detailed account of the roles you have worked in your career. Again, keep this to a 10 year maximum. The usual standard is to describe the most relevant experience first and working your way backwards through your career. Note: If you were in the same company that whole time but you had several roles in that 10 years make note of that in the summary with the various job titles and the dates you were in those roles.
Sales Director – XYZ company – Date started to Present
Here would be a paragraph describing the company or organization you work/worked for.
- Responsibilities - You should “dot point” the main responsibilities you had in this particular role. Make sure they are real responsibilities and not fluffy. A good place to find these responsibilities is from the original job description you were given before starting the role.
- Achievements – Again “dot point” the achievements you had in this role. These achievements have to have had a real and definite impact on the business. Include awards you may have received in this position.
Note: If you’ve had less than a 10 year career you should detail all of your roles.
AwardsWrite down a summary of awards you have achieved over the years.
CoursesSummarise the courses you may have attended throughout the various roles you’ve had.
Personal InterestsA quick summary of the things that interest you in your personal life. e.g. Travel, cooking, sport such as football, golf, rugby etc. Don't use a lot of space for this, but some companies / recruiters like to get a feel for your cultural fit.
Personal ReferencesAlways write “available on request”. Never write down who your referee’s are and in particular their contact details as this information can sometimes be used by people (in particular recruiters) to build out their business development contact list.
If you keep this format / template you will definitely ensure you are getting across the relevant information for line managers and / or recruiters to determine whether or not you are relevant to the role you have applied for.
Notes:I would always ensure you write a job cover letter to accompany your CV tailored to each role you apply for (never more than 1 page). If you have the time I would also encourage you to tailor your CV to highlight or add where you’ve had relevant experience particular to the job ad you’re applying to. This helps greatly in ensuring you’re shortlisted for an interview.
I’m sure in your research you will see references that say you shouldn’t have a CV longer than 1 page or 2 pages or others will suggest it must not exceed 5 pages. Depending where you are in the world some of these suggestions have merit. The easiest way to determine this is to do some more research on the particular country you reside. Having said that in my experience it is always worth writing as much detail as possible when first compiling your CV / resume for two reasons. 1. You can always shorten your CV in quick time to suit the application you are submitting for. 2. If you have written a detailed CV / resume it means you have thought long and hard about the experience you have gained over the years and bought it to the foremost part of your mind and when in the interview process it will be easier to recall and describe succinctly to your potential employer and thus leave a much more professional image in their minds.
Once you’ve compiled your CV you will find it easier to maintain as you continue your various career moves, as the “baseline” will already be in place.
Be sure to keep an eye out for my upcoming blogs which will give you tips on where to search for a job as well as tips for the interview process.