This blog post is the second of a 6 part series by Silvia on the topic of writing a CV and a motivation letter. Part 1 provided Tips for a Winning CV. Part 3 will be posted shortly.
Each job is different, so should be your CV.
Your CV must be targeted according to the type of job you are applying for, the type of company that placed the ad and the country and language. Customizing your CV may be the key to getting the interview that will give you the job.
It does look like a lot of work to make a new CV for every job you apply for, but it is easier than you think.
Have a full CV ready to be “pruned”
Make a complete CV. Choose a neat layout that would be acceptable for every use and divide it in the different sections a CV should have; Contact Details, Qualifications, Work Experience, Interests, etc.
Concentrate on each section and include every single part of your history in chronological order, starting from the most recent course or job. Each item should have
(1) a title corresponding to the position you had in a certain job or a certificate you obtained from a course or the degree you obtained from University (for example “Receptionist” or “Notary Public”, and if you are writing the CV in a foreign language you should include the translation, stating the equivalent degree depending on the country);
(2) name of the company you worked for or the Institute you got your certificate from (include the website if you are in a foreign country);
(3) the date ;and finally
(4) a short, concise description of what you did there or skills you gained.
Don’t worry about length at this point. A typical CV should have a maximum of 2 pages when you send it but your full CV may be as long as 5 pages!
Remember to update it from time to time and have it ready in your computer to modify it when an opportunity arises.
What to change
Depending on the job you want to obtain, you will have to change the focus of attention in your CV. The focus will always be at the beginning of your CV and at the beginning of each section.
If applying for a job that demands work experience in a certain field, choose to start with your Work Experience. Also, if you are a professional you may want to start with that section as it is obvious you have a degree or you would not be applying for that position. This does not mean you do not need to include your Qualifications, but you may impress them more by the fact that you were the Managing Director of a certain company than by the fact that you got a degree from a certain University.
If you have little Work Experience but good Qualifications, then place these at the top.
The employer does not need to know your biography and does not have the time to go over every detail of your history. In many cases including some information may be harmful. If you are applying for a job in financing, do you think they need to know that you took a course in French Cuisine?
When it comes to your Work Experience it is important that you leave no gaps. Therefore, you should include all. But you do not need to start from your early years. If you are an accountant and the first job you had in your life was as a waiter in a restaurant, it is not important to include it, unless you are applying for a job in that field and you want to show you know the business from other position.
Also, if your last job was not related to the position you are applying for, but you had a previous job in that field. Go into more detail when listing the previous job. The fact that that item occupies more space will draw the attention of the reader. You may even want to highlight it in some subtle way (like enlarging the font but only by half a point).
Last, but not least, remember to check carefully your contact details every time you send a CV. They will never reach you if you listed an email or telephone you no longer use.
Under no circumstances should you lie in your CV. But intelligent people always find the way to promote themselves by choosing to highlight their good qualities and disguise their flaws or shortages.
In the third part of this series, we move forward to writing a good motivation letter.