Mastering the Art of CV Building: Your Comprehensive Guide to Creating a Winning Resume in 2024
So, you’re searching for a job and want to learn how to make a great CV? Well, there’s a skill to crafting an application that catches the attention of the person hiring. Before you begin, it’s important to know what to put in your CV. Fortuitously, you’ve come to the right place.
In the guide below, we’ll explain everything you need to understand about this. Check out the nine most important things you should always have in your CV, and also find out what information you should leave out. This will help make sure that your job applications stand out and impress every employer.
How to structure your CV
If you are willing to make a strong impression on hiring managers, your resume needs a clear and effective format. If you don’t organize it well from the start, you might stumble right out of the gate. Don’t worry, we’ve got the solutions you’re seeking. Let’s look at the essential components that your CV should have:
1. Header (Name and Contact Information)
2. Personal Profile
3. Core Competencies/Skills Section
4. Employment History/Work Experience
We’ve covered the essential elements your CV should include, haven’t we? Occasionally, it’s wise to add a little extra to make yourself stand out. However, the decision to include these extras should be made case by case. Consider the following additional sections:
- Voluntary Experience
- Awards and Certificates
- Professional Affiliations and Memberships
- Hobbies and Interests
In the upcoming sections, we’ll guide you on how to effectively fill out each of these additional sections and what all details to include. As you’ll discover, there’s a strategic way to present each of these sections. Including comprehensive coverage in your CV will enhance your chances of grabbing the attention of the hiring manager. After all, it’s all about making a lasting impression.
- Header (Name and Contact Information)
Let’s start your CV with your name – just your first and last names, no need to add middle names. Add your job title with your name; that will be your CV’s headline. Forget about using “curriculum vitae” – not needed.
Right next to your name and job title, share your contact info, like your phone number and email. Back in the day, people used to give their full home address, but now, since mail isn’t a big deal, just mention your town.
So, in a nutshell, your CV’s title is your name and job title, and your contact info is just your phone, email, and town. Keep it simple and skip the extra details.
2. Personal profile
Now, onto the next part of your CV – your profile. People call it by different names, like personal profile, professional profile, or personal statement, but it all serves one big purpose.
Your profile is a quick snapshot for the employer. In about five lines, it should tell them what you do, what you can offer for the job, and where you’re heading in your career. It should be short but impactful. The goal behind this is to show the employer that the rest of your CV is worth checking out. So, try to make it impactful and relevant to the job you’re applying for.
3. Core competencies
Next up, if you’ve got a bunch of skills and qualifications that make you the perfect candidate for the role, add a section “Core Competencies”. Usually, you’ll find this section right under “profile”.
You can add around six to ten of your top skills with bullet points. This tells the hiring manager straight away that you’re a great fit for the job. Your skills can be technical or more people-oriented. For example – certifications, awards, or even specific tools or software you’re good at. It not only gives the employer a quick look at what you can do, but it also helps your CV when it goes through any applicant tracking systems (ATS).
4. Employment history/work experience
Now, about your work history – one of the most crucial parts of your CV. This section lays out your job history starting from the latest and going backward.
For each job profile, mention when you worked there, your job title, and the company’s name, and then use bullet points to talk about what was your role and what you achieved. These experiences are the stars of your CV because they showcase your skills and what you’re good at, everything based on your work journey.
Your recent job should get the most attention since it’s most likely the highlight of your career. So, it gets more attention. But as you go back to your previous employment, each job profile needs less space. If a job profile is more than 10 years old, you can even decide to leave it out completely. Keep it focused on what matters most now.
5. Volunteer experience
This is something optional yet powerful- your volunteer experience. It can really boost your CV, especially if it connects with the job profile you’re applying for. This is particularly helpful if you have gaps in your work history, if you’re switching careers, or if you’re a fresh graduate.
When you add volunteer work to your CV, you can either treat it like any other job in your Employment History section or create a separate section just for volunteering. Include your role, the organization’s name, and when you worked there. Then, use bullet points to state what was your role and what you’ve achieved.
Always customize your volunteer experience to fit the job you’re applying for. And don’t forget to add on some keywords from the job posting to make it a perfect match. It’s a neat way to make your CV stand out.
Let’s now discuss your education, which goes in the same reverse order as your employment history. At the least, add the name and level of your qualification, where you got it, and when you got it.
If you’re just kicking off your career and your education is a big deal, go ahead and add some bullet points. Share details about assignments, placements, and skills you picked up during each part of your education.
Remember that the most important information is the name of your qualification, where you got it, and when you got it.
Awards and certifications
Thinking about adding some awards and certifications to your CV? That’s a great idea! These could include your academics, industry achievements, work successes, or even things you’ve done while volunteering.
When listing your accomplishments, don’t forget to include the official award name, the reason behind it, its significance, and the date of receipt. For example, “Won the 2015 Student Publication Association’s Best of Student Media Award for the ‘Ant Infestation at Telford Court’ news story.”
Now, for certifications, keep it simple. Simply state who issued the certificate to you, when you earned it, and its official title. Like, “Hubspot Inbound Marketing Certification Course 2018” or “PRINCE2 Practitioner 2016.”
Adding awards and certifications gives your CV more credibility. It’s another way of having someone else confirm your excellence, and that’s a big deal to potential employers.
Professional affiliations and memberships
If you’re part of any professional groups, it’s a good move to add them to your CV. It shows your participation in the field and commitment to your work.
Simply write the organization’s name and membership category (e.g., student, professional, fellow, associate). For example, if you’re a member of The Law Society, you could write it as “The Law Society (Member).” If you’re a Fellow at the Royal College of Nursing, it might look like “Fellow – Royal College of Nursing (RCN).”
There’s no strict rule on how to list these memberships, simply keep it consistent throughout your CV. It’s another way to demonstrate to prospective employers your dedication to your career.
Hobbies and interests
If you want to give your CV an extra boost, consider adding a Hobbies and Interests section if you think it’ll add some value to your CV.
Make sure your interests and hobbies are relevant to the work. Your passion for football or reading won’t matter much to an e-scooter or e-bike company if you’re looking for a marketing position. However, if you’re a cyclist or interested in sustainability, that’s great because it demonstrates that you and the company share similar values.
An interest section can give your resume a more personal touch and show recruiters more about you, especially if you’re just starting out in your career or changing career paths. Just don’t overshare and make sure it’s pertinent and engaging. It’s about incorporating some color into your resume without going overboard.
In short, creating a strong CV doesn’t need to be complicated. We’ve covered the essential sections you should include in your application. It’s crucial to have the core sections we talked about. As for the optional ones, think about how they add value to your application. If a section doesn’t make your application stronger, it’s okay to skip it. Create a CV that highlights your greatest attributes and leaves a lasting impression on prospective employers.