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Step by step guide to writing a great CV

Nowadays all job openings require you to send a CV and a cover letter, so that your potential employers can easily see which candidates are suitable for the particular job. It’s the most important document when you apply for a job, so here’s a step by step guide to writing a great CV:

Step by step guide to writing a great CV

What is a CV?

‘CV’ stands for ‘Curriculum Vitae’, which literally translated means ‘a history of life.’ Sometimes it’s called summary or autobiography. It is a document which describes your qualifications, education and work experience. This document, along with the Cover Letter, form the first impression about you in a potential employer. The purpose of this document is to get you an interview with your employer.

Therefore, the CV should be seen as a marketing document that helps you to ‘sell’ your skills and qualifications so you’ll get the job that you want.

Step by step guide to writing your CV

Each CV should contain several sections with basic information about you, so here’s a step by step guide to writing a great CV:

Personal information

In this section you have to introduce yourself with your name and surname, date of birth, telephone number and e-mail for contact. Sometimes, you need to write down your address too so that the employer will be able to schedule the interview for a suitable day if you don’t live in the same town, but the address usually doesn’t matter.

All other data is useless unless the job opening requires more details to describe yourself.

Education

It isn’t recommended to write a few sentences and basic information about your education. To write a good CV, first you need to start with your highest level of education that you’ve completed and then you go backwards and write it down all the way to your high school. (For example Master – Bachelor – High School). It’s also good to write down your university and high school name and place and the year in which you’ve completed the education.

If you’ve completed some specialized courses related to the position you’re applying for, write them down in your CV.

Work experience

This section should give information about your work experience, presented in reverse chronological order, i.e starting from the last position.

You can give a brief description of your previous position, the basic activities that you’ve dealt with and your achievements.

Other skills

In this section you can specify if you know any foreign languages, computer knowledge, published books, articles, etc. When it comes to knowledge of foreign languages, it’s important to specify what is your level of reading, speaking and writing.

Write down most computer programs that you can work with. Be careful what you write down and be honest, and don’t write down things that you don’t know.

Interests and achievements

Information about your interests and achievements isn’t mandatory but is recommended to be specified. This way your potential employer will get a picture of you as a person.

Write down your hobbies, but don’t overdo it with a long list, because you can leave the impression that you try to fill the CV with less important data. You can list all the relevant awards, which you have won.

Additional information

Depending on the position for which you apply, you need to decide what other information can help you to stand out from other candidates and give you a chance to prove that you are the right person for that position.

If  you want, you can specify your family status, possession of a driver’s license and so on.

Mistakes that people make when writing a CV

Very often job candidates make mistakes when writing a CV. Some of these mistakes that you shouldn’t make are:

CV that’s too long. All information that you want to give to the potential employer should be as short as possible and clear. Don’t use too many words and sentences when you describe things.
Excessive use of first person. If you use ‘I’ in almost every sentence, it might show arrogance and egotism.
Spelling and grammatical errors. It is important to check the text written in the CV, and don’t allow any spelling mistakes in it. Spelling and grammatical errors can be interpreted as a lack of interest or computer illiteracy.
Disorganization. The data in your CV should be organized into several sections: personal data, education, work experience, foreign languages and so on.
Badly formatted text. Choose beautiful fonts for your text in your CV. The text should be arranged in paragraphs that have enough space between them so your potential employer can immediately scan the text and find what he/she needs without bothering to read everything.

Remember that with your CV you try to ‘sell’ your skills to the prospective employer. If you’re unable to write the CV properly, please ask someone to help you.

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