ow do you write a good CV? CV is an abbreviation of Curriculum Vitae, which is the Latin word for "course of life" - a description of your life, plain and simple! CVs are used every time you apply for a job so that the recruiter can quickly get useful information about your experience and skills. In this article you can read about how to write a good CV, and why it's important to have a CV when applying for a job.
As a participant in Prepare and Match at Curonova, you will receive personal help with writing your CV and cover letter. Contact us if you want to know more about how we can help you find new opportunities!
Market yourself with a CV
A CV is a short written summary of your qualifications, experience, previous work and education. A CV should highlight what you can do in a way that makes the employer feel that he or she needs you in their business, and wants to call you for an interview. In other words, your CV is a kind of advertising leaflet for yourself!
What is the difference between a CV and a cover letter?
The most obvious difference between a CV and a cover letter is the format. A well-written CV is basically a well thought-out list, whereas a personal letter is written in running text with complete sentences and paragraphing.
A CV and a cover letter may look and feel similar in content, as both are intended to provide an overview of the jobseeker's career and show employers that the person is right for the job. Therefore, a mistake many people make when writing a cover letter is to repeat exactly what is written in their CV – making the cover letter redundant.
The purpose of a cover letter is for you, as a jobseeker, to paint the recruiter a picture of yourself that is more nuanced than a dry and stripped-down list of previous employers.
You could say that whereas your CV lays out your experience in bullet points, your cover letter should draw the lines that connect the dots. Together, they should reveal the whole picture of why you, with your experience, are the best candidate for the job.
So, for example, if you are applying for a job as a sales representative at a company, and your CV says that you worked as a tourist guide between 2007-2010, you can describe in your cover letter how your experience of working as a guide has taught you valuable lessons about how to engage the person you are talking to and create good customer relations. In other words, you use the more formal information contained in your CV to show how your previous experience has prepared you for the job you are applying for.
5 headings that are good to use in a CV:
Here are some headings that you may want to include in your CV. Of course, you can use additional or different headings, but these are usually included and are a good place to start.
1. Contact information
Here you enter essential information such as your name, email and phone number. If you're comfortable with it, it's always best to include a picture of yourself, preferably one where you look happy and inviting. This gives the recruiter a positive impression of you straight away and increases the chances of you being remembered.
2. Work experience
Here you list your previous jobs and write a few short words, no more than a few sentences, about what your duties there were. It may be a good idea to focus on those tasks that are applicable to the job you are applying for.
Here you can list your education if you have any. If you have attended many different courses, it may be a good idea to list only the most relevant ones.
4. Other skills
Here you can indicate your other skills such as language skills, proficiency in computer programs such as Word and Excel, whether you have a driver's license, etc.
Sometimes it can be useful to include references from previous workplaces that can vouch for that you have been a good employee and worker to the employer. Always ask the person in question before you list them so that they are prepared for the possibility of a call from the recruiter.
Read the job advertisement carefully
What many people don't know is that recruiters can use keywords to find specific CVs in a database. That's why it's especially important to include keywords such as English, project manager, university degree and so on in your CV. Recruiters use these keywords to quickly find candidates who have the qualifications they are looking for. When they search for these words, you want to be one of the applicants that comes up.
It is important to use keywords that the employer has used in the headline, so that you capture the recruiter's interest. Therefore, always read the job advertisement carefully and use the keywords you see the employer is looking for.
For example, if you have worked in both sales and customer contact at a company, and the recruiter is looking for a good salesperson, it might be a good idea to use the word salesperson in the title for that work experience.
It's also important to be sure to highlight the part of your skills that match what's being asked for in the ad. You can always look at other ads and take advantage of other posted jobs to see what industry-specific phrases and words they use.
Using these words in your CV will show the employer that you have relevant knowledge of the industry. You can also highlight the qualities you have that seem particularly important to the employer, such as a sense of order or an ability to work well with others.
What a recruiter is looking for in a CV
Recruiters are looking for a clear and simple summary of your previous experience and skills. Use professional but simple language when writing your CV.
It's also important to think about having just the right amount of text. A recruiter should be able to get interested in you quickly without having to read too much. Recruiters often must go through a lot of application documents, so it's only good for them if you are straight to the point.
Having a short CV also shows that you have the ability to summarise and sort out the most relevant information. A CV that is full of text can be difficult to read, which can lead the recruiter to lose interest and choose the next CV that is easier to read. Also, remember to use a font that is easy on the eyes.
Don't forget to always check for spelling mistakes and read through what you've written several times before submitting your application. Mistakes in the text are small things that can nevertheless make a big difference to the impression you make.
Structure your work experience
There are several ways you can present your work experience. You can list it in chronological order, starting from the beginning with your first job. You can also do the opposite and start with your most recent job, or put the work experience you think is most important for the job you are applying for first.
If you have had many jobs and assignments, it might be a good idea to make a qualified selection and only include the experience that is most relevant to the job you are applying for.
There is not necessarily a right or wrong way to do this, but in general it is a good idea to make it as easy as possible for the recruiter by starting with the most relevant experience and leaving less relevant experience at the end (if you are going to include it at all).
Is it important to include side jobs and summer jobs in a CV?
If you have previous experience through side jobs or summer jobs that are relevant, it may be a good idea to include these in your CV.
However, if they are completely irrelevant or if you have a lot of other relevant experience, you don't need to include them, as it may seem like you have only included them as filler. Remember what was written earlier about the importance of a clear and straightforward CV.
If you want to change careers or have previously changed careers
If you have already changed or want to change careers, it is important to justify why you have chosen to change careers in your personal letter. You should be prepared for follow-up questions during the interview, such as: Why have you chosen to change careers? Why did you not enjoy your previous role/career? In what way do you think this career will work better for you?
Your employer wants to be assured that you will be a reliable member of their team.
Writing a CV with no previous experience
We've all applied for jobs for the first time, and when you do it's important to compile the experience you do have. This could be summer jobs, military service, volunteering in different organizations, etc.
In many cases it is a criterion that you have work experience. Therefore, as a newcomer to the labour market, it is a good idea to look for positions where even those with less experience can have a chance, and try to highlight, for example, the advantages of your "youth" or your recent studies. The advantage of being young may be that you are prepared to work hard, have a willingness to learn or have a desire to develop within the company.
Below is an example of a well-structured CV. The design is nice, the text is short and clear, and only the most relevant information is included. A CV can look lots of different ways- the important thing is that your skills and experience are clearly laid out, and that you include essential information such as your name and contact details.
When I submit my CV, what do I write in the email?
Many people don't spend a lot of time drafting a nice email when they submit their application documents, but this is a very important part of the process. The email you send to the employer is their first opportunity to form an opinion of you, so it's important to make a good impression! Here's a list of things to keep in mind before you finally hit "send":
- Use a serious email address
If you have an email that is unclear, perhaps one you have had since you were younger, start by getting a more serious email. The default is to use "firstname.lastname" or similar. If the address is not available, you can add a number to your name. Don't use your work email, it may give the impression that you don't respect your current employer, and makes you look unserious in general.
- Have a profile picture on your email account
Another tip is to have a profile picture on your email account. This will give the recruiter a face, even faster than if you only have a picture in your CV.
- Write a correct subject
In the subject line, you should write the position, for example "Job application Salesperson". Sometimes the employer specifies what they want you to write for subject, so double-check that. Don't put your name in the subject line, this should already appear in the sender field given that you are using a serious email.
- Adapt the language according to the advert
In general, it is good to use polite and professional language in your email, but the degree of formality may vary between jobs. Take a look at the job ad and try to get an idea of the energy they want from applicants. Sometimes it's good to be a bit more 'upbeat', while in other cases it's important to be straightforward and serious.
- Greet the reciever in a friendly way
A simple "Hello" is enough to introduce yourself. Exclamation marks should be avoided in most cases, but again, it's a good idea to take a look at the job ad and see what kind of energy you think the employer wants you to have. If you are unsure, it is always best to avoid a more informal and personal style in favour of a more serious one.
- Write a short presentation of yourself
Write a few short sentences about who you are, how you found the position, and possibly why you think you would be suitable for it, but be sparing with the words and leave the more detailed text for your CV and cover letter. Also, remember to be nice and positive in what you write. You can end your presentation by writing that you look forward to hearing from the employer.
- Spell correctly
As always, spelling and sentence structure are very important to make a good first impression. Spelling mistakes, disconnections, and otherwise sloppy writing are a quick way to make yourself appear unserious and incompetent. If you are aware that writing is not your strong point, or if you have writing difficulties such as dyslexia, it may be a good idea to have someone close to you double-check the text to make sure everything looks neat.
- End with another greeting
End with a classic greeting such as "Sincerely, First name Last name". Avoid abbreviations, as this can easily look sloppy.
What do I do once I have submitted my CV?
Once you have submitted your application, you can show your continued interest after a few days by calling and following up on your job application. You should preferably call a few days after the deadline.
It is best to contact the person listed as the contact person in the advertisement, as this is most probably the person who has received your application. You can always ask when you call if the person has time to talk before you start following up on your application.
It's a good idea to be prepared before you call and have specific questions about the position and the recruitment process so that the recruiter doesn't feel you're just fishing for more attention.
If the employer tells you right away that your application is not interesting, you can always ask why. You can for example ask if it's because you lacked important experience or training, or if your CV and cover letter were deficient in some way. See it as a good opportunity to learn and improve for next time!
If the employer is interested, it might be time for a job interview.
How can Curonova help me?
As a participant in Prepare and Match with us at Curonova, you will receive professional help with crafting your CV and cover letter. You will be assigned a personal Matchmaker who will work with you to make your application documents the best they can be.
The Matchmaker will help you tailor your application documents to the specific jobs you're looking for and will also help you with the basics such as how to write a good email and how to follow up on your application.
If you are called for an interview, your Matchmaker will drill you in advance, so that you goin prepared and with good self-confidence – all this to give you the best possible chances of succeeding in your job search!
If you are interested in taking advantage of Curonova’s help and boosting your chances of finding a new job, do not hesitate to contact us and we will gladly help you!