Do the CV right

Many around me are presently writing applications as first-time job seekers, or for higher education and I have spent some time sorting out their CVs. I came across a lot of common mistakes and most are simply due to a lack of awareness of how to write a CV.

The internet is inundated with samples and yet, it is easy to feel clueless. Hell, I remember not knowing how to write one and with zero feedback, I circulated the first one for quite some time (OUCH) before noticing that a friend had one more appealing than mine (No, the appeal of her CV did not lie in having more professional experience than me). Therefore, my sole motivation for writing this post is to chalk out some pointers for you while writing CV so you do not feel as lost as I did.

1. Title: ‘CV’ is not required to be written in a gigantic font size (Please). Your name with two font size more than the font size of the content would suffice. Bold it, if you may.

2. Font Choice: Do not go all comic sans unless your CV is your portfolio for some design work. A clear font such as Arial, Times New Roman, Calibri is best suited. Font size depends on the amount of information you have to fit in your CV.

3. Contact Details: Do not waste away 6–7 lines worth of space listing over your address, numbers, email id etc. A neat way to list this all is to tuck your phone number and email id (address too, if you deem necessary) just below your name; one on the left side and the other on the right side. E.g.,

4. Not Required: Variations in Font, Your Photograph (Stop this), Your Gender (really), Details of your parents (WHY), Different Bullet Points

5. Profile/Objective: First part of your CV.Write a bit about yourself as a professional (in 2–3 lines) which will qualify as your Profile. You can end this with — ‘currently seeking new opportunities’ if you are looking for a switch. Alternatively, you can begin with stating your Objective which is basically describing in one or two lines the kind of job and industry you are looking for and searching in respectively. Tweak this section as per every profile you apply.

6. Education/Academic Qualifications: Mention your level of education, year of passing, the School/University you studied in, and your grades. Write grades for last 2 or 3 levels of education i.e. Xth & XIIth if applying for jobs after school; Xth, XIIth B.A if seeking jobs after UG; XIIth, B.A & M.A if applying after masters, and so on.

7. Professional Experience: State your professional experience beginning with the recent job to your first job. Mention the name of the organisation, your profile/role there, the timeline of working there, and a passage or 4–5 bullet points summarising your work. If you have Zero work experience, it is alright (YES)– list down the relevant work you did during studies. This could be extra-curricular work you did, subjects you studied and what you gained from that, assignments you may have done. The title of this section would greatly depend on what you write therein — do not title it as Professional Experience if you are writing about what you have gained from your degree. Title it as Relevant Experience rather.

8. Additional Information: Languages Known, IT Skills, Social Media expertise also counts you know (Next time mum asks what are you doing on FB or Twitter, you know what to say :D), Other Certifications or Achievements that may not have fit into any of the sections above.

9. References: You can list them, or simply write ‘Available on request’.

10. Layout: Most Important. Must be neat, non-cluttered and succinct. Leave something for the interview.

11. Length: Do not exceed the length of the CV for more than two pages (I say, one) unless you have ten years of experience.

12. Double Check: Always double check for grammar, spellings, or any other kinds of error. It is not uncommon for people to even misspell their names — It is okay if you end up with this situation but try avoiding.

If I missed anything, do let me know so I add it up here. I need to improve my CV too, after all. Go ride the unending roller coaster of job hunt now!

Originally published at on April 13, 2017.