The Good CV

Your CV speaks of your personal brand attributes without need of your presence in the room. A clean, structured, and well-written CV is vital in supporting your efforts in getting that all-important first screening call or — better still — face-to-face interview. This is how you can create a good CV.

The Good CV Layout Structure

  1. Full name in bold and large font
  2. Mobile number and email address are key and should be easily found under the full name
  3. Home address
  4. Headline statement
  5. Professional experience (most recent role first)
  6. Education & certifications (main degree & post-graduate)
  7. Recent continuing education
  8. Public profile (articles, awards and keynote speaking)
  9. Professional memberships
  10. Languages
  11. Interests
  12. References available upon request

Items Not Required

  1. No photo. This tends to play for you or against you. So it’s best to leave it out.
  2. No salary information, date of birth or age, sex, IC, work permit, religion, race, marital status, number of children, smoker, height, weight, fitness level, secondary school or similar certificates, and drivers license class.
  3. No ego, over-inflating the truth, or taking credit for team & other individuals’ achievements.
  4. Avoid Disneyland stories. It should go without saying that you shouldn’t make things up… but it does have to be said.
  5. Do not say anything negative about your current or previous employer. This instantly raises red flags in the reader’s mind.
  6. Be careful not to portray a superman complex — “I did everything myself.”

How To Draw The Reader Into The Good CV

  • Write in the third person.
  • Just be you and just be real: the overarching theme is to be succinct, specific, and authentic to whom you are as a person. Indicate what you are passionate about and your career trajectory (know where you are going).
  • How many pages? As a rule of thumb, 2 minimum — 5 maximum.
  • Don’t forget to reflect energy through the CV. Ensure the CV is well written, and clean of grammatical and spelling mistakes. Remember that recruiters and hiring managers may only spend seconds scanning for keywords, brand names, skillsets and tenures within your CV. Impact is key; sometimes less is more. In particular, when your CV is being submitted with the pack (least trusted channel), the success ratio drops to 1%.
  • Headline statement: this could be your career vision or tagline. This tag line or career objective helps to demonstrate to prospective interviewers that you know your career trajectory and that you’re clear about who you are.
  • Share your learnings from previous roles, and your motivations for moving from one company to another, or between roles within a company. This helps to reinforce that you have a clear career trajectory.
  • Consider a split timeline format CV when you have been involved in multiple over-lapping projects or roles. This format is also good if you’ve been involved in organisations outside of your main day job.
  • Each of your bullet points within a particular role should be the headline hooks for your stories that you share during an interview. The headlines should have punch and be supported by some verified evidence. Refer to STAR guide.
  • Include a summary of the most significant accomplishments and learnings from the role.
  • Use year and month format to denote tenure in roles.
  • If you have had multiple roles in one company, show the full time period on top, then break down your time there by role.
  • Try to keep it to 3 or 4 points per role. Focus on what made the biggest business impact. Punchy headlines create curiosity in the reader, and invite them to find out more details.
  • Be humble, but confident.
  • Reflect the team player aspect. Demonstrate that you’re a star player, not just a diva.
  • Include key learnings and mistakes. This shows that you’re capable of handling both success and learning from what didn’t work.
  • Prepare stories three layers deep for any points mentioned within your CV for the actual interview.
  • Your interests statement should be more than the mundane “reading books, playing with the kids, and travel”. Mention something unique about you that is truly interesting. E.g. “I enjoy jungle bashing with the kids in Borneo.”
  • Save your final CV in PDF format, and include hyperlinks for relevant external content, e.g. a TEDx Talk you gave or an article you wrote which was published in an industry magazine.

You can download or print a copy here.

Is there anything else that should be in a good CV? We love to hear your thoughts. Drop us a note on Facebook, Twitter or you can email us at hello@personna-asia.com.