Work

tips for a better CV

Disclaimer: Nothing I do with work is conventional, but it’s pretty much common sense with a little bit of a twist.

A good CV is a CV that is EASY TO READ, SIMPLE TO UNDERSTAND, & HAS THE RIGHT INFORMATION.

You’d be surprised that the majority of us don’t know how to create a good CV or are unable to explain what a good CV is. You’re going to read “CV” a lot in this post and that should be ok if you’re here to find out what a good one really is.

It’s a topic that I’ll revisit again and again, so please use the comment box below, the contact sheet in the menu, or my Instagram to get in touch with me with any questions you may have. I also sometimes invite CVs sent to my email, so follow me on Instagram @duniamudara or Twitter @duniiam for an announcement on the next invitation.

Now let’s go:

A good CV is ONLY ONE PAGE

YES, ONE PAGE is enough to show up to 10 years of experience when done correctly, so please please please don’t send anyone a 6-page CV for 2 years of experience. I’ve seen the CV of someone with a PhD and 35+ years of experience and it was only TWO PAGES! Keep it simple, which will be much easier to do with these tips.

A good CV should be CUSTOMIZED PER JOB

In a perfect world, you should edit the information on your CV based on the job you are applying for. Think of it this way: we meet a lot of people in our life, and most of us aren’t exactly the same person with everyone. We’re different with our friends, with our family, at work, etc. Ever wondered why? That’s because each of these different people expect a different set of behaviors from us. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just how things work. You’re still yourself but different edited versions of yourself with everyone. Now applying for a job is the same: probably no 2 jobs are the exact same (yes, even within the same field) and no 2 companies are the exact same (yes, even within the exact same industry) – so why would you show them one version of yourself, when you know what different versions you can provide to their needs?

A good CV DOESN’T NEED TO HAVE AN “ABOUT” SECTION

A lot of people freak out when I say this, but let’s be honest: most about sections are really just one generic paragraph about how you wish to join a great company that will help you reach your goals etc. etc. Why do you need that? It takes precious space, no one reads it, and you’re better off making an impression face-to-face in the interview instead of wasting it in a lazy paragraph. Instead, some job applications require a COVER LETTER – that’s something I’ll write about in another post, and it’s where you can really talk about yourself and your intention to apply in more detail. Either that or a simple BRIEF email when attaching your CV (instead of saying “please find attached”).

A good CV DOESN’T NEED TO HAVE YOUR PHOTO

Unless you’re applying to be a model or for a position that requires you look a certain way, you really don’t need to have your photo on your CV. I find it unprofessional. We all have LinkedIn accounts and we can find your face there if we need to. BUT if you MUST, please make sure it’s a professional photo (either professionally taken or a passport photo will do) and NOT a selfie, snapchat filtered, casual pose, etc.

A good CV has only SIMPLE PERSONAL INFORMATION

In my opinion, you should only include your name (up to 3 only), date of birth (DD/MM/YYYY), mobile number (correct and currently in use), email (professional, preferably GMAIL with your first name and last name – and not cooldevil99x@…mail.com). Only include your nationality if it is required (if you’re a non-Bahraini and you need to let them know beforehand for visa purposes, etc.). In my opinion, you shouldn’t include your marital status (married or single) or your house address (unless you want stalkers).

A good CV shows your WORK EXPERIENCE AT A GLANCE

Organize your work experience in chronological order (latest first). It’s up to you how you want to display the dates, title of the position you held, company name and location, but all are important. Remember to show “current” or “present” if you are currently employed at the company you show as latest. When it’s time to write the responsibilities or describe your role for each experience, either write them in simple bullet points OR a simple paragraph. DO NOT feel like you need to write everything you ever did at work because we all know you did a lot, and if it matters at the interview they WILL ask you. Believe it or not, not all of your work experiences are relevant to the one you’re applying for next. And a good interviewer/employer knows what they’re looking for.

A good CV shows your MOST RECENT & RELEVANT EDUCATION

Use your logic here; if you’ve been working for 3+ years, who cares about your high-school degree? You don’t really need to show every single level of school on your CV, and if the job requires it then they’ll ask. Focus on your college degrees and/or professional certifications that are relevant to the job.

A good CV shows INTERESTS, NOT HOBBIES

Don’t tell me that you enjoy traveling and reading, tell me what interests you have that will support the job you’re applying for. For example, if I’m applying for a Marketing position within a media company, I might need to know how to write good PRs or emails, so if I add “writing” to my interests (only if it’s true of course), that’s something good to know. This is where you start customizing your CV for each application. Your CV is a professional, not a personal, application.

A good CV shows SKILL

Many jobs today require you to write well, know a little bit about graphic design, have experience with digital ads, AND manage a social media account. So if you have any of these skills or any others, INCLUDE THEM. Again, only when relevant. But they’re crucial things that an employer needs to know even before they meet you. Obvious example: if you’re applying for an Accounting position, don’t add “graphic design” in your skills.

A good CV DOESN’T MENTION THAT YOU ARE A GOOD TEAM PLAYER, OR AN EXPERT AT MS OFFICE

Don’t say that you work well under stress or are organized or that you take initiative. It’s 2019 (almost) and if you’re none of these things then what are you doing? If you are these things, don’t mention them and if you’re not, pick up those skills ASAP because they’re a must.

A good CV is WELL LAID OUT, BUT NOT COMPLICATED

Don’t be afraid to get creative with your CV design and don’t be afraid if you can’t be creative at all – none of it is a must! As long as it’s easy to read, simple to understand, and has the information required – you’re good to go.

Get in touch for personalized tips!

Let’s be the best versions of ourselves!

-Dunia

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