Monday, June 29, 2009

8 things to make an impressive CV

In the article below 12 things your CV should not have we discussed the common errors applicants make when drafting their CVs or resumes. Following the article we received a large number of queries from readers, asking what information should they include in their CV, to make it impressive.

This article is an attempt to help the readers design an impressive and user-friendly CV. If you ensure that you include this information in your CV, the chances of it meeting the interviewer's expectations are increased.

~ Begin with name and contact details
Make this information available at the beginning of your CV. This should include your postal address, phone number (preferably mobile number) and e-mail address (only one). If a company wants to call you for an interview or needs to communicate with you for any further information, they will look out for this information. If it is buried somewhere inside the CV it will not only put them off but also reduce their chances of contacting you.

~ Write an appealing career summary
This is your chance to bring forward relevant strengths and skills to the recruiter. Everything in your CV should support your Career Summary. If there's anything that doesn't support your Career Summary, you should reconsider listing it.

You should write your Career Summary around your skills, attitude, knowledge and experience. There are two schools of thought on writing the career statement.

Some people think that it should be a short 30-40 word paragraph while others give it liberty to be covered in 4-5 bulleted points. Whatever you decide on, ensure that everything relevant that you want to sell to the prospective employer is covered here. At the same time, it should not become nauseating.

~ Focus on your work experience, responsibilities and achievements
If you are an experienced candidate, your work experience is your main asset. Include the details of the relevant jobs you have done in the past. You should present your work experience in a chronologically descending order ie the last company first.

This should include the name of the company, your designation and tenure followed by your job responsibilities and achievements. It is always better to present this information in bulleted format rather than a clumsy paragraph. Mention some figures when you talk about your achievements.

For example:
Worked as Business Development Manager for XYZ Company from June 2000 to January 2004.

Job responsibilities:

* Setting up 7 franchisees across 4 countries
* Maximising the business from existing customers to the tune of $ 200,000

~ Your next asset is your educational qualification
Educational qualifications play an important role in the recruitment of freshers. If you are a fresh candidate, focus your CV on your qualifications and achievements during your student life.

~ Write about your out-of-work achievements, interests and hobbies
These reflect your personality and skills. Present the relevant achievements in the order of priority ie the most important achievement first. Similarly, present your interests as well. Write about the achievements that display a facet of your personality. For example, if you have been the president of your college, do mention it. It shows your leadership skills.

~ Write short sentences with more impactful words
Lengthy CVs put the recruiter off. Keep the sentences short and use words that demonstrate your hold of the situation like managed, arranged, supervised etc.

~ Formal font faces
A font like Verdana-10 should be good for the content while the Name at the top can be written in Verdana-12, with a bold font face.

~ Use the same tense through out the CV.
Changing the tense in every second line leaves the reader confused and annoyed.

Now, put together both the articles (i.e) the below 12 things your CV should not have and 8 things to make an impressive CV. Draft and re-draft your CV keeping the points mentioned, till you are satisfied that you have presented the facts in the most impressive and convincing way.

12 things your CV should NOT have

Your CV is your marketing brochure through which you try to sell a commodity, ie your skills to the potential buyer ie the prospective employer. The sole purpose of your CV is to fetch you an interview call. Nothing more, nothing less.

However, creating a CV isn't as simple as just using flowery language and pretty fonts. There are certain things that put recruiters off and if you want to make a good impression, make sure you do not commit these mistakes in what is arguably the most valuable document of your job hunt.

While the rules listed are well-founded, they are not carved in stone. At times you will need to break the rules. If you want to add these things knowingly and purposefully to your CV we advise you to do that.

The points mentioned here are not listed in the order of priority; instead they are listed in the sequence in which they usually appear on a CV.

~ Colorful or glossy paper and flashy fonts
Your CV is a formal, official document. Keep it simple.

~ Resume or CV at the top
Many people tend to add headings to their CV. The usual are CV, Curriculum Vitae and Resume. Do not do this.

~ Photographs until asked
Do not add your photo to the CV until you have been asked for it. Photographs are required only for certain types of positions like models, actors etc.

~ Usage of 'I', 'My', 'He', 'She'
Do not use these in your CV. Many candidates write, 'I worked as Team Leader for XYZ Company' or 'He was awarded Best Employee for the year 2007'. Instead use bullet points to list out your qualifications/ experience like: Team leader for XYZ Company from 2006-2007.

~ Spelling mistakes and grammatical errors
Proofread your CV until you are confident that it doesn't have any spelling mistakes or grammatical errors. These are big put-offs for the recruiters. Moreover, sometimes these mistakes might land you in an embarrassing situation.

A candidate who submitted his CV without proofreading it committed the mistake of wrongly spelling 'ask' as 'ass'. Now you can imagine the type of embarrassment he must have faced during the interview, when the interviewer pointed it out. These mistakes tend to convey a lazy and careless attitude to the interviewer.

~ Lies about your candidature
Do not lie about your past jobs or qualifications or anything which might have an impact on the job. You may be able to secure a job with these lies today but tomorrow you may lose it as well.

~ Abbreviations or jargon that is difficult to understand
People screening your resume usually belong to the HR department. If they do not understand what the abbreviations and jargon mean, they will simply dump your CV in the trash can. Avoid over-using such terms as far as possible.

~ Reasons for leaving last job
Leave these reasons to be discussed during the personal interview. For example, some candidates write: Reason for leaving the last job: Made redundant. Avoid making such statements in your CV, they add no value. Besides, if you do get an interview call, chances are the interviewer will address the issue.

~ Past failures or health problems
Mentioning these immediately slash your chances of getting an interview call.

For instance, you have a gap in your employment because you started your own business which did not do well. Some candidates might write -- Reason for gap in employment: Started own business which failed. Do not do this type of injustice with your job hunt at this stage of writing the CV.

~ Current or expected salary
Leave it to be discussed while negotiating the salary.

~ Irrelevant details
Leave out the details like marital status, sex, passport number, number of kids, age of kids. These are usually irrelevant for most interviewers but at times could be used as a basis for discrimination.

~ References
Do not include them until asked. In fact, it is not even required to mention the line 'Reference available on request'. If the recruiter requires a reference, he/she will ask you to bring it along for the interview.

Now that you have run through the list, take a fresh look at your CV and prune away unnecessary details and unaffordable blunders that could have cost you your dream job.

Last page of a resume to compelete with.....

Here's how to write the perfect CV..

Here's how to write the perfect CV

Writing a winning CV is not as tough as you might think -- as long as you know the basic rules.

We invited readers to send in their CVs, which were analysed by HR trainer and CV expert Kshipra Singh. Among the numerous responses we received was GA reader Raamachandren R's CV. Here we present his CV along with an analysis and an edited version.

Certain details have been removed to protect privacy.

Words you should NEVER use?

While using the right words can strengthen your CV, the wrong words can cost you the opportunity to bag your dream job. You should ensure that you use the most suitable words to present your candidature but also make sure you do not use wrong or negative words and phrases.

There are certain words which are seen frequently on CVs but actually only serve to irritate recruiters/ interviewers and at times may even cost you the interview call, as they paint a misleading picture of you. In our last article, we saw 10 power words for your CV. This article explains the type of words you should not use on your CV. While you may choose to use them if necessary, for most situations they would be better left out.

Responsible for
This is a very common set of words seen on CVs. While the candidates do not realize, these are a set of most irritating words selectors see on the CVs. Until you provide additional information to show them how did you help the organization with this responsibility, these words are meaningless.

For eg, it doesn't make any sense if you just say "Responsible for promoting the product in north region".

The selector would wonder: When? For how long? What was the outcome? and may finally dump your CV thinking that the candidate is not mature enough. However, if you write "Promoted the product XYZ in "alpha" districts of north India from 2004-2006 achieving a visibility of 75 per cent", it will definitely add value to your CV.

I failed
Never ever use the word "fail", "failed" in your CV. While there is nothing bad about failing in something you do. After all, it is only when one tries that one fails. However, mentioning it on your CV shows that you have nit been able to make your peace with it or recover from it. While you should not lie in your CV, it doe not mean that you need to bare your soul either. Discuss such issues only if asked.

I hate my boss
This is another thing which you can absolutely do without on your CV. Discuss only when asked and even then, do not rant and rave. There are chances that the person interviewing you might know your current/ ex-boss.

I've been laid off
Lay offs are hitting almost every sector and noone is really safe. It need not necessarily be your fault that you were laid off, it could just be the effect of the current market situation. So, you don't need to mention the fact that you have been laid off on your CV. If you are called for the interview, you can address the issue then.

I suffer from...
Do not write about your health problems on your CV. They might be minor but may end up costing you an interview call. If you have a break in your career owing to health problems, leave them to be discussed in the interview, if asked.

Family ties
Unless you are applying for a job where the employer has to bear the expenses of your family or the information is going to have an impact on your working conditions, this information is useless to the interviewer.

Political affiliations and inclinations
You may have a political affiliation or inclination but your CV or interview is not the place to talk about it.