Writing and designing a CV or Resume that stands out can be a difficult task in an increasingly tough labour market. We want to help you by providing quality templates tailored to your needs and that of your portracted employers. We’ll also give you tips below and in our CV/Resume series on how to fill it with essential and quality content. Writing a CV is now going to be a much easier task without having to worry about sketchy formatting and having the toolkit required for you to come across the ideal candidate for your job. Have a look at our template selection here.
Don’t know where to start when writing your CV
In order to be successful in your career path, you will need a strong CV. Having experience will count for nothing if you do not have a well redacted, concise and certified CV. Your CV or Resume will likely be your first contact with an employer you want to work for, and thus it has to stand out stylistically as much as in terms of content.
With ShopCV we will help you step by step in addressing each point of your CV. From the style of the CV to the content we will go over what is required to have the perfect CV. We also provide CV templates that are specifically made on the basis of market research and what CVs get the most attention.
Note that in some cases your CV and your resume are two different things. In our article though we assume your CV to be the 1-2 page document you send with a summary of your work experience, education, core skills and contact information.
So read on, follow our steps and get that job you have been looking for. Whether you are a recent graduate or an experienced professional. We want to deliver the best CV possible for you.
What is the purpose of a CV?
Your CV is often also called a résumé. This is from the french word for a brief. As the name suggests, you are looking for a summary of what makes you an ideal candidate for being considered for the job. Note that it will not guarantee the job : it is most likely a step to the job interview or exam.
Nevertheless your CV is essential for this purpose. Without a strong, well presented CV you will likely not accede to the interview process. The CV also serves as a way to display your character as a whole. A colourful artistic CV will be received as you want to display your artistic side. A more sober CV shows you are a formal character. Similarly, the language you use and the human touches you display will determine how the reader perceives you.
Your CV is like your visiting card, but in longer format. It’s about who you are, and if the reader is interested, how to contact you or to know more about you as efficiently as possible. If you write a CV that is too long eventually the recruiter will pass on to the next CV. We live increasingly in an accelerated world where time is valued. And yet you want to be able to pack as much about what makes you ideal for the job you are applying to.
What should be included on a CV?
Some of the necessary elements on your CV include :
- Presenting your professional experience on your CV.
- Presenting your educational background and training experience.
- Your personal details and personal statement at the top of your CV.
- Your professional skills and competences. This includes your language and IT skills.
- Your age.
- Your references.
Because you will not want to use up too much space on your CV (see below for what size your CV should be), it is important to first start with the absolute necessary and then be as economical as possible with space. Thus you will not be presenting an extensive list of your educational and professional qualifications. You will instead want to highlight achievements and accomplishments alongside them.
You also want to keep a long term vision, and show that your CV has an internal logic and a path towards the job you are applying for. You can use a chronological-type CV (see below) or a targeted CV to emphasise this. But no matter what type of CV your experience and skills eventually have to highlight why you would be especially good for the task at hand.
How do I write a good CV?
What constitutes a good CV or not can be up for debate. The best indicator of whether you have a good CV or not is how many people contact you back after having sent your CV.
As a reminder, your CV is going to be one amongst many competing for attention. Your CV has to stand out. Knowing how to get your CV to stand out is an important part of you task. Some of the key characteristics of a strong CV include
- The clarity of your CV : having excessively long paragraphs, and full prose with hard to read sentences, is a sure fire way for you not to be considered.
- An attractive and thought-out design : depending on where you apply to, your CV needs to have a solid, clean design that makes it both more readable and more attractive, if not actively standing out, than the rest of the CVs the employer is reading.
- Highlighting the responsibilities of your previous professional experience. You want to show that you were given important tasks and took agency of them.
- Highlighting your achievements within your professional and academic experience : show what you innovated, what stands you out.
- Including keywords (see below).
How should I start my CV
With all this in mind you are ready to start writing your CV. The first content you must fill in is your name and contact information that has to be clear and evident.
You should aim to have a short personal statement that is a sample of what is to come. Make sure it is not of similar size to your cover letter, which often accompanies your CV and speaks to your motivation.
Personal statements state your intent in applying to the job, and your wish to be re-contacted. You also want to describe your current situation and show a more personal side to you. This is the part of the CV that is most likely to be written in prose, whereas other sections will be in fragmented phrases to save space.
The importance of keywords in your CV
The vocabulary of your CV is vital. You want to be able to accurately depict what core competencies you were in charge of in your previous roles and use words that show activity and engagement, as well as a sense of professionalism. Keywords can be divided between those describing action, traits and skills and terms and processes.
Examples of good action CV keywords include :
Examples of good traits and skills keywords :
Terms and processes you can say you contributed to :
- Operating a budget
- Strategic management
- General management
How to describe yourself in a CV?
You need to choose a certain format of resume or CV to present your personal career path up until that point. In general you have four types of CV styles :
- A chronological resume focuses on your career path across time. It is ideal if you have a lot of experience. Here you want to put your skills towards the end.
- A targeted resume looks to tailor your CV precisely to the job you are targeting, which is usually a specialist job with hard skills required, that you can sometimes demonstrate.
- A functional resume is a resume that puts emphasis on skills. This is useful when your skills are relevant to the job you are targeting, but you lack some experience.
- A combination resume is a mix of the functional and chronological resume. Depending on the strength of your skills or your experience you put the most strong part of your CV first.
What skills should I put on a CV?
Someone wanting to employ you will want to know what skills they can count on. You first want to make sure you are talking about relevant skills. You do not need to provide an exhaustive list of the skills you have. Should you need to specify some skills, you will need to do so in the interview phase or at a later stage.
Next, you want to make sure you use both hard and soft skills for your CV. Separating hard and soft skills in an essential part of good structure in your CV. Hard skills imply skills that are easily measurable and linked to technical skills or training in a particular task. They are often obtained through education or apprenticeships. For example, learning a language or database management are hard skills.
Soft skills are skills that you pick up through personal habits in your work experiences and personality traits that you develop. You can see below some examples of words you can use to describe these skills in a professional context. For example, creativity is one of the most sought out soft skills, along with teamwork and problem-solving skills. But having more original soft skills is also important to make you stand out, and show that you are unique.
Writing with a CV template?
Absolutely. Although sometimes using a common template is discouraged. This is especially the case when you use stock CV templates that are overused. However, formatting in a word processor is sometimes not enough. You also require photoshop skills and other software tools to make the perfect CV. If you want to focus on content, thus, we have our templates that are perfect for you and will stand out.
Our CV templates though are made with the results of extensive analysis in mind. of the most responsive. What is the line manager or HR recruiter going to notice the most? How can you stand out from the crowd with your CV.
With our templates you information will be structured the right way in relation to your professional and academic credentials. With this article and others redacted by our team we will set you on the way to a strong professional portfolio.
What size should my CV be?
The size of your CV is often up for debate. Certain employers, especially in the US, want a “Resume and CV” combination, with the Resume a summary of a longer “CV”. In this case the Resume is one page, unless you have more extensive experience for the role. In general with CVs the expectation is maximum 2 pages, with the caveat that a large amount of professional recruiters and HR professionals will not make it to the second page.
As such you should aim to have the essential information and most recent experience all in one page with potentially an annex. We aim to provide templates based on a 1 to 1 and a half page model.
Do’s and Don’ts of CV writing.
- Do use brief, clear concise language, that is properly spell checked by a friend.
- Target the CV according to the job description.
- Reduce the margins so that you have as much space and information as possible on a single page.
- Use a standard font with a compact size. 10pt Verdana, Bookman and Times New Roman.
- Date your time intervals properly, to avoid confusion.
- Have spelling mistakes in your CV
- Leave your CV with no changes or updates for a long period of time : aim to update it quarterly, even during unemployment periods. Add a skill you learnt while unemployed or try to restructure your CV.
- Include irrelevant information in your CV
- Lie about any experience or skills : You will eventually be caught out.
Finally, re-read your CV and have it revised by friends and family, or ex-colleagues.