You have probably heard thousands of times before how to write a good and professional CV. Some “experts” tell you that a CV should be maximum two pages while others claim it doesn’t matter how long your CV is. Some will say that the CV requires a profile picture while others claims this isn’t necessary. Some will always state that you should put your education first while others say you should put your work experience first. Confusing? I guess so.
We have now arrived at part 2 in the series of alternative tips for job seekers. Today I have decided to cover the “science” of writing a good CV and hope that some of these tips will be of benefit to you. Whether your current CV needs improving or not, it is not for me to say, but it never hurts I suppose to review your CV and look at areas for improvement.
CV, what is right and what does it look like?
The answer is simple. There is no right or wrong when it comes to your CV. Your CV should be exactly how you want it to be. It is also risky to go with everything we “job experts” say, after all, we don’t really know you so how can we tell you how to write your CV? Therefore, and in my opinion, CV writing courses or similar are nothing but a waste of time and money. Don’t be fooled.
What I intend to do however, is to give you some tips that you can yourself decide whether you want to implement or not, but promise me one thing: Only use those tips that you are comfortable with, and only use those tips that are relevant to you and your experience. Here is the clue: Write a CV that reflects who you are.
It is your CV, your background and your experience. Unless you are still at school, you are more than capable of producing a CV that is interesting, professional and attractive to employers.
What can you definitely choose yourself when it comes to your CV?
You may already have some grey hairs sticking out from stressing about writing the “perfect” CV. If that is the case, well then I can`t really help. After all, I am not a hairdresser. If however, the grey hairs have not arrived yet, then I have a very good tip for you; do not stress. Irrespective of what you implement out of my tips below, there are certain things that you can do or not do with your CV that doesn’t make any difference whatsoever. You can basically flip a coin.
- Profile picture or no profile picture
- Short or long CV
- Detailed CV or non-detailed CV
- Experience first or education first
- Header or footer
- Page numbers or no page numbers
- Arial, Times New Roman or maybe Calibri
What do you not need to have on your CV?
- “References available upon request” (This is obvious. If you haven’t got any references then you shouldn’t be applying for a job.)
- Language (If you are a Norwegian then it is pretty obvious that you speak and write fluent Norwegian and English. Only mention languages if you speak eg. German, Dutch, French etc.)
- MS Office skills (If you have managed to write a good looking CV in word, well then it is self-explanatory that you can use MS Office isn’t it?)
- Don’t write CV in the title (It is obvious, I mean, what else could it be?)
- Don’t use fancy buzzwords in the profile (Words like motivated, ambitious, proactive etc. can only be proved through your own behaviour or references.)
- Results from school (Who cares? If you have attended university or similar it is pretty obvious that you have gone to school prior to this.)
- Holiday jobs or non-relevant jobs (This will just look like CV filling. Instead you can write more about the relevant jobs you have had.)
How great, now you suddenly have a lot of space on your CV that you can use to write about all your competences, experience and achievements.
Alternative tips that you can bring into your CV
As mentioned earlier, only use those that you are comfortable with and that are relevant to your experience and background.
- Include a few out-takes from references on the front page of your CV, e.g. “ Lisa did a great job while working for us as a Project Manager. We were sad to see her leave and would re-employ her if we got the opportunity” – John Johnson, Norway Oil Company AS.
- Instead of having a long list of qualifications and courses, why not input this into a separate document.
- Have a good mix between text and bullet points. Example; Under each job write a few lines about your overall responsibilities and then bullet point what key tasks you were involved with.
- Have a CV front page that includes; contact details, a 3-4 line profile (no buzzwords) while the rest of the page includes bullet points of your most relevant education, experience key words, previous employers, previous roles, outtakes from reference etc.
- Do not use a CV that has been automatically created while registering via an online web site and / or through another type of recruitment tool. Only use this if specified. Otherwise use your self-made CV as otherwise you can come across as lazy while not being unique either.
- Write the CV in English even if you apply for a job with a Norwegian company (it saves you having to re-create an English one if requested.)
- First make a structure of your CV and then input all the relevant info.
That’s my contribution in regards to CV writing. I hope you are keen to use some of these hints and tips and remember one thing: writing a CV is not rocket science irrespective of what some “experts” may argue. Just remind yourself that writing a CV is nothing but putting together a list of your experience, education and skills. Suddenly you will see that it becomes somewhat less complicated. If you in addition to this remember to add a hint of symmetry to the CV then I am sure you will have a CV in place that will be highly attractive to employers and recruitment agencies alike.
OG-S AS, now offers a job seeking support package (JSSP) to companies who want to include this when giving notice to their employees. The program is 100% tailored to the individual and will be carried out on a 1–2–1 basis. Even better, it comes at a very low cost.