What Details Must You Include for an Effective CV?

December 16, 2019 | How To | 0 comments

Creating a clear, concise, and impressive curriculum vitae (CV) plays a huge role in achieving the career opportunities that you desire. It is arguably the most important step of the job application process. And yet, most undergraduate and FSc students are not taught how to construct an effective CV.

This lack of knowledge in how to write an impressive CV results in difficulties during the job application process. In some cases, it causes individuals to miss out on great job opportunities.

This is why it is important for FSc students to learn how to make an effective CV as soon as possible. Luckily, we have made a comprehensive guide to help you learn what to include in your CV, the top tips to make your curriculum vitae stand out, and what to avoid when writing your CV.

What to Include on Your CV

There is no fixed formula for what to include on a curriculum vitae. However, there is some information that employers are most interested in, which should always be included. Here is a checklist of information that you should mention on your CV.

Contact Information

Your contact information should always be easily available to the employer, so write it at the top of your CV. Here is the contact information that should always be included:

  • Name
  • Mobile Number
  • Email ID

The above basic information is necessary for interested employers to contact you. You can also include the following information on your CV, although it is not completely necessary:

  • Home Address
  • Telephone or Fax Number
  • LinkedIn Profile (if it is frequently updated)
  • Personal Blog or Website

As of late, more and more employers are becoming interested in LinkedIn, so if you do not have a profile, it is a good idea to create one now. Even as an FSc student, creating a LinkedIn profile gives you the opportunity to build connections and find good internship and job opportunities.

Moreover, if you write on a personal blog, then be sure to include that on your CV as well. This will give the employer an opportunity to get to know more about you and can show off more of your skills.

Personal Statement/Objective

The personal statement is your one chance to briefly tell the employer about yourself, your experience and skillsets, and your professional ambitions. However, you must keep it concise. Write your personal statement in no more than two to three lines. Here are tips to help you write an eye-catching personal statement:

  • Be honest. Do not write a personal statement that does not actually reflect who you are or what your abilities are.
  • Mention your current job position (if you have one), key skills and attributes, and what you can offer to the company you are applying to
  • Avoid using stereotypical tropes like “what I want from this job” or “why you should hire me”
  • Keep it short and sweet. Refrain from summarizing your entire life story. Only mention, clearly and concisely, what is relevant for your employer and the job.

That being said, do not be afraid to express yourself on your personal statement. Use these sentences to really show off who you are and what you can offer as an employee. This can distinguish yourself from others who have also filled out a job application.

Work/Volunteer Experience

This is the part of the job application that the employer is most interested in. This is because employers want to see how relevant or diverse your experience is, how well you would be able to fit the required job position, and how much training you would potentially require for.

Mention your employment and volunteer history from most to least recent, or reverse chronological order. Include the following details on the work/volunteer experience section:

  • Name of Company
  • Job Position or Title
  • Dates Worked
  • Key Responsibilities and Achievements

Use bullet points to list down the main responsibilities or achievements, as this will make it easier for the employer to scan and pinpoint your areas of experience. Also be sure to include numbers and metrics to highlight your achievements (e.g. “contributed to a 30% increase in sales).

If you are a fresh graduate or FSc student, then do not worry if you do not have any job experience. Instead, include any internships, volunteer experience, or community work that you have done in the past. Employers will realize that you are a student and depending on the job position, may still be willing to give you a job opportunity. Hence, do not feel compelled to make up a fake employment history.

Educational Background and Training

This section is particularly important for fresh graduates, FSc students, and students with minimal work experience. From this section, employers are able to determine where your knowledge and skillset lies and gives an indicator of your preferred career path.

Mention your schooling, qualifications, and any training or certification that you have obtained over the years. This should be listed down, starting from the most recent qualification. Here are the details you should include in the educational background and training section of your curriculum vitae:

  • Academic Qualification, e.g. “Intermediate HSSC qualification”, or “Bachelor’s in Computer Science (BS in CS)”
  • Specialization and/or Major Subjects, e.g. “Matric Science Group”, or “BBA Finance Major”
  • Years of Study
  • GPA or Grades (only if it is favorable)

If you are currently still an undergraduate or FSc student with little experience, then you can even place this section above the Work/Volunteer Experience section. This is because at this stage of your life, your educational background is more relevant to you.

Skills

Include all soft skills, hard skills, and specific job-related skills in your curriculum vitae. However, be sure that the skills that you list are specific, relevant to the job, and reflect your abilities as a unique individual. Try to stick to only 4-5 extremely specific skills.

While it is tempting to get carried away listing off numerous skills such as “communication skills”, “social skills”, “listening skills”, and “public speaking skills”, they will not leave an impact on the employer, and will not give a clear indication of your actual abilities.

Instead, focus on the core skills that represent you as a person. Also, include technical skills that are useful for the job position you are applying for. For example, if you are applying for a computers-related job, then skills such as “software development” or “C++ coding skills” will be impressive to the employer.

References

If it is specifically mentioned in the job advertisement or job application process to include references, then write the contact information for one or two references who can vouch for your competency. This could be a previous employer, teacher, or mentor.

If the job application does not specifically require you to mention references, simply write “References will be made available upon request” in the references section.

Following these steps will help you construct a solid CV that conveys all the important information for employers. This is the first step to achieving career opportunities that you desire. FSc students who perfect their CV’s as early as possible have an advantage over other job applicants, so be sure to follow these steps to get started!

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