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Posts Tagged ‘CV Format’


What Does your CV Say About You?

Thursday, July 4, 2013 By: Debra Mills
Category: CV Writing Tips

What Does your CV Say About You? 

The CV is your first opportunity to catch the attention of your potential employer. You have a short space of time to gain, maintain the interest of the reader and sell yourself as the perfect candidate for the position. You need to be able to highlight all of your personal attributes as well as the skills you will bring to the position you are applying for in just two pages. It isn’t always easy, but it can be done by including only the most relevant information and written in a way that will keep the attention of the employer and make them see you are the ideal person for the job.

Your CV: What to Include

There are some essential items you need to include within the CV, without them you will leave the reader feeling flat and your CV will simply be disregarded.

  • Name

It may seem obvious but so many people neglect to put their full name at the top of the CV.

  • Contact information

Make sure every means of contact is made available such as phone numbers, email addresses and home address.

  • Brief Bio

Summarising yourself in just a few points isn’t always easy but it is necessary. You need to give an overview of yourself and your skills for the employer to sum you up as a person and employee.

  • Qualifications

You don’t need to include every certificate you have ever gained; yet the most relevant qualifications to the job applying for are crucial.

  • Work Experience

The last three positions are the best to include; employers don’t need to know every single position held since you were a teenager. Also remember to explain any gaps in employment.

  • References

State that references are available upon request rather than listing the names of potential referees. This saves time and space.

The most common way to apply for positions is a job application online that determines the exact information you must provide. This short, condensed application is easy for you to complete and employers to read. It is a good stencil for the way in which you complete your CV. Keep it precise, and simple and most of all relevant.

What it says About You?

Tailor your CV to each position

Again this may be common sense, but it is a good idea to thoroughly read through the job advert to determine what is expected of you. If you write your CV to specifically appeal to the important elements within the job specification the employer will see how seriously you have researched the job and how you would fit into the position.

Short and Sweet

Keep your CV to a maximum of two pages, any longer and the reader will lose complete interest early on if they feel they have reams of information to read through. The information you include needs to be relevant to the position you are applying for, such as the qualifications and work experience, which you possess.

Font, Grammar, Spelling and Punctuation

Make sure your CV looks as professional as possible, starting by typing it rather than handwriting it. A legible font is the most important thing to consider, keep it simple and easy to read. Things such as spelling and grammar mistakes are inexcusable as the computer does the hard work for you. Good spelling also shows you are serious, conscientious and passionate.

Sell Yourself

A reader typically loses interest in your CV after between 10 – 30 seconds so you need to really sell yourself before they put your CV to one side. Explain why you are a good candidate, better than the competition and give a strong impression of yourself without having to physically meet the person.



Your CV – Make It Findable Online

Monday, April 16, 2012 By: Debra Mills
Category: CV Writing Tips

Findability Factors for your CV

You have heeded all the advice on CV content and format. You have uploaded your CV to the top job boards. You are waiting to be found.

Increase the chances that your CV will be found by recruiters looking for your skills and experience by learning about how online job sites function and what you can do to increase your chances of being called for an interview.

Key Words

The recruiter will search for a candidate by entering key words and phrases into the search engine. Be sure that you have included many of the important words and phrases that appear in the target job advertisement and in other job advertisements for the same type of job. Include words and their synonyms that are relevant to your experience and achievements, as well as well-known industry-specific jargon or terminology.

This is a time-intensive endeavor, but if enough of their search words match those found in your CV, your CV will be flagged for further investigation, and if you are truly qualified, then you will be called for an interview.

CV Length

If all these key words and phrases do not fit conveniently on two A4 sheets, do not despair. Online submissions will rarely be printed, so a wordier version of your CV could be appropriate. Check the word or character limits prior to submission and work with the limits to submit the information that the recruiter needs in order to find you.

CV File Type

Consider creating a CV especially for online submission – not just in terms of content, but also in terms of file type. A plain text file (.txt) that is clearly formatted with appropriate section titles, such as Summary, Experience, and Education, will be parsed more successfully when the recruiter retrieves it during a search.

The stereotypical recruiter giving a 30-second eyeball to your CV as an A4 sheet of paper, or even as a Word document, is becoming a rarity. As technologies improve , it is becoming more important that your electronic content (CV) ranks high in the recruiter’s search.

Résumé to UK-style CV

Monday, February 27, 2012 By: Debra Mills
Category: CV Writing Tips

Transform your North American résumé into a UK-style CV

Back in 1887, the British writer, Oscar Wilde wrote … “we have really everything in common with America these days, except, of course, language.”

It is still true today so if you want the information in your résumé to be instantly understood and appreciated by a potential employer in Britain, you will want to make a few changes.

Whether your résumé is formatted using the reverse chronological, the functional, or the combination style, this is fine. Check three things, however – be sure that your contact details show your telephone number as you would dial it from the UK – complete with country code – AND that your employment start & finish dates include months as well as years – AND finally, that you have explained all employment gaps that are longer than about 3 months.

Just as you would use your profession’s jargon and terminology in your résumé, you want to use language that puts you ‘in’ the job in the UK.

To edit the descriptions of your work experience, search the Internet for appropriate job vacancies in the UK and note the key words that are used to describe your target job. There may be other differences, so avoid clichés and idiomatic expressions that might not be well—known outside the US. Be sure that your achievements are written in a factual, not boastful, style. If you use the correct tone and expressions, you are demonstrating that you are a good  organisational fit to a British firm.

There are several websites that compare UK English and North American English. Read through the words and see if any should be changed. For instance, did you use “specialty”?  then, change it to “speciality” … “oriented?” – change it to orientated … “while” – change that to “whilst”. As well, note that  “learnt and spelt”  are spelt – and pronounced – with a “T” instead of “ED” in Britain.

A misspelt word on your CV could be disastrous! Your CV could end up in the bin – that’s the trash!

Although using US spelling consistently throughout your documents is not incorrect per se, the reader will expect to see UK spelling. Don’t let a potential employer stop and stumble on a word that appears to be “wrong.”

Start by changing Word’s language setting to UK English and doing a spell check. Be aware that some words – like the résumé standards – organise, strategise, and prioritise – are spelt with ‘ise’ in the UK and Word won’t flag them as misspelt if you’ve written “I- ZED-E”.

Zed means Zee, by the way.

Finally, change the paper size to A4; fix the tabs; proof it again; and submit it.

As Oscar inferred, there are many aspects of work, and life, that the British and the Americans do have in common! So, if you’re heading for the UK, transform your résumé into a CV, and discover them for yourself.

Resources: Audio Link

CV Writing Tips – CV for Germany

Saturday, December 24, 2011 By: Debra Mills
Category: CV Writing Tips

German-style CV

If you are writing an English CV for a position in Germany / Deutschland, here are a few tips:

  • Include a cover sheet with your name, address, telephone number, and email address on the top right side and your place of birth, date of birth, nationality, and marital status on the bottom right side.
  • Place a head and shoulders LinkedIn- and Xing-type photograph on the top right hand corner of page one.
  • Start your CV with the same style and content of letterhead that you would use on a UK CV or American résumé (name, email address, telephone number, postal address).
  • Either start with the experience section (reverse chronological) or include a very short profile statement.
  • Don’t use a career highlights, key competencies, or similar section before the experience section.
  • Ensure that you use months in your employment dates.
  • Explain all gaps in your employment history.
  • Leave space to date and sign it (and include the city in which you signed it) at the bottom of the last page.
  • Alternatively, use the new Europass template as a starting point, but be sure to add the date and sign it.
  • As with all European CVs, use A4-size paper.
  • Use UK spelling unless the target company’s literature and job advertisement uses American (or other) spelling.
  • Have copies of your educational transcripts, certifications, and references ready to be submitted, if required.


iAgora – CV for Germany

Berlin Info – German-style CV

Europass CV Template – CV Template in German

Working in Germany – CV and Employment Tips

German to English Translation

Need a translator for your CV or other documents?

Our recommended German-to-English translator brings three years of experience translating documents in nearly every field, including in the following fields:

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Contact Details for German-to-English Translator

For information about this service from the translator…
CV in plain text

Email your CV in plain text.

When you cannot use attachments or formatted documents, copy and paste the relevant sections of your Pro-CV PLAIN TEXT.txt file or your own .txt file (without line breaks) into your EMAIL ‘compose’ box.

If a job description asks you to include a plain text CV in the body of an email, make sure your email software is set to send plain text. Otherwise, your email browser will add formatting to your CV and the recruiter may assume you didn’t follow instructions.

The method for sending a plain-text email depends on the email program you’re using. Look for a “Plain Text” button or option and/or make sure the “Rich Text Editor” is off. Further information can usually be found in the “help” section of the program.

Here are instructions for some major email programs.

* GoogleMail/GMail:
Choose “Compose Mail”. Click “plain text” option amongst the formatting options. Then, simply copy and paste your CV into the e-mail. You may have to make some minor formatting changes.

* Yahoo! Mail:
Create a new e-mail. At the bottom of the email, click the “plain text” button. Then, simply copy and paste your CV into the e-mail. You may have to make some minor formatting changes.

* Hotmail:
Create a new e-mail, in the pull-down field labelled “Tools” make sure the “Rich Text Editor” is off. You’ll be able to tell if you’ve successfully turned the Rich Text Editor off as all the formatting options will disappear from your compose screen. You may have to make some minor formatting changes.

* Windows Live Mail:
If you don’t see a menu, press ALT. Click Tools then Options. Click the Send tab. Next to Mail Sending Format, tick the option for Plain text. Click the Compose tab. Set the Compose Font for mail to 10 pt. Courier New. Click OK.

* Microsoft Outlook:
Create a new email, click on the “Format” button and choose the “Plain Text” option. Then, simply copy and paste your resume into the new email. You may have to make some minor changes, but most of your formatting should remain intact.

Before sending an email, read over all the contents of the compose box to ensure that you have copied and pasted the relevant sections. For instance, have you inadvertently included your references?


CV Writing Tips – The Basics

Tuesday, December 29, 2009 By: Debra Mills
Category: CV Writing Tips

Writing and Organisation:

Your CV not only presents your qualifications and work history, it also demonstrates the quality of work that you produce. Your CV tells the prospective employer a number of things about your decision-making, organisational, and communication skills. This is an opportunity to impress them with your ability to provide them with a professional document.

Profile Statement:

You are just a name on a page until you add a personal touch with a lively and captivating summary of your best qualities. Your personality shines through and the reader wants to learn more about you.


There is no set rule as to what headings should be used. However, they should be instantly recognisable and lead the reader to the information they seek.


If it is not possible to quickly find specific information, the reader may not bother. A CV that is well laid out and presented will enable the reader to retrieve the maximum amount of information in the 20-30 seconds they have allotted for the task.

Cover Letters:

Business etiquette dictates that a focused cover letter accompanies the CV or application form. It is expected. The job hunter who does not write a cover letter is seen to be a person who either cannot be bothered or does not know any better.


The reader only wants to know specific information. What information is presented and what is left out is the CV writer’s job. Too little information and the reader is left with the impression that the candidate is unqualified. Too much information and the reader could get bored and not even get to the important parts. If all the information you need to convey can be attractively presented on one page, then one page is all you need. A two-page CV allows for more detail. The first page grabs the reader’s attention with crucial information, and the second page enhances and confirms that information. When the number of candidates for a position will be very low, (e.g., upper level executives in highly specialised fields), more than two pages may be required.

Grammar and Spelling:

Even if perfect grammar and spelling are not necessary for the job, mistakes look sloppy and show that you do not care about details. Careful proofreading will catch these errors. If you are unsure, try WhiteSmoke software.

Printing Quality:

Photocopies are old fashioned and usually of inferior quality. Photocopying or any poor printing says, “This document has been sent as a mail shot – the writer is not serious enough about the job to be bothered to put the time and effort into applying specifically for this job.” Also, the original needs to be sharp because your CV may be photocopied and/or scanned for distribution within the company. For clarity and ease of reading, inkjet printing does not compare favourably to laser printing.

Paper Colour and Quality:

If a hard copy is appropriate, use 100 gsm weight paper, either white or ivory. Strongly coloured paper may stand out from the rest, but will not be practical. Some colours do not photocopy or scan very well. This makes it difficult for your CV to be circulated inside the company. Using inappropriate or poor quality paper will imply that your standard of work is also of poor quality.

Extra Effort:

When you present yourself for an interview, you make sure that you look your best. Your CV presentation should also be at its best. You can achieve this by including a couple of extras. Thermal binding and hard backed envelopes, coupled with your well-written and well-designed CV, demonstrates your enthusiasm and above-average interest in the position available. Bring a list of your referees presented on a reference sheet that matches your CV. Info about referees.


CV Formats: (1) Chronological

Monday, September 14, 2009 By: Debra Mills
Category: CV Formats

The traditional reverse chronological CV lists your experience starting with your most recent job.

Pros …
• Preferred by most employers because it clearly shows your experience, job titles, and gaps in employment.
• Directly ties your responsibilities and accomplishments with companies and timeframes.

Cons …
• Key achievements could be buried.
• Gaps in employment are very evident.
• Job hopping is revealed.
• If your most recent job is not relevant, this could be distracting to the reader.

Use it to …
• Highlight your most recent job.
• Draw attention to your consistent career development when you are looking for a similar or more senior role in the same industry.

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