Crash Course in CV Writing

As promised and due to popular request, I was going to explain you in a nutshell how to write a CV (or Resume as Americans say).

There are a few sections you need to prepare.

I recommend writing them in the order that I indicate here.

Oh yeah, before we begin, keep this carefully in mind: your CV is going to be only one page. This is the standard format. Even if you’re the most interesting person in the world, which of course you are, you’re not going to need three pages.

CVLaurent Guedon

French CV…

1     Personal Details

This section must have your name, address, telephone number and email. If any of them is missing, you’re going to be in trouble because the company won’t be able to find you, and if your CV is read by a computer it will automatically reject your application.

You don’t need to list your age, date of birth and whether you’re married or not.

2 Work Experience

List your jobs from the newest to the oldest. So that means: start with your current or last job.

Every job that you did must have the following information.

Put this on the first line:

The job title (the function), the name of the organization, the city, and the months and years that you worked there.

Put this on the second and next lines:

The tasks and achievements that you did in this job.

Here is an example from my CV:

English Teacher, Berlitz Language School, Tel Aviv, January 2003 – December 2004.

– Taught adults and children in groups, working on their fluency, vocabulary and grammar.

– Tutored clients from large companies and government ministries who are sent abroad and need to brush up their English.

– Accompanied clients in specific tasks they had to do and assisted them in bridging cultural differences.

b. The description of your tasks should start with an action word (a verb).

Good action words to describe jobs are:

Managed, coordinated, led, implemented, developed, co-assisted, wrote, taught, analysed, planned, created. Etc.

Here is another example of a job description, this time from a successful financial manager:

2004-2012: Auditing Manager, Ziv & Haft CPA, Tel Aviv

  • Managed an auditing team of 12 accountants and trainees.
  • In charge of attending to portfolios of various public companies, and large private companies.
  • Prepared financial reports for companies, including diverse reports for the stock exchange, tax authorities and other government authorities.
  • Accompanied the team by communicating with the customers, including meetings for the purpose of preparing reports.
  • Participated in the customer’s board of directors’ meetings for the purpose of presenting financial reports.

Don’t list more than 3 or 4 jobs, and don’t list jobs that you did more than 10 years ago.

3     Education

Again, list your education from the newest to the oldest.

You should state the degree or diploma that you did, the institution or school where you studied, and the year(s). You can also indicate specialities.

If you have a higher degree, you don’t need to list your high school.

4     Languages

List the languages that you know and explain how well you know them.

For instance:

Spanish (mother tongue), English (fluent)

If you know a language only a little bit, don’t list it.

5     Computer Skills

Make a small list of the main computer programs that you know.

For instance:
Microsoft Word, Excel, internet, Photoshop.

6     Voluntary Work (if you do this)

You’d list this in the same way as your jobs under Work Experience.

7     Hobbies (optional)

Write only one line with your hobbies, for example:

Swimming, reading, skiing.

Watching TV, your children and sleeping are not hobbies!

8     Referees on Request

This means people who can recommend you. If you write “Referees on Request” it means that you allow the company to ask you for those people’s phone numbers so they can call them to ask about you.

That’s it!

Easy, right?

And the last important tip is, always have your English CV checked by someone whose English is perfect. Spelling mistakes will usually result in your CV landing straight into the dustbin.

If you need help with your CV, send an email to jackie-s@013.net. I’ve helped hundreds of people with their CVs and they got a real job!

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