CV dos and don’ts—10 tips to update your resume

Your CV is a marketing tool with the purpose of getting you interviews by convincing potential employers that you are the best fit for the available job opening. To create a great CV that positions you effectively in the market, it is important to identify the role that reflects your skill set and recognize the unique selling proposition that makes you stand out from the competition.

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Below are 10 tips to write a persuasive CV and encourage prospective employers to shortlist your profile:

  • Identify the market segment and aim for the kind of role for which you can achieve the best results. Understand the key result areas that the job requires and share your experience focusing on the results the employer organisation can achieve by hiring you.
  • Include quantitative information in your CV to support your claims. Sharing facts in figures, currency (USD, HKD, GBP, Euros etc.), and percentages (%) will make your CV stand out and give a fair idea about the size and scope of the roles you have held.
  • Link your skills and efforts with positive outcomes by briefly stating how you achieved results. For example – “Increased annual turnover from HK$ 6 billion to $10 billion within 2 years by developing key accounts through networking and relationship building”.
  • Carefully read the job description to figure out the most relevant key words. Include them in your CV to get past the Applicant Tracking System (ATS). Using MS-Word format helps to optimize your CV for an ATS, if you include appropriate key words. However, if you are directly emailing your CV to the recruiter or sharing it through a reference, it might be better to use PDF format.
  • Customize your resume for each position to which you are applying and invest time in working on the content. Though it is important to incorporate key words from a Job Description, make sure that you do not copy the same language in your attempt to match your skills and experience.
  • Your CV should not be longer than two pages as recruiters generally shortlist a CV at a glance of 5-10 seconds. Therefore, keep it short, concise, and to the point. Avoid using jargon, outdated language and long sentences.
  • Use action words such as built, developed, managed, evaluated, analysed, prepared etc., in bullet points to describe your key achievements, and always tell the truth in your CV.
  • Include industry specific terminology but make sure that you do not repeat the same statements and words.
  • Select a clear and professional template for your CV and choose a font that is easy to read.
  • Proofread your CV many time to ensure that there are no spelling and grammar mistakes.

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CV Builder or MS Word?

Once you are all set to write a CV, the question is whether to use a CV builder or create it by yourself using MS-Word. Well, there are plenty of free online CV builders available these days to help job seekers write a professional CV. However, there are some factors to be considered before you make this decision-

Using a CV builder would be helpful as it has multiple ready to use templates to choose from, and may also provide professional tips, industry specific phrases, and vocabulary to enable you to write a professional CV. It is advisable for-

  • professionals who do not have the time to create a CV from scratch
  • those who are not comfortable with designing a template
  • fresh graduates and new aspirants who do not know what to include in their CV

However, there are some limitations to CV Builders-

  • May not offer enough flexibility to customize your document.
  • There may be hidden charges involved that you may discover only later.
  • May be outdated or complicated to use and you would probably end up spending more time than building a CV by yourself.
  • There may be other aspirants using the same template as yours for the listed job.

Thus, a CV builder is a good option if writing, formatting, and template designing are not your strengths. It also helps you to focus more on the content as the designing part is already available. But, if you are a creative person and want a unique profile that sets you apart from other applicants, it would be better that you design your CV yourself.

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Tips on what to include in CV-

  • Personal Information: Include your name, address, email id, and mobile number in this section. Use an email id that is professional and easy to remember with your first and last name in it.
  • Career Summary/ Objective: Select a few of your most relevant key skills and achievements to summarize what you can offer to the hiring organization. Write the summary after you have finished writing the rest of your CV. In case of inadequate work experience, change of location or sector, it is advisable to share your career objective to highlight relevant soft and transferable skills.
  • Career Details: Write your career history in reverse chronological order. Prioritize the content of your CV. share all important pieces of information on the first page in order of their relevance to the listed job. Highlight your achievements and explain how your skills have helped your current and previous organizations to achieve the desired results. Emphasize more on your current role.
  • Volunteer work: If you are a fresh graduate or a new entrant, it helps to highlight any volunteer work experience to bring the employer’s attention towards your soft skills.
  • Education Details: In this section, list your professional and academic qualifications. Begin with the most recent qualification and work backwards.
  • Important Training, Accolades, Recognitions, and Certifications: adding any prominent training, certification, and acknowledgements will add significant value to your profile.
  • Software Skills: Include your working knowledge of relevant computer software programs.
  • Languages known: include the proficiency level of languages you know if you are bilingual or multilingual.
  • Interests and hobbies: Add your interests and hobbies if they are relevant to the skills needed for the job.
  • References: it is not required to provide the details of references at this stage. However, you may state that the references are available upon request.

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