How to Write a Good CV

OK Student | 14 Dec

Whether this is the first time you need a Curriculum Vitae or you just want to refresh it, it is always good to have some tips about how to write a good CV.

First Things First

The first thing you have to ask yourself is “Why do I need a CV?”. This will determine the type of CV you need, as not every application is the same. For instance, if you are applying for an academic position you will need to focus on different aspects than those you would need to highlight if you were applying to a job offer.

Another important tip: It’s difficult to remember all the details that deserve to be mentioned in the CV, so we advise you not to write it in only one day.

Man tying up Blazer Button

How to write a good CV?

It is true that an eye-catching design can make you stand among your peers when applying for a job or an academic position. Despite this, if the content in your CV is not good enough – either because your profile lacks basic requisites or you do not expose them correctly – you will not stand a chance. 

Our advice is for you to write the content in the first place, listing all academic and working experiences, skills, interests, etc. After this, do a quick relevancy check-up and think if what you listed is relevant for the position you are applying for. Remember to consider both hard and soft skills required in the job offer!

Young person writing on notebook

The following step is to work on the Design. You can look for inspiration and examples of templates online. Remember to adjust the design to the type of position you are applying for. You can look for more tips on how to write a good CV below. 

Academic CV

An Academic CV is quite different from an Industry CV as it’s more oriented towards your academic details than professional experience. Of course, if you have relevant work experience put it in the document by all means, but mentioning a summer job you had for two months might not be the best option (unless it’s a summer school!).

An academic CV requires details about your academic achievements, including the names of some important modules you took, the title of your dissertation, and your previous supervisors. Sometimes it’s specifically required to include two or even three recommendation letters as well. You wouldn’t usually put these things when applying for a job, but that’s what makes a difference between the two types of CV.

You should also put titles of papers you may have published, some extra courses you took (inducing the ones you took online), your academic skills and maybe some programmes you know how to work with required for quantitative or qualitative research.

Also, an academic CV is often more than two pages long, while Industry CV has a recommended limit of a maximum of two pages (ideally, even one!).

Industry CV

As mentioned above, an industry CV needs to describe your professional experience and include fewer academic details than an Academic CV.

You can include relevant work experience, mention you own a driving licence, how many languages you speak and some professional references if you have any.

If you’re a recent graduate and don’t have any work experience, feel free to list the skills you gained through your college/university experience. No one is expecting you to graduate with 7 years of working experience, so don’t feel obligated to put something under the work experience section.

How about design?

Many people still use Europass CV as their template. Europass CV is very useful if you’re a beginner and it’s easier to fill out given sections than organise them yourself.

However, Europass CV is a bit outdated and unless your employer specifically asks for it, it’s better to avoid it. On a different note, be careful not to exaggerate your design making your CV look like a collage rather than a professional document.

Canva, for example, has great CV templates that can help you decide how you want your CV to look.

How many details?

There are many doubts about whether to include a picture, whether to put references at the end of the CV, to include a phone number or not… It’s really up to you. And up to your employer and where are you sending your CV to.

Research shows that 80% of employers in the US will not hire you if you upload a picture of yourself into your CV. A CV without a picture may leave a more professional impression, and definitely do not include one if you’re applying for an academic position. If your job is of a different character, or the application sounds more relaxed, a photo might be a good option.

 

It’s the same with references. Depending on where you are sending your CV, you should decide whether to put references and their contact at the end of your document. In an academic CV, it’s a must. Usually, applicants put their previous supervisors, professors or people they worked with.

Your phone number, together with your email address, should be on top of your document, under your name. You do not need to include your home address.

Look at a few examples of CVs online. You will manage to see for yourself what are the good practices and how to write a good CV.!

In most cases, a motivational letter is required together with a CV/resume. It does not serve to repeat all the things you’ve mentioned in your CV, but as a supplement that explains, with more detail, the facts you’ve listed in the CV. Tip: Explain how your technical and soft skills are useful to address the functions. 

Remember, lying in your resume is never a good idea. It can easily be revealed and that won’t leave a good opinion about you not only as a worker but also as a person.

Put in everything you think is relevant, everything that shows all your qualities and represents you as a person everyone would like to work with. For all questions about CV and how to write it, feel free to send us an email at info@okstudent.com

If you need help applying to a degree abroad, book a meeting with one of our advisors here!