What Cv Template Should You Use To Write Your Cv?
Quite often, many people do not get the chance to sell their skills in front of an interviewing panel because of the first impression they make. Your Cv is the first thing your future employer looks at and is your pathway to the next step in every interview. How good your Cv is determines whether this employer will have a good or bad first impression of who you are hence the need for anyone applying for a job to always make sure their Cv stands out of the competition.
So how do you ensure your Cv stands out? The first and most important step is, knowing what format it should be in. A Cv in the right format is more likely to be read in detail than a Cv that is difficult to read and seemingly disorganized.
With the right Cv format you can be assured that:
- Your Cv will look unique hence captivate any recruiter’s attention out of a batch of hundreds of Cv’s they have to look at.
- Your Cv will spell out all the important information the recruiter is looking for at a glance and make it easy for the recruiter to quickly make a decision on your eligibility.
Three key things to note about writing a Cv:
- Whatever Cv format you choose to go with, ensure you begin by describing your personal details such as your name, age and contacts after which you give a brief description about yourself and some of the qualifications and skills you possess in relation to the job your are applying for.
- Ensure the Cv format you choose does not make your Cv too long. Your Cv should be at most 2 pages of A4. This by any means does not mean that you squash most of the information you have to put across in an effort to shorten the length. It means, make it precise and straight to the point with the most important information. Contrary to the false norm that having a long Cv shows how much experience one has, a long Cv shows your inability to write concisely. Besides, no recruiter has the time to go through a 5 page long Cv. Keep it short with the most relevant information.
- Cv Formats differ based on what information in one’s Cv one chooses to highlight first and in more detail.
Now that you are aware of the advantages of having a good Cv format and what every Cv requires, let’s find out what Cv formats are the most suitable depending on who you are and what job you are applying for.
The Student also, known as the Graduate Cv format; Like the name suggests, if you are a college or university student probably seeking for an internship opportunity or a fresh graduate applying for an entry level job, this format could be the most applicable to you. For many internship and graduate training opportunities, employers do not look for someone with too many skills for the job but someone that can be taught new skills and is open to learning this skills and performing.
Following this format, it is, therefore, important to begin with the, “qualifications section” sighting the qualifications you have that are relevant to the job role such as, you have a degree in Information Technology and are therefore applying to work in the company’s IT Department. Furthermore, go ahead and sight the various coursework and research projects you have worked on that are relevant to the job. Talking about this also gives you an opportunity to highlight some of the skills you have attained through these projects such as research skills, time management skills, interpersonal and teamwork skills to mention but a few.
Be sure to also highlight the skills that put you across as a person that is open to learning new things and is flexible. When a recruiter reads your Cv they should be convinced you are the kind of person that will be able to flourish with a little bit of training and mentorship.
The Performance Cv Format; This Cv format is most applicable to someone that has had quite some work experience and the job they are applying for requires that type of experience. When following this format it is advisable one begins with an “achievements section” sighting the various achievements they could have accomplished in their line of work or service that is relevant to the job they are applying for.
Thereafter, one goes ahead to highlight the most important bit of this type of format which is one’s work experience. Under this section one has to talk about the companies they have worked for, their job titles as an employee in each of these companies, how long one has worked for in the various companies and the roles or responsibilities they were tasked with under the different job titles they held. Be sure to fill in this section starting with the most recent job you have or are currently holding moving backward.
With this format one is able to:
- Highlight the necessary work experience and skills they have for jobs that require some experience.
- Highlight their career growth hence a basis for them to apply for a job of a higher rank than the one they previously held.
- Highlight any well-known and credible companies that could also contribute to the recruiter’s’ decision.
However, this format is not applicable if:
- One does not previously have any work experience.
- Has switched jobs quite often hence worked for quite very many companies. This could often presents one as someone that is not stable enough to hold a job for a long period of time and therefore cannot be relied on.
- One has work gaps for example where they have been out of employment for many years.
- One’s work experience is irrelevant to the job they are applying for.
Although this format is widely used, basing on the above description, it may not be applicable to everyone.
The Functional Cv format; Contrary to the Performance Cv format that focuses on individual job roles and job specific skills, this format focuses on transferable skills that one can easily transfer from one work setting to another. With this format, one highlights their skills and achievements in relation to the job under three to six functional headings. For example, if one is applying for a customer service role, one would include headings such interpersonal skills, communication or leadership skills stipulating the skills they posses under each of these headings in relation to the role.
How one may have attained the skills whether through work experience, or education and how long ago does not necessarily matter with this format. What matters is the skills one has that are relevant to the job.
This Cv Format is most applicable to you if:
- You have had very many jobs and worked for quite a lot of companies. This enables you to highlight all the skills you got from the different jobs without having to portray the bad impression of having been a person that alternated jobs quite a lot.
- You are seeking to enter a new area of work or a new field. For example, if you are applying for a Sales’ job but previously held the role of a Journalist.
- You do not want to leave out certain important skills you may have acquired in the past but have not really practiced in the current or previous job roles you have held.
- If you took a long break from the employment world but have important skills you may have learned along your path for example skills you could have obtained from running your own company and not necessarily those from the companies you worked for.
However, please note that this Cv format is not well-known by many recruiters. It is only advisable to use it only if the above situations apply to you and are to your advantage.
The Targeted Cv format; This format also focuses on the transferable skills one has as opposed to the job roles one has previously held. Although the targeted and functional Cv formats are similar, when using the Targeted Cv format one highlights their skills under only two headings, “Abilities” and “Achievements” as opposed to the Functional Cv format skill headings. As the name suggests, this format is meant to target a specific type of job, therefore, whatever skills one includes should be targeted to the job one is applying for.
Under the “Abilities” heading, one is supposed to highlight the different skills they have that they could have acquired naturally, from their work or from education. To give an employer more understanding about one’s skills, it is important for one to be specific and go ahead and explain further what exactly they have been able to do under these skills, an example could be:
“Research skills – this involves carrying out surveys and interviews, drafting proposals and writing dissertation papers”.
The “Achievements” heading allows one to further highlight their uniqueness as an employee. One should cite those things they accomplished that made them stand out. An example could be:
“Selected as the “employee of the year” for three consecutive times.”
This type of format is most applicable to you if:
- You are trying to target your Cv to a particular job.
- You have some employment gaps.
- You want a career change but most of your previous work experience is not necessarily in line with the career you are looking to go into.
However, if most of your work experience or the companies you have worked for are more relevant to the job you are applying for, this Cv format would not be advisable for you as it would push back your most important information to the back end or second page of your Cv.
When choosing a Cv format, it is also important to note that your profession also has a role to play. For example, a lawyer and a graphic designer will often not be advised to use the same Cv format. Most of the Cv formats above could apply for the lawyer but may not be the best for a graphic designer. So what is the most advisable Cv format for a graphic designer or someone trying to show off their creativity such as an advertising executive, artist or any other profession meant to showcase one’s creative side? The answer to this is:
The Alternative Cv Format; Because such a format is often used by the advertising, designing and creative professions, it is usually original and more customized to the owner and what exact creative or original side of themselves they want to portray in relation to the job they are applying for.
- For one applying for a job as a graphic or visual designer, they could go ahead and print their Cv on some decorative paper showcasing their skills.
- For another person applying for a job as a media person, they could include a short video showcasing their work.
- For one applying for a job in the advertising department of a company. They could go ahead and present their format as an Ad.
There are really various alternative Cv options one can use. One just has to customize these options to themselves and the kind of job they are applying for.
However, before you settle for this format it is important to be sure that the employer or recruiter you are sending this Cv to is well conversant and understands what you are trying to put across. A recruiter who understands the more traditional formats, or is more corporate may find this Cv format a bit unprofessional.
Now that you understand the different types of Cv formats, do remember that regardless of the format you use, the information you put across in your Cv is the most important and is what will help you get ahead of the competition. Picking the right Cv format further, increases your chances to stand out of the pile. The Cv format you choose should highlight the most important information that makes you unique and stand out of the crowd. If the type of format or design you have in mind affects this very important information, you are better off playing it safe with another format. All in all, pick a format that will make you stand out of your competition and earn you that job interview.