Countless online and offline guides have been made on succeeding with one’s job-seeking process. Perhaps even more have been made on writing a good CV. Below, we hope to share some novel and interesting insights that you haven’t heard of before or that tackle certain principles from different angles.
Meet CVGuru, Norway’s leading provider of CV writing services
CVGuru is a leading online service that writes CVs and cover letters for its clients. The employees also help clients with other parts of their job hunt, including interview training, career consulting, and setting up their LinkedIn profiles.
In the numerous articles on their website, they outline some of their best tips on writing a great CV and cover letter. Here are some that we believe you will find particularly useful and interesting. We have divided the tips into two parts: notes on structure, and notes on writing style.
Notes on CV structure
The structure of your CV matters a lot to the impression it gives recruiters, and how well the information is presented. We mainly want to highlight three points.
Use a CV template
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Lots of really smart and expert people have spent a long time perfecting CV templates that anyone can easily use to fill in the kind of information that any recruiter wants to know about an applicant.
The formats vary, and the first thing you should do is to peruse many different versions to see what feels like the best template for you. You can start by seeing whether you like any free CV template from CVGuru on this page of theirs: CV mal fra CVGuru (which is in English as well), and there are also lots of other versions out on the internet that you can use.
Make your most relevant qualifications come first
When recruiters look through CVs, they spend only a few seconds skimming through the material, on average. What they’re looking for are the main qualifications that are absolute or preferred qualities for the job. To make sure the recruiter actually sees your most relevant qualifications, you should place them first, for example by putting experiences before education, or vice versa.
Your CV and cover letter should work in tandem
When writing your cover letter, don’t just repeat what you wrote in your CV; make them work in tandem by, for example, sharing key facts about your job description in your different jobs in the CV, and the most impressive facts about your results and performances in the cover letter.
Notes on CV writing style
When you have the overall structure right, it’s time to think about your CV writing style, and how you formulate the words and sentences that go into your documents.
Be specific: Write sentences that nobody else can write
If your goal is to lull the recruiter to sleep, the best method would be to write very generally about you being “hard-working, creative, and solution-oriented,” or how you, in your last job, “managed projects and analyzed information.” You can be sure that the recruiter has seen all of this before, and it’s downright boring to read sentences that anyone else can write.
What you instead want to do, is to write sentences that nobody else can write. For example, you can showcase your quality of being hard-working and resourceful by explaining how you worked 12-hour days, 5 days a week, for 2 months, in times of hard deadlines and too many projects to handle. For your work task of managing projects, you can specify it by writing in short and interesting detail about how you oversaw the development of a new technology that would enable astronauts to easily control space shuttle equipment with simple finger movements (one of CVGuru’s clients had actually worked on such a project).
To really pack a punch, write a compelling story about how you went through some relevant challenges and emerged successful, with newfound skills or qualities that are highly useful in the job you’re applying to.
Be modest, but honest
Some people are bragging too much when writing their CV; others are downplaying their achievements too much, and aren’t even showcasing their accomplishments truthfully, in fear of sounding too egocentric. A good balance to strike is to be modest, but honest; write truthfully about your achievements, and what value you believe you can add to the company, without unnecessary pomp or pretentious language.
Write in a way that anyone can understand
You’d be surprised to know that recruiters often know less about a job than you do yourself. A doctor who has specialized in cancer research knows much more about cancer research than a recruiter who only has a general doctor education. The same goes for other fields; the people at the top who are doing the hiring process (including HR teams) often know a lot, but not as much, as you about the relevant jobs you have had in the past. Therefore, you will make a better impression by using simple language that anyone can understand, as opposed to jargon that is highly specific to the processes and responsibilities of your work.
Armed with these tips, you should be well on your way to writing a CV and cover letter that stands out. A big thanks to CVGuru for supplying the information on their website.