Preparing a Good curriculum vitae – CV

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How to Prepare a Good CV ?

The c.v. (curriculum vitae) has become an essential tool for job search. It is a short but well-written description of your personal data covering your educational background,  academic qualifications, prior experience, previous employment, and often your special skills personal interests,  and hobbies. Sometimes it is called  ‘resume’. The term ‘bio-data’  is not popular in several countries.

  Preparation of the CV should not be casual. Your CV should not be casual. Your CV should generate results. Indeed it is a form of marketing communication. With some extra effort, the CV will make  you look like a superior candidate. This is your first exposure to your prospective employer. If you make a poor first impression, there is nothing like a second chance for a fresh first impression.

  Your CV need not be ornamental. But it has to  be elegant and impressive. Brief yet  informative. If it has to fulfill  all  these attributes, even the smartest candidate will necessarily have to apply his mind well and spend a good lot of time for its preparation.

   As in writing a letter, you should keep in mind the reader. In this case the reader is probably a very busy person who may be skimming through hundreds of CV documents, with a view to identifying the most suitable candidates. Necessarily your document should stand out not only in the quality of the content, but in appearance as well. It should be so pleasing to the eye that the employer is enticed to pick up and read it. It should stir his interest.

STRATEGIES FOR BEST RESULTS

a)Form:                

      1) Use good quality white bond paper. Limit the size to one A4 size page, if possible; do not go for more than two. Put page numbers at the bottom of the Pages. Write your name on the top of the second page.

2) Print nearly using a computer or an electronic typewriter. Never write in your hand, unless the employer asks you to do so.

3) Do not clutter up the page with too much matter. Elimination of the unimportant details is as important as including the essentials.

4) Make the layout neat and easy to read. Use tables so that the employer can quickly note the details.

5) Do not use too many fonts. Maintain consistency in the use of italics, capital letters,  bullets, boldface, and underlining. For example if a colon is there at the end of one academic qualification a colon should  be at the end of all such qualifications.

6) Paste a recent colour photograph at the top.

7) Never put perfume on the paper.

b) Contents:

1.  Name, address, telephone number and e-mail address.

2.  Age (need not put months and days; just indicate the completed years) &date of birth

3.  Educational qualifications (Degrees/ Diplomas year of passing University/ Institution, Class (first / second), Percentage of marks; special distinctions, if any, such as first rank in the University.

c) Style:

1. List the qualifications in the reverse order, so that your highest qualification comes first. Your prospective employer is most interested in your highest qualification. For example an engineer with a Ph D should not start his CV with the tenth standard examination, and list plus two B  Tech, M Tec , and Ph D. He should indicate Ph D first and move backwards.

2. List your experience also in the reverse order. Duration, nature of work, responsibilities undertaken (financial / administrative   / human resources  / purchase of materials  / supervision / design  / contracts etc.), published  works and special achievements have to e mentioned. See that there is no gap of years in your life calendar, when  you were doing “ nothing”. If there is a period between your acquiring the qualification and your first job, you should have been doing something useful like an apprenticeship or training or social service.

3.  If you have any significant achievement, either in the academic history or in the previous job, do not hesitate to mention it in the cv. However, there are elements of propriety. Though the captaincy of the college table tennis team is significant for a fresher from the college, an engineer with twenty years of professional experience may not list this. Instead, he could cite noteworthy instances of his professional triumph.

4.  If you have a USP  (unique selling proposition), do mention it. So also your professional membership if any your association with a body of professionals is a healthy attribute.

5.  Never be dishonest while making claims of achievement. You cannot hoodwink discerning human resources professional managers, who are quite conversant with the tricks of the trade.

6.  You may  be applying for different jobs. Depending on the nature of the job, you may have to shift the emphasis in the cv.

7.  Never send photocopies of your cv.

8.  Update your CV periodically.

9.  If you have a serious hobby, do mention it. But do not indicate a hobby like reading, music, or photography just to fill a gap. The interview board will have a copy of your cv. If you have casually mentioned a hobby in-depth questions from an interviewer may expose your ignorance, and cause embarrassment.

10.  You may indicate the names of two referees, who would honestly report in your favour if the  company makes an enquiry about you. Well-know persons and senior professionals in your line are desirable referees. Do get there are desirable referees. Do get their permission before you include their names in your resume.

11. Check your draft carefully to confirm that there is no error in spelling or other aspects of language. You may first write out all your points in detail, and then eliminate the relatively unimportant items. Careful pruning and editing can reduce the length without damage to the substance. If necessary,, get your draft CV checked and corrected by a competent person.

12. While mentioning achievements, use action verbs such as designed, commissioned, organized, wrote, maintained, composed, set up, prepared mobilized, immunized and conducted. But do not attempt to present your achievements in the style, “I designed the layout”, “I conducted the induction program” you may write “Design of”, “Conduct of”, etc.

  Certain countries / organisations follow styles, such as stating a ‘career ‘objective’ near the top. It would be a two or three sentence overview of  your skills, qualities, hopes, and dreams. Instead of experience, they would prefer ‘Career achievements’.

    When you address such organisations like foreign companies, you may follow the styles concerned. In any case. You should attempt to create the best possible impression in the prospective employer. That is the way to success.

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