Nearly all of us, at some point, will need a professional-looking document depicting our work experience, skill-set, achievements and education. Whether you already have a CV/resume, or not, or you’re unsure if you even need one – when deciding how to create your CV/resume, there’s some important points to keep in mind to ensure it’s effective, and that it accurately portrays your professional image.
What is the difference between a CV (Curriculum Vitae) and a Resume?
What Does ‘Curriculum Vitae’ mean?
The primary difference between a CV and Resume is the length and purpose.
Typically, a CV (the term derives from early 20th century Latin, meaning ‘course of life’), details in-depth information about your experience and skill-set, as-well-as your academic background including qualifications, research, awards and achievements. This information usually spans over 3-4 pages (no more!), in chronological order, and provides a concise overview of your entire work-life.
Often, you’ll hear that you should tweak your CV/resume dependent on the job you’re applying for. This is not the case for a CV – the information should remain static, with the only variation occurring in the cover letter.
A resume is usually a single page, sometimes two. It might include a brief career summary, as-well-as a concise summary of work history and education. A resume is usually structured using bullet points to keep the information brief, and the details are tailored to suit a specific job role. The information doesn’t necessarily need to cover your entire work history – just the key points related to the position you’re interested in.
So, let’s recap:
- CV provides static information on the entire record of your career history; and
- Resume is a brief, customisable list of skills and history.
Now you know which document you need, what are the do’s and don’ts?
Well, according to research, recruiters average only a few minutes scanning through your CV/resume – that’s why it is SO important to ensure it stands out! Our team have recruited hundreds of candidates in our careers, and this is what we look out for:
- Number one on our list is poor spelling and grammar. As soon as we pick up even the slightest error, the chances of an interview decrease dramatically. Attention-to-detail is one of the key qualities every job requires. Check over your document and then check it again. Ask a friend to read through it too, and just before you’re ready to finalise it, check it one last time! Alright, you’ve checked it – we hope.
- Information update. Ensure that the information in your document is up-to-date. You may have acquired further qualifications, skills or achievements since you last needed to use your CV/resume, so don’t let it go to waste.Are you referees still valid? Do they still have the same phone numbers? Do you?
- Information relevance. Ensure words relate to your profession. For example, ‘branding’, ‘market analysis’, ‘strategic planning’, ‘corporate governance’ etc. Using key words will flag the attention of recruiters who are looking for similar skills.
- Usefulness. You have a small amount of real estate to provide the most useful information to potential employers. Social media allows potential employers to find out much, much more about you, so you might as well help them by providing links to your social accounts. (This raises a key concern when you read on to point 5). List your key achievements from your previous roles and provide a single paragraph on the background of the businesses you’ve worked at – size, purpose etc. If you’re already well into your professional career, there is no need to list specific details about your work experience from 15 years ago, nor the High School you attended. Focus on your past four main positions and simply list the remaining roles.
- Professional Image is portrayed not only in your experience and skill-set but also your social media accounts, your email accounts, your voicemail and your document theming. As mentioned in point 4, whether you like it or not, recruiters will stalk your social accounts. Therefore, it’s important to ensure your personal lifestyle is separated from your professional, using adequate security permissions. Additionally, [email protected] is definitely not going to help boost your professional image. If you don’t have a suitable email, try using your full name with a new Gmail account. Equally as important is your voicemail – it’s time to re-record something down-to-earth, in a quiet environment – if you want to be taken seriously.Next, avoid using bright, bold colours, harsh fonts and images in your document. Keep it simple and sophisticated.
- Lastly, include an objective statement in your opening, rather than generic. Don’t use “hard-working individual looking for job security”. Instead, summarise who you are, what you’re good at, what you’re interested in and what you can bring to a business.
There are many, many more considerations to be made when creating a CV or resume – it can get overwhelming. Send us an email if you’d like some guidance on how to create your personal CV/resume today!