Updated: Jun 8, 2022
Your CV can help you to showcase your skills, stand out from other applicants, get the job you want, and build a career. Find out the many benefits of a CV (Curriculum Vitae).
Getting a job is not a walk in the park. Getting a good one that fits your profile and preferences is even harder.
Let’s start with the statistics to state the point.
Research about hiring and job applications said that on average, there are roughly 250 applications for every job opening, and 80% of the openings are filled through networking. From the applicant’s side, it takes 21-80 job applications to get one job offer. Applicants get one interview for every 1-10 applications sent, and one job offer after three job interviews.
In simple words: the competition in the job search is tough. Either you're a freshgrad who's looking for the first job or a veteran who's stuck in the career and want to get unstuck, you need to stand out from other competitors to get noticed. You need to ace all the elimination processes to get the job. And one item that can help you get that “love at first sight” is your CV or Curriculum Vitae. It will be the first thing recruiters see.
But that’s not all. As one of the most important documents in your arsenal in your career journey, your CV can help you to showcase your skills, stand out from other applicants, get the job you want, and build a career. In this article, we’ll find out the many benefits of a CV and go over the process of creating a killer Curriculum Vitae.
The Tale of a Purple Cow and Why a CV is Important
On a train trip in Europe, the author Seth Godin saw a herd of cows on a grass field. He thought, that if there were one purple cow among those hundreds of black and white, it would surely stand out. That’s the basic premise of his book.
In the career context, your CV should serve as that purple cow. While a cover letter is your introduction, the curriculum vitae should make you stand out among hundreds of other applicants aiming for the same job. It’s one of the communication tools that summarize all the skills and experience you have gained throughout your career, gives a good impression on recruiters, and lands you that dream job.
A CV is important because it serves as an attention-grabbing bridge between you today and the more successful future of living your dream career. The curriculum vitae is the most important document that you’ll ever write to snatch the job opportunity. It will be your first impression, and it should leave people wanting more. It should show the best angle of your image to your future employers.
What Are The Benefits of A CV?
You only have a few seconds to impress your potential recruiters (or in some cases, clients). Make those seconds of first impressions count by presenting an eye-catching, easy-to-read, and well-written CV.
Here are several benefits of having a well-made CV.
1. Boost your self-confidence
Writing down your skills and abilities on your CV is a very constructive thing to do for your self-confidence. With all of your positive traits on a piece of paper (or a screen) in front of you, you will feel imbued with a strange strength that you thought would only be fit for heroes. Wise men say that well-earned confidence is half the battle won. Future employers will also be more likely to hire confident candidates. So, all the more reason to create your self-confidence booster.
2. Prove your knowledge
A good CV is not only your positive traits but also your certifications, experience, and other notable achievements you have. Those are your proof of knowledge and help put you as one of the self-aware candidates. Employers look for these kinds of credentials when they search for candidates. They know that someone who has done something before knows how to do it better than someone who hasn’t.
3. Show teamwork skills
Since we're already mentioning your college organizational experience, your Curriculum Vitae would also be a good place to display what teamwork skills you've put to good use. In all fairness, there would only be a handful of jobs out there that don't require you to work with a team to finish your daily tasks. This is why having your teamwork skills easily known is a good thing while you're composing your CV.
4. Make your application stand out and leave a lasting impression
Let's face it, how would you feel if you receive a letter without clear information? Would you try to get to know the person sending the letter? Most of us would just forget that letter and grab the next letter in the queue. Now, that clear information for employers is your CV. Let's make a memorable resume and let your potential employers remember your application and try to get to know you, shall we?
5. Make your interview process more effective and efficient
With a good CV in the hands of your potential employer, there will be more minor interrogation happening to you. If they already have the needed information suitable for the job description you are aiming for, the interview process would focus on what kind of person you are instead of the details on the official documents. Concentrating on what you can do again is memorizing your life which is backed up by your CV, that's going to be a fun process. Reciting what you can do is another confidence booster, at least that's what I've experienced myself.
6. Improve your employability
A great CV makes for a great hiring process, both for you as the job seeker and also for your potential employer. With all your suitable traits written down on the CV that they're now holding, prospective employers can't help but conclude that you're a person with good attention to detail, who will go and research things that need to be done, an independent yet inquisitive worker. Add that to the pleasant interview they had when they had you in their office, and at the very least, I'd say you'll be on their list of top candidates to hire.
What makes a good CV?
Along with a good cover letter, a well-written CV is important to further your career. The benefits of a well-written CV are clear: the entire document will leave a good first impression on whoever reads your CV and that will make people want to know you better.
This might seem obvious, but it’s good to remember that when you're writing your CV, you don’t have to write down every single detail of your life. It will be endless bullet points. A prospective employer wants to see if you can fill a role in their company, not to know what you achieved in your elementary school years. So let's limit your Curriculum Vitae to the following relevant items:
1. Personal Details
Your future employer and coworkers would need to know your name and age at the very least. The social setting of a workplace sometimes needs more things, such as your marital status or even your religious belief, to accommodate a more inclusive workplace for everyone. But these details aren't necessary unless you plan on working in a certain environment where those details matter.
If you're applying for a position that requires a degree, then include the names of schools attended, degrees earned, and any honors received. This way, potential employers know whether you have the right qualifications for the job.
2. Skills and Experience
This part should be where you flaunt the things that you can and have done. Your future office requires this to see if you would fit the open position according to the job description. So don't be shy to put all your relevant soft skills, hard skills, technical skills, and your organizational experience here. You may have worked in several different positions, so you can highlight each one of them. It doesn't matter how long ago you were employed in each position, just mention the dates.
It also helps if you list your skills and job experience in the previous companies in the form of your achievements, not merely the titles and positions. For example, instead of saying "I was a project manager," you can say "I managed X projects successfully by using the Y method and achieving Z." Utilize action-oriented and detailed language by using an action verb every time you see an opportunity. That way, you show off your expertise and demonstrate that you can do the same thing again.
3. Personal Summary
A brief paragraph from you about yourself is a good way to round up all the given details into one package that is you. This is crucial because people work with people, not only someone's skills and experience. The personal summary is often used to judge a candidate based on his/her personality.
Include some information about yourself, like hobbies, interests, values, and career goals. Also, include a short description of your professional background. If you have been involved in any organizations, include them here too.
You shouldn't forget to add references at the end of your Curriculum Vitae. They are vital to give credibility to your application. This is especially true if you've had previous jobs. Asking for recommendations from former supervisors will help you get hired faster.
References are usually listed alphabetically according to the last name. However, there are exceptions to this rule. For instance, if you have an academic reference, you could list him first. Likewise, if you have colleagues who have worked with you, they can be listed before your supervisor.
How to Build A Good CV?
The next question is, "Do you have a killer CV?" CV templates can help to some degree, but using a common template and swapping in your data just won't cut it. You need to build a good CV in the correct order.
1. Professional Look
"Don't judge a book by its cover" is a misleading plea. People judge a book by its cover all the time. Those who look at your Curriculum Vitae are no different. No matter how good the content of your CV is, it's no use for your job search if it can't grab the attention it deserved. So start there. A CV should look good, be eye-catching, and be visually appealing. Make it a creative resume and a colorful document.
To start, choose a font that's easy to read. Avoid fancy fonts or those that are difficult to distinguish. Make sure the text is large enough for the reader to easily spot. And use white space between paragraphs to break up the content.
2. Clear Contact Information
Make sure your contact information is clear and visible. Include your full name, address, phone number, email address, and web page URL (if applicable).
If you're applying online, you can also include your social media profiles. But remember that employers might check these out as well.
3. High-quality Headshots
If you want to stand out from other applicants, consider getting a professional headshot taken. Headshots are a great way to showcase your appearance and professionalism. Hire a photographer if you must, or take the headshot yourself. Either way, make sure you get high-quality images.
Make sure that you are the focus. Don't forget to include the entire upper body, and smile. Remove glasses or hats if you can.
4. Relevant Skills and Experience
Now comes the hard part: to list the skills and experience you have. Don't worry about listing all of them. Just focus on listing the ones relevant to the job that you apply for. For each skill, try to explain why you think you are qualified for the job. Describe what you learned through training or education.
It also helps if you describe your work history. What did you do previously? Why was it important? Did you learn anything from that experience? Your work experience section should be organized chronologically. List your most recent job first, followed by your previous ones.
5. Concise Education and Certifications
This section is where you go into more detail about your educational history. List your degrees, certifications, and awards. Be sure to provide details such as dates earned, degree programs, schools attended, and locations. Remember to keep things concise.
You can also include your certifications. These are often awarded after completing courses or passing exams. Certifications show that you have completed certain tasks and have an in-depth knowledge of your subjects. Some companies even require them.
6. Complete Projects
Include any projects you've worked on. If possible, add links to websites or documents related to the project. It shows that you are able to complete your tasks and that you can communicate effectively.
Add your achievements for each project. You don't need to write an entire essay just because you had to create a website. Simply state the task, who you worked with, and what improvements or goals you've achieved.
7. Brag-Worthy Awards and Honors
Listing awards and honors will help you stand out in this section. This includes awards won at school, community events, and competitions. But it's best if you can include the ones that are proud of and related to the field that you're applying to. Even if you have tons of awards, if they're unrelated, then it doesn't help you move forward.
8. Genuine References
And finally, references. List people who can vouch for your character and abilities. They show that you are trustworthy, reliable, and dependable. Make sure that all references are genuine. Ask for permission before including them.
Usually, you only need three references, but there's no harm in adding more.
Benefits of hiring a professional to write your CV
If you have an extra budget in your job search, you could consider hiring a professional to write your CV and cover letter. A good writer knows how to use keywords and phrases to attract employers' attention. They'll also ensure that your resume contains no spelling mistakes or grammatical errors. They also know what they're doing. It's their bread and butter after all. Other than making sure that your resume is well-written and good-looking, they can also help you pinpoint the issues that ordinary people usually miss.
With the help of professionals, you'll get a better quality CV, save time and effort, have all your career issues addressed, and get a confidence boost in your job hunting.
Use LinkedIn as Your Ever-Expanding CV
LinkedIn has become one of the biggest social media platforms today. It's designed for professionals, and with over 500 million users, it's worth checking out - especially for those who want to expand their network.
Other than the usual digital socializing activities, you'll be able to upload your current resume, update your profile, connect with other professionals, and conduct an effective job search campaign. Having your CV uploaded and ready on LinkedIn will help you a lot in your job search. If you want to make yourself look more attractive, you should think about uploading photos, updating your cover photo, adding videos, and writing a personal summary in your LinkedIn profile.
But LinkedIn itself is a CV on steroids. Other than looking at your work experience, prospective employers/clients can see you as a person. More and more companies are adding LinkedIn as a required hiring element. So, use it as your ever-expanding CV.
Benefits of Creating a CV - Let's Get It Done
We are at the end of our journey. You know the benefits of a CV to get a job and further your career, you know what makes a good CV, and you know how to build one. But just knowing will bring you nowhere. Knowledge is not power, it's just potential power.
To turn potential power into real power, you need to act on it. Taking action should be your second nature.
First thing first. Build your CV. Now.
And experience the benefits of creating a well-written CV in your job search.