How to prepare a CV

Maintain a master CV: List down all your achievements in your life. You shall taper this down based on the job description. Make sure to include the following:

  • Work history
  • Internships
  • Extra curricular activities
  • Project Work
  • Honors & Awards
  • Skills
  • Educational Qualifications
  • Courses
  • Certifications
  • Volunteer work
  • Language
  • Interests
  • Publications
  • Test scores
  • Patents

Most of this can be found on LinkedIn as fields in your profile. Update it from time to time. Your memory is not that great. List it down, keep it, and use it later. It does not matter whether you are applying to a job right now.

Identify the job: Find out what others from similar positions have gone on to do. Use job portals and search for a job that you have identified as something achievable but at the same time, is a step forward in your career. Use the following parameters to do it:

  • Job title
  • Location
  • Salary required
  • Skills possessed

Identify an ATS friendly template: The resume needs to be readable by a computer.Here is an article on how Applicant tracking systems(ATS) work. Make sure you pick the right template. Make sure you have your resume in chronological order.

Identify keywords for your job: This is based on the job description. Please ensure you identify the key skills required for the job and cater your resume directly to it. It should look to the screener like you were made for this job. Here is an article on how to find these keywords.

Make a resume header: This is the first in a list of sections for your resume. Here is an article on Must have and good to have sections to optimize your resume. Make sure to include your contact details in the resume header. It should have the following sections.

Mandatory:

  • Full Name
  • Phone number
  • Email address

Optional:

  • Address
  • Linkedin/ Facebook profile
  • Personal website
  • Fax number

Job Objective Statement:

  • Make it very specific, make it very targeted to the job.
  • Avoid buzz words like strategic, synergy, challenging position, opportunity to grow etc. All this is verbal diarrhea.
  • Research the career ladder within the organization and use company/ profile specific phrases.
  • Keep it simple and it should display to the manager that you have done your research on the job.
  • Look 5-10 years ahead on what you aim to be.
  • Restrict it to between 10 and 15 words.
  • Make sure to include the area of work(eg. data science), the specific title(eg. project manager) and specialization(eg. Cognitive automation)
  • Example: I aim to be a project manager in Data science focused in cognitive automation.

Summary section:

  • Start with your strongest and most relevant skill/ qualification related to the job and highlight your relevant key achievements. Consider adding the following if relevant and you see as your strong point:
  • Experience related to job or key skill required for job. (eg. 4 years of android development)
  • How does your personality fit the job (eg. Analytical mindset that consistently help me solve problems faster than others)
  • Any passion that is valued by the employer(eg. Linux enthusiast, and up to date with latest developments on the OS)
  • Any technical or linguistic skills that might help you on the job (eg. Intermediate VBA macros on excel)

Employment history

  • Include as many relevant keywords to the job as possible in this section
  • Write this in reverse chronological order. As far at the timeline is concerned, date: not necessary, month: optional, year: mandatory
  • Do not use a table for entering the dates, use left/ right align.
  • If you were unemployed between two jobs for whatever reason, be honest but clearly ensure to fill in the gap with some productive activity (eg. Studies/ parenting etc.)
  • Highlight and elaborate on job relevant experience. Keep irrelevant experience very brief.

Achievements- don’t be modest:

  • Take some pride in your achievements. It should not sound like you were just doing a job.
  • Add numbers, percentages, dollar figures, and timelines to quantify your achievement.
  • Make sure you answer according to how success is measured in your field.

Education history

  • This would normally come after work experience. However, if you are a fresh graduate and this is most relevant to the job you are applying to, put this right upfront after your summary.
  • Major specializations, minors and coursework should be included only if they are relevant to the job.
  • Common industry wide abbreviations on college degrees (eg. B.E. for Bachelor of Engineering) are okay to use.
  • Abbreviated college names are not advisable.
  • If you are yet to complete studying and are applying for a job, state when you expect to complete your degree and any honors you are on track to get. (eg. anticipated completion July 2015)
  • Add grades if you believe it is to your advantage and if it is relevant.

Skills

  • This is one of the most important sections in your resume. Add all the keywords you have researched that you possess relevant to the job. You can use CVLift for this purpose.
  • Make sure all the skills you add here are job relevant. Remove non-relevant skills
  • Add language skills if you believe it might help you in the job.

Volunteer Work

This is an optional one. However, this is a strong portrayal of character. Include any social service if you personally deem it as an achievement and you still have space on your resume.

Interests/ Hobbies

This might include travel, sports, religious, political, and other personal activities. Add it only if you think it is relevant to the job or if you think this portrays character that would add value to the job.

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