Companies that recruit for expert positions expect to receive professional CVs. The time that is spent reading one job application and CV might be even less than one minute, says Hanna Sirot, HR Business Partner at Metropolia University of Applied Sciences (1). In this time, the applicant’s core competence, work experience and education are quickly browsed. The more compact and clear the CV is, the better chances there are of getting it shortlisted.
This is one fact that I have become to know as Business Coordinator at SIMHE (Supporting Immigrants in Higher Education). And my question to you is: Is your CV as professional as you are?
To get invitations to job interviews you must first make a good CV. What you need is a high-quality general version of your CV that you can revise to match the position you are applying for. So, take some time to get your CV up to date.
1. Find a template that reflects your professionality
A convincing CV is clear, brief and preferably sent as PDF format. You may start your CV updating process by choosing one of the ready-made CV templates you can find from the Internet. You can also find templates on Word: open a Word document, select File and choose More templates.
Whatever template you choose, make your CV fit in 1 or 2 pages. It is easier for recruiters to get a quick understanding of your competence when you have listed the content clearly and briefly.
2. Create a general version
Writing a general CV based on your professional background helps you to later modify it to meet the needs of a position you are interested in. When you have listed all relevant job experience, degrees and other expertise you have, you can use the same CV with small updates when sending it to different companies.
Update this general version when it is necessary: when you start at a new job, your duties at work have changed, you have finished a study module, etc. This helps you to react fast to interesting job offers and submit your application in time.
3. Start with a brief introduction
In the upper part of the CV, describe with a few sentences who you are, what you do for your profession and most importantly, what are your plans for the future. Explain why you are interested in this particular company and positions. Let your motivation shine!
The purpose of this introductory section is to raise the recruiter’s interest to read the rest of your application documents. It also helps keep your career on track. When your goals are written down it is more likely that you will follow your goals and accomplish them.
4. List only relevant experience
Start updating your CV by filling in your professional and educational background. Mention only relevant degrees and job experience that add value to your profile and show the milestones in your career. List them in chronological order starting from the newest. This makes it easier for the reader to follow your latest achievements. Mention job titles, companies and units where you have been working. If there are many short periods at the same employer, is it possible to squeeze them together in a brief summary?
5. Add the important skills and strengths
Strengths vary from field to field: punctuality is appreciated at accounting, creativity at game design. What are your strengths related to the work tasks you are applying for? Take a moment to identify and reflect your strengths. There are multiple free strength tests on the Internet. Try for example this Via Institute of Character’s Strengths Survey (2). Or check the Indeed Career Guige’s list of 36 strengths (3).
Describe your language and IT skills. Have you accomplished modules or courses on your professional field? Determine your levels of language fluency: native, fluent, advanced, intermediate, beginner. Check the definition from Indeed Career Guide’s blog How To Include Language Skills on Your Resume (4) if you are unsure about the difference between native and fluent for example.
6. Add a professional photo to your CV
Last but not least, attach a professional-looking photo of yourself. Photo is not compulsory but it helps recruiters to remember your application. It also creates a feeling of trust. Remember to keep the CV brief. Mention only relevant matters. Don’t forget your contact details: full name, telephone number and email address. Place them on a front page of the CV. If you are looking for more detailed instructions watch this 3 minutes video by Guardian Jobs (5). The quality of the CV is crucial: the better CV, the more invitations to interviews you will receive. And that is the first step in getting the job you prefer.
1. Sirot, Hanna. HR Business Partner at Metropolia University of Applied Sciences.
2. The Via Institute of Character. The Via Character Strengths Survey.
3. Indeed Editorial Team (2022). 36 Strengths To List in Your Resume (With Examples) https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/resumes-cover-letters/strength-in-resume
4. Indeed Editorial Team (2022). How To Include Language Skills on Your Resume
5. The Guardian Jobs (2019). How to write a CV – a Guide.
Maria Osamitsu works as Business Coordinator at SIMHE project. Her aim is to smooth the path for international talents to Finnish labor markets by creating relevant networks and strengthening customers’ job searching skills.