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Building your CV

In this article we go through what a good CV should be like.
A person reading an instruction manual. Tools and parts of furniture are on the floor.
© Luleå University of Technology

Note that depending on where in the world you are, it might be more common to use the word ‘résumé’ to describe this document, but these tips apply for both.

Your CV should be:

  • Short and sweet and easy to read
  • One or two pages long (one page is generally best)
  • Using clear titles
  • Made with a nice layout with a good amount of white space so that it is more pleasing to read

On top of those basic guidelines to strive toward, you should also think carefully about how you can use your CV to stand out from the crowd. Make it special and unique without breaking any of the guidelines above and your chances for getting hired will go up dramatically.

Once again, think of your brand and the unique selling points that apply to you. You want the content of your CV to answer the question “Why should we hire you?”

A note on customisation

Many job seekers wonder if it’s really necessary to make a different CV for every job they apply to. The answer is, of course, yes! But instead of starting from scratch for every application, create a master file. This master file is a comprehensive document that lists everything you’ve ever done in great detail. That way, when it comes time to applying for a job, you can pick and choose the relevant information from your master file to create a unique, customised CV for each specific position.

Be sure to document your tasks, your results and achievements on a regular basis (once every quarter is a good idea) so that you don’t lose track of what you have done as the years go by. This will make it so much simpler when it comes time to apply for a new position.

Six seconds

That’s how long a recruiter will spend looking at your CV before they decide if it goes in the “yes” pile or the “no” pile. After 30 seconds, you can be sure that whoever is reading your CV has become tired of it and will be moving on to the next one.

This means that you need to make the important information stand out and capture the attention of the reader. It also needs to communicate a clear answer to the question mentioned above.

You can’t expect people who read your CV to draw conclusions or read between the lines. They might have loads of applications to go through, so do the job for them by making your CV as clear and as easy-to-read as possible.

The following steps will take a closer look at how exactly this can be done.

© Luleå University of Technology
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