Writing a CV is no easy task. Whether you're writing a CV for the first time or updating your old CV, it can be confusing and difficult. To facilitate this difficult task, we at Buzzcv.se together with our professional recruiters have compiled an ultimate guide for you. This is so you don't have to worry about googling the right information in the jungle of articles on the web.
Our guide is divided into different sections so you can easily skip the parts you feel confident about and focus on what you are struggling with.
We wish you the best of luck and we are sure that you will manage this gallantly and get a perfect CV that will give you the dream job.
1. Fundamental Information About CV
1.1 What is a CV?
CV is an abbreviation of the word "curriculum vitae" which is Latin and means "the course of life". Your CV is thus a historical description of your professional life. By professional life we mean your schooling as well as your work experience.
The word CV is often used synonymously with the English word "resume". This is wrong as a CV is a short listing of your working life credentials. A CV is an informative document that can contain shorter descriptions of your work experience, education etc.
Having said that, it is important to point out that your CV should not contain too much information and should be kept short. It is often here that confusion arises when "keeping it short" and at the same time being "informative" can be a bit contradictory. But don't worry too much about that right now. We will explain this in more detail below and you will get a good understanding of how everything is connected.
1.2 What Should A CV Include
By default, it is usually said that a CV should contain the following headings.
- Personal information
- Professional experience
In addition to the standardized headings, you should also have additional headings in your CV to give the employer a better idea of who you are. These headings are.
- Short About Me
So, your CV can contain up to 8 different headings depending on how you feel about designing your CV and what you want to include. We will go through the different headings below and what information they should include.
1.3 Cover Letter
We strongly recommend writing a cover letter for every job you apply to. You send the cover letter together with your CV to complement the basic information in the CV. You should use your cover letter to describe, more fully, why you are interested in the service and why you are so good at it. You can see your cover letter as a short, interesting story, which makes the employer extra interested in you.
Please read our guide where you will receive tips and advice on how to write a cover letter.
To clarify this a bit: Imagine that your CV is the document that the employer sees first. Here, the employer sees that you have the right education and work experience to do the job. But your CV does not describe who you are, which means you are still completely anonymous in the eyes of the employer and you do not stand out from other people with similar CVs. This is where your cover letter comes into the picture and explains more fully who you are and creates a greater interest for the employer.
1.4 The Steps to Getting A Job
The most important thing about being able to do something is to understand why you have do what you need to do. Therefore, we offer below an explanation of how the employer looks at the employment process so that you get a better understanding of why you should put down work on your CV.
The employer has posted a job advertisement and receives 100 CVs.
Step 1: The employer reads CV after CV and quickly looks through each CV for about 3-10 seconds. If something captures the employer's interest, that CV gets about 30 seconds of attention.
Question: What is the easiest way to get the employer's attention?
Answer: Stand out (visually)! If your CV looks different from the other 99, you will become one of the CVs that the employer spends 30 seconds reading instead of 3.
Conclusion: The appearance of your CV is important to get past step 1.
Step 2: The employer spends 30 seconds on your CV, reads your information and puts it in the "save" pile. In addition to your CV, there are another 5 CVs that fall into the "save" pile. All 6 CVs that are in the "save" pile are people with approximately the same qualifications but only 3 people will be called to an interview.
Question: What can you do to be called to an interview?
Answer: Stand out (informatively)! Hiring a person is a long process and it is important that people who are hired are the right match. It is therefore of the utmost importance that the employer feels commitment as early as possible.
Conclusion: Explain more informatively about who you are and why you are perfect for the job. A good document for this is a cover letter.
Step 3: The Interview. During the interview you will be able to say more about yourself and highlight your personality. If you really want to impress the employer, you can do a personality test and give them your results that show that you are the perfect person for the job.
Also read: Best tips for being called to a job interview
Hopefully, the above steps have given you a better understanding of why it is important to have a visually attractive CV, a well-written CV and a cover letter. Perfect, let's move on!
2. Begin Writing Your CV
2.1 Personal Information
What is personal information? It is your name, contact information (mail and telephone number), your age and where you live. It is no more advanced than that. The only thing to keep in mind is that your personal information is at the top of your CV.
You do not need to include the title "personal information" in your CV. But in some cases, it may be a good idea to include a title to clarify the structure of the CV.
Personal information - CV template
(If you like the CV, you can click here to use it)
The above CV is a perfect example of a well-structured CV that has the heading "personal information. At the same time, the contact details are also easily accessible at the top of the CV.
2.2 Title of Your CV
All our CV templates have the option to write a title in your CV. This title is not standard based on the norms surrounding CV writing, but we believe it is a great way to make you stand out and give you the opportunity to quickly describe to the employer who you are.
The title of your CV can be used in a way that you think suits you best. If, for example, you are looking for a job as a financial assistant, you can either write "Financial assistant" as the title of your CV to clarify that you are applying for that particular job. Alternatively, you can write something that will make you stand out and create an interest as "Sweden's sharpest economist". As you can see, you can use the CV title as you want to suit your needs. We have asked a large number of recruiters about titles in the CV and everyone thinks it is a good idea and something that is innovative.
Here you can fill in a short summary of your previous career and where you want to be in the future. You can view this section as a shortened and extremely summarized version of your personal letter. The purpose of this section is to give the employer a quick summary of why you are the right person for the job. You choose if you want to include this section in your CV. If you choose to include it, you should spend time getting a good summary that is interesting. Otherwise, this section may appear negative as your CV will be longer and not as clear. Here you can read an example of a good summary that has a red thread about why the person is applying to the job.
2.4 Short About Me
Here you have the opportunity to describe some brief personal information about yourself. For example, if you have a husband or wife and children. You can bring up any hobby that you are passionate about or something else that can capture the employer's interest. But remember to keep it very short, preferably just a few sentences. You have the opportunity to talk more about yourself during the job interview.
You should always include your education in your CV. The views about where to put this information in the CV differ from recruiters to recruiters. Based on our surveys, your education should be early in your CV if you have a degree from a college or vocational training. If you only have a high school diploma, you can put your education after your work experience.
Keep the education section as short as possible. Print out the school name, your program and one or two sentences that describe the education if you think it is needed.
2.6 Work Experience
Work experience is the most important section of your CV and a section that you should spend a lot of time on. This is where you have the opportunity to show the employer that you are right for the job and have the right experience. You can choose to have the order of your previous jobs in different ways. Either you print them in chronological order with your current job first. Alternatively, select only the previous jobs you have that are relevant to the job you are applying for.
For jobs that are not relevant to the job you are applying for, you can use a bulleted list of years, company names and positions under the heading "Other Jobs". This is true for both of the above options. See example CV below.
Under this heading you fill in the special projects that you have been involved in and completed or certifications that you want to highlight in your CV. Here you can brag about some relevant relevance to the job you are looking for. The purpose of this heading is mainly to show that you are an ambitious person who is happy to take on demanding tasks. Examples of a certification may be a sales training that you passed. Examples of a project may be a special task that you were responsible for, or were involved with at a previous workplace. A concrete example could be if you were given the task of streamlining a work task and as a result the company saved time.
Try to be creative here and think back to things that you have done before that make you stand out from the crowd and that may be interesting to hear about from an employer.
In this section you bring up special skills that you are extraordinarily skilled at. The section is designed as a list and you can choose to have your own “grade” in the form of a number to visually show how good you are at a certain skill. This section is designed to give the employer a quick overview of your skill without having to read much text. In just a second, the employer will know that you are good at, for example, "project management" or if you are a "team player".
Here you can either fill in the text "References are provided on request" alternatively fill in the name of your reference, his/her position and company. We do not recommend that you fill in any contact information for your references in your CV. This is because you will most likely send your CV to a number of different employers and only a handful of these will lead to an interview. Therefore, you should not unnecessarily spread contact information to your references but only disclose them when an employer asks for them.