Writing a CV – what to do and what NOT to do!

Writing a CV can feel like a heavy task when you sit and stare at that blank page. We wanted to give you some helpful tips when it comes to writing your CV.

What should be on it

At the top of the CV you should have your name, phone number, email and address listed. If you want to you can also add a professional picture, which can help your CV stand out more from the others. Please ensure that you use a professional picture (No party picture, “duck face” or half nude pictures).

Regarding the structure and order of your CV I advise to use the following titles: Work Experience, education, languages and skills. The most recent activity should be on the top and then in chronological order. Don’t have your last employment be at the bottom. Also think about what you want the recruiter to see first, depending on the job you’re applying for. If you are applying for a HR job, perhaps your bachelor’s degree in HR is most relevant, and therefore should be on the top. You can also add hobbies if you would like, however this is not necessary. If you do add hobbies, they should be somewhat relevant to the job you’re applying for. If you’re applying for an IT job and don’t write Technology under hobbies, the recruiter may wonder. On your work Experience it is imperative that you write start and end dates, not in years but in months and years like below example. It is also important that you write some highlights of your tasks and responsibilities, so that the recruiter knows what you have been doing, since jobs can be very broad.

01/2017 – 02/2018          Star Call Centre                 Customer Support Representative

  • Handling incoming calls and emails from customer
  • Adhering to SLA´s
  • Troubleshooting technical issues

One thing that is important to remember regarding your CV is that you should spend some time on it. The point is that you only need to do this once, and then as your career and education progress throughout the years, you simply add your experiences onto your existing CV. If you have a very short and simple CV, then the recruiter will think that you’re not motivated enough to spend time on it, and therefore not genuinely interested in the position you’re applying for. The possible result of this is that you won’t be selected for an interview.

Regarding languages, it isn’t necessary to use the international reference levels (A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2) however you do need to add the level of proficiency (Native, Fluent, Full professional proficiency, Basic knowledge etc). Also, it doesn’t benefit anyone to lie here, because all of the language-based jobs will have a language test with you before they would make an offer of employment. If you write that you have basic knowledge of a language and you’re applying for a language-based role, don’t be surprised if you don’t hear back.

What shouldn’t be on your CV

  • Google Translated sentences – We will notice… And some sentences really make no sense or means something it should not. Oh, so you’re “liquid in Spanish…?”
  • Languages you don’t speak – Absolutely no point in adding this
  • Every single course you took in colleague – Choose the important ones for the job, the rest is simply not relevant
  • Pictures of you tanning, partying, bathing or using Instagram filters that makes your eyes pop out of your head – I won’t contact you…
  • Don’t put a parent down as a reference – We’re sure your mom is proud of you however this has no bearing on your application
  • Don’t list your “home tasks” on your CV, like “helping mom with taking out the trash twice a week” – Lets face it, this is weak. If you don’t have that much experience let’s just be honest about it and don’t list completely irrelevant things.
  • Do not lie – Mama told this this as a kid, right? Serious companies will do background checks as well as reference checks and it’s embarrassing to be caught in a lie. Ensure everything on your CV is accurate and true.

To end this educational article, please read through your CV, have an honest friend do it to get a second pair of eyes and an honest opinion. Create your CV with the purpose that the recruiter reading it will know who you are.

Alva Ingelström & Marte Ødegaard Hansen - International recruiters
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