A guide to designing a CV as kickass as you are

You want a new job! Before you get to sending out applications, why not stop and think about what you can do to increase your chances – like, say, designing a CV (that’s short for curriculum vitae, a term straight out of pronunciation hell) that is not only eye-catching but efficient and effective? (TIDBIT: Did you know curriculum vitae is Latin for the phrase, “course of life”? Heh. Now you know.)

Designing a CV might sound tough. After all, you’re not just writing about yourself – this is the Tinder profile of the working world, and you’re praying for that one employer to swipe right.

For those who are just starting out, here are some helpful tips to getting started on designing an effective CV.

STRUCTURE: ORGANISE + PRIORITISE

The most effective CV is a highly organised one. You don’t want a potential employer to feel frustrated from having to navigate a visual maze in his search for relevant information – and that’s precisely the point: you want your CV to be as relevant as it is concise. Some people can conflate their career and personal details into one page, while others have CVs that go on for maybe two or three pages. Both are acceptable (since CV length largely depends on your profile and amount of experience), so long as you remember to structure your CV logically and neatly!

Monster provides a well-organised example of a mechanical engineer’s CV, while Chuckdlay offers a fresh perspective on a designer’s CV. Other eye-catching designs include a D&D-style CV, which is just downright impressive! Here’s a rough breakdown of what your CV should look like:

  1. Personal details
  2. Profile/career summary: This section is great for showcasing your passion and ambition as well as telling people who you are!
  3. Key achievements, if any: Significant promotions, projects undertaken, professional awards
  4. Career history/work experience: Remember to omit part-time jobs that aren’t relevant to what you’re applying for. Computer programmers don’t need to tell people how good they are at serving coffee.
  5. Education history: Highlight relevant courses/classes undertaken if they’re relevant to the job you’re applying for. Academic achievements are worth mentioning here as well!
  6. Specific skill sets and proficiencies: Highly useful if you’re a computer programmer or someone looking to develop a career in technology and other technical fields.
  7. Links to your portfolios/personal projects: This is more relevant to creatives like photographers, visual artists, and even writers!
  8. References, notice period, expected salary: This section will help answer potential questions from your interviewer and save them time.

It’s important to note that this is not the Solution To End All Solutions! Depending on your career of choice, you might have to prioritise your education credentials ahead of work experience because it’s an academic position you’re eyeing. One good rule to remember is that CVs are as dynamic as the people who own them!

WRITING: LESS IS MORE

Good CVs don’t boast a long, detailed history of a tumultuous childhood. Save all of that for your autobiography lah. It’s more clinical, it’s void of emotion – it’s concise and brings across relevant information to potential employers without wasting ink, space, or time.

Of course, as you gain more experience and grow older, your CVs will evolve alongside you. Multiple-page CVs often manifest only beyond your fifth year of professional work.

For millennials like you and I, we’ll be designing a CV that’s short and sweet. Just like any essay or thesis, you should think about making every word count. Let relevant information jump out at your potential employer. They’ve likely got a tall stack of CVs to look through, after all, and might not appreciate having their eyeballs fall out after the fifth 12-page CV they come across.

DESIGN: WHO ARE YOU?!

Designing your CV is a personal and stylistic process. Creatives like artists, musicians, and writers utilise funky, colourful CV templates that financial executives and technical professionals might not go for.

There are tips that apply to everyone across the board. These include keeping your CV neat, with a reasonable line spacing (to protect your future employer’s eyeballs, again) to appropriate font sizes and colour schemes.

However, business executives aren’t all dull Jacks! Even towkays have their own unique flairs, ok. Creative, eye-catching templates out there do exist for professionals from less creative and bohemian industries. Canva offers 50 inspiring designs and even throws out some useful pointers such as creating your own logo to stand out and even printing your CV on textured paper for that unique touch.

As we forge ahead into 2018, it’s important to remember that times are always changing. As millennials, we are a generation unlike any other, and such stark differences can even be expressed on paper through designing a CV!

Designing a CV takes dedication and might even speak volumes about your commitment to your own career. It is, after all, the first point of contact between a future employer and a hopeful professional! Submitting a well-crafted CV may very well be the difference between losing an opportunity and snagging that new job.

What are you waiting for? Get to WERK.

Sophia Lee

I used to freelance exclusively for Glints - now I'm a content marketing intern working furiously in the backdrop. Talk to me about writing any time! (Or we could have a serious discussion about video games and e-sports... that's cool too.) Find me on Instagram (@pxtrx)!

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