Making a good CV

Woman writing her CV

Faced with the need to make a curriculum vitæ ? What should your CV contain? It's often said that a CV should be tailored to each individual application. It should also reflect your personality. We suggest that you follow a method that will enable you to draw up the framework of your CV and adapt it to the job in question. In short, to make a good CV, a document that will speak to recruiters and help you stand out from the crowd, whether you're responding to a job offer or making an unsolicited application.

Preparing to write a professional CV

Before writing a CV, a little introspection is in order. You need to produce a document that reflects your educational and professional background and highlights your achievements. Grab a pen and paper and follow the guide!

Identify your skills :

- the technical skills in the broadest sense of the term, whether or not evidenced by training; (Pastry chef, CAP; Materials engineer, corresponding engineering diploma).

- general computer skills (including use of spreadsheets, word processing, DTP tools, etc.);

- language skills ;

and, where applicable, the certifications attesting to them;

- related training (MOOC, first aid certificate, amateur radio license, diving certificate), etc. ;

Identify your cross-disciplinary skills and soft skills:

those you can apply, whatever your current position: ability to negotiate, build teams, manage stock, etc. Autonomy, ease in social contacts, good communicator, affability, organizational skills, federator, sense of responsibility, methodical, expressive or writing skills, resistance to stress or difficult working conditions, ability to concentrate, spirit of initiative, ability to decide or convince, leadership, dexterity, imagination.

Summarize your professional experience :

You'll need to draw up a list of every position, job, internship (including odd jobs, including purely food-related ones), and include any associative or personal activities (e.g. investment club, sports activities, etc.).

For each of them :

    • Indicate responsibility (specify sector if not explicit), name of employer (and location if abroad), date and duration.
    • in addition to your responsibilities (type of activity, customer names, team size, targets set), specify the assignments you have carried out and the targets you have met or exceeded (sales achieved or any other indicator that can be used to assess your performance).
    • check that job titles are clear enough for all readers.
    • If possible, organize these experiences in reverse chronological order: your most recent experiences should appear first.

You now have a good basis on which to build a CV, although you'll need to sort through and adapt this content to suit the CV template you've chosen.

Tailor your application to the position you're applying for

Identify your experience and skills that are relevant to the position you are applying for: you should list all relevant experience and skills. for the position sought in your CV.

    • First of all, read the job description carefully to identify what the recruiter expects and the qualities you're looking for. Underline them or put a name to them. See how they fit into your background.
    • identify experiences that are consistent with the sector in which you work you applyYou may even wish to underline or bold the most significant elements. In concrete terms, this may even mean not listing or dwelling on the non-significant experiences you've had, but underlining or highlighting your strong points. For a Perfect CVYou don't need to list all your professional experience; you need an effective CV to apply for a job.

For the writing itself :

    • prefer a classic CV template, to Word* format if available,
    • devote more space in your CV to significant experience (several lines versus 1 line for what is of little interest).
    • Emphasize your achievements, i.e. develop the key facts likely to interest the recruiter you're talking to.
    • Reduce to one line any experience that has no connection with the position you're applying for, or even delete it! Keep your CV simple enough to get you a job interview, and don't try to include everything!

Evaluating your CV, from content to form.

Make sure your CV is legible:

    • Is your professional profile clear (title or tagline)?
    • Is your profile consistent with your LinkedIn profile?
    • are the headings clearly identifiable?
    • Is your contact information easy to find (civil status, telephone number, professional e-mail address, not fancy)?
    • check for the presence of key words and business jargon
    • your photo, if you include one, must be of good quality.
    • the layout should be as professional as possible (choose a legible font, 1 or 2 formatting effects maximum).
    • are the spelling and typography impeccable?
    • keep it to one page. A document that is too long will not be read, and may reveal a lack of synthesis.

Proofreading for a good CV

You know your background, you know what you wanted to write, what you wanted to get across. But you need to make sure that whoever reads your CV has the same understanding of it as you do. Have it proofread, if only to know how it will be perceived.

Who should proofread your CV?

You, yes, but not only you. Because even if your spelling, syntax and command of language are impeccable, there's no guarantee that a recruiter will understand the same thing as you or those around you. What's more, as any professional writer will tell you, there's no proofreading more difficult than proofreading your own writing.

Have your CV proofread to a third party who doesn't know you. This is essential. That's precisely why they'll be able to share their impressions of your career path and ask the questions that any reader will ask. In any case, don't expect the recruiter to have the first impression on reading your CV. If you or those around you missed a mistake, the HR manager may not, and may hastily conclude that you haven't adopted the professional attitude that your application initially suggested. And for those who think they write well, it's better to come across as someone who has the humility to have their work proofread than as an individualist, especially if it's to take part in an enterprise that is collective by definition.

If you have a marketingread this guide to discover how to make a good marketing CV.

* If you don't have a Word license for writing and page layout, read our article on how to get started. which software to use to create your CV.

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