Writing the perfect CV... 10 tips for writing it

If your CV passes through the hands of a recruiter, it is probably because it contains a certain number of keywords that have been selected by an automatic search engine.

At this stage, your CV has passed the first stage in a few milliseconds. A human being will then spend no more than 30 seconds reading it for the first time. That's how important the first impression produced by this document is when it's discovered.

In terms of both form and content, an effective CV should stand out from the crowd so that you stand out from the other applications received by the company.

Creating a CV is an exercise in synthesising your identity and your career path. If you stand out from the crowd, a successful CV will be a perfect reflection of that.

Work on the content of the CV first, then on its layout.

There's no point wasting hours on Word page layout if you only have a rough grasp of it. You can do the layout, or have it done, after you've read your prose, reread it and had it reread. You can also try to make an online CV on Canva or other online CV services, but it's also unrealistic to get the best results. Free perfect CV without doing the background work yourself.

A layout professional will only spend a few minutes formatting content that you have already spent many hours on. It will only cost you a few euros from an online service to get the look of a professional CV. Word-processing skills are not common among candidates.

Avoid the "creative" style CV if you are neither artistic nor eccentric. Don't be unnecessarily exuberant, just sober. Don't talk too much, just give clear, useful information about your professional life.

Lying on your CV.

Embellishing reality is one thing, but lying about your qualifications, your professional experience or your language skills is taking an unnecessary risk. It's a small world: social networks allow recruiters to take references without your knowledge. A recruitment agency's visit to your LinkedIn profile says almost as much as a job interview!

Identify yourself.

State your identity and contact details with your postal address, then add your e-mail address, Linkedin and Viadeo profiles, Skype address and Twitter address (if this account is linked to your professional activity only).

Avoid ridiculous e-mail addresses such as turlututu@monfai.com or dated, early nineties-style @wanadoo.fr. In fact, why not create a dedicated e-mail box for your job search? That way you won't be mixing towels and napkins - in other words, you won't miss out on the opportunity of your dreams because it's drowned in your junk mail.

Should I put a passport photo on my CV?

A passport photo is not compulsory, but if you choose to include one, it must be to your advantage. Once again, don't be fancy. Go for a recent photo that doesn't distort reality! If you've been spoiled by nature, make the most of it, but don't overdo it. You'll be recruited for your skills first and foremost, at least in principle!

Mention the job you want!

Sometimes it goes without saying, but it's better when you say it. If your recruiter is looking for a "Project Manager" or a "Project Manager", it will be easier for them to identify you as the ideal candidate at a glance than if they have to read between the lines to find out what positions you have actually held. Be precise, because the position mentioned is not a catch-all list of all the positions you are open to. It's an opportunity for a "perfect match" between your expectations and those of the recruiter. Adapt your CV and the position you are applying for to each application if necessary. Use your recruiter's jargon, or better still that of your future employer. Social networks are very useful for this. For example, check out the profiles of employees at your target company, and don't forget to check out the profile of your potential future boss.

Talk about your expertise.

If you are applying for a permanent contract and already have significant experience, highlight your skills in a very concise paragraph. In just a few words, the recruiter will know what you can do.

Reading the rest of the CV will only serve to confirm your first impression. Think about the key words, the ones that will confirm the recruiter's initial selection.

Be specific and concrete. Avoid generalities: for example, instead of "budget management", say "management of the €3.2m annual R&D budget", without going into too much detail. You'll have plenty of time to do this with your interviewer during the interview.

Talk about your experience.

If it's your first job, put your training ahead of the game than experience that is not significant. Lack of professional experience does not mean that you should not highlight activities in which you have developed real skills. If, for example, you are the treasurer of a sailing club, or the coach of an amateur football team, mention these. These are jobs that showcase your ability to manage people.

For each of your professional experiences, clearly present the mission and the results you achieved. Be honest and don't think too highly of yourself, because you could get hurt...

To talk about your experience, use precise terms. If the tasks are not technical, prefer action-oriented terms. Banish "management of..." or "in charge of...", which suggest that you are subject to your position. "Leading, promoting, organising, supervising, developing" say much more about your ability to take action.

Talk about your training.

Start with your training if you have little or no experience. Here too, be honest, because usurpers are quickly exposed.

Indicate your level in each of your modern languages. There is now a European assessment system for language skills which allows you to carry out a self-assessment and create your language passport online.

No CV without a covering letter.

Writing a good CV isn't enough unless you think you're Marissa Meyer! This is your chance to personalise your speech and show off your communication skills. Don't forget: " What is well understood is clearly expressed and the words to say it come easily. "said Boileau. You need to show your suitability for the job in a clear, concise and punchy style. The cover letter is essential when making an unsolicited application.

Have your CV or covering letter proofread

Creating a CV is a lot of hard work, and it shouldn't end up in the bin after 30 seconds... So have your CV proofread. You've spent so much time on it that you can't see anything! You've already contacted your spouse and friends several times. At this stage, it's no longer the spellchecker built into your favourite word processor that's going to save you from making mistakes. Leave it to professional proofreading of your Curriculum Vitae or covering letter. For just a few euros, the proofreading your CV is a good investment!

If the marketing is your speciality, follow this guide to make a good marketing CV.

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