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WHAT’S THE PATHOF YOUR LIFE?Although there is a growing emphasis on demonstrating your skills to potential employers in otherways, such as through online portfolios and social networking tools, the CV still has a key role to playin getting you the job you want.There are, however, some differences on how you should present your CV in each market.Across the world, the way CVs are written and read varies. In Europe, it is literally translated as the“path of your life”, so it’s important to show detail, responsibilities and progression rather than justa chronological list of job titles and duties.There is flexibility in how you create the right CV for yourself, but there are also some pitfalls youshould try to avoid.Let’s walk through the kind of CV that compels employers to act and how you can create it. 2
GET THE FORMAT RIGHTThe role you’re applying for, and the stage of your career, should determine the kindof CV format you should use. These are the basic CV types to choose from:1 2 3 Functional CV: If you’re applying for a job Chronological CV: These list every posi- Combination Functional & Chronological that is a big step upwards, or is outside tion you’ve held and the responsibilities CV: Use elements of both to highlight all your dominant skill-set or industry, this you’ve had, starting with your most recent aspects of your skill base, particularly if format can be good. It also works if you’re position. If relevant, include both paid you have qualifications that have not been returning to work after a break because it and unpaid positions. This CV type is the utilised in specific roles. emphasises skills and ability rather than most common in Europe. List temporary employment chronology. State your ca- positions in reverse chronological order, reer objective first, then, broadly discuss just as you would full-time positions. If 4 your skills and qualifications, detailing all you worked with a temporary staffing Visual CV: These are becoming more com- the relevant technical skills you have. List company, use its name as your employer, mon and can combine all kinds of visual your education and qualifications and in grouping all of your assignments together. elements, including photographs, videos, a separate section, provide your work his- Clearly state that the assignments were infographics, tables and charts. These tory and what you’ve learned-without pro- temporary. are great for people starting out in their viding dates/timeframes. Be as detailed as career who may not have a lot to say, but possible, and provide job titles and names want to show what they’re capable of. of organisations you’ve worked with if possible. 3
KNOW YOUR MARKETMore people are looking for work across borders and it’s important to get your application just right for the market you’reapplying in. In France, CVs should be written in French and accompanied by a handwritten cover letter. In Germany, it’scommon practice to put your picture onto your CV, yet in the U.S. employers are required to discard these if they receive them.A little research can go a long way and if uncertain, contact a recruiter or HR consultant to help you out and provide you withgood examples. Targeting effectively means knowing what’s important.For example:The length of your CV is often considered less important than the structure to European employers. It’s recommended to avoidavoid over-used statements in your industry or location. You can find great lists online, which show who uses which buzzwordsin each location and how you can differentiate your descriptions. Often it’s better to show rather than tell an employer you haveskills like creativity, motivation or problem-solving skills. You can do this by using concrete examples, or in the way you designyour CV.Be specific about your qualifications as these are often difficult to compare across borders. Include important facts about theschools, colleges and universities you’ve attended that might reinforce their good reputation to someone who doesn’t knowthem. Be careful of your wording — English is a second language to most and using complex corporate or technical jargon canmake it difficult for the reader to understand what you can do or have achieved.Beware of different formatting and printing standards across countries too. If you’re in Europe and sending your CV to the U.S.,use the correct paper size and vice versa. 4
The New Digital CVThe digital or infographic CV formatis becoming ever popular. In a worldwhere people are increasingly timepoor, tools such as vizualize.me areallowing job seekers to bring theirplain old paper based CVs to life usingvisual images and icons.This easy to digest CV option canbe created using links to your socialnetworks and provides a uniqueway of presenting your skills andachievements. Referring to a digitalCV in your job application can ensureyou stand out amongst the crowd,especially in a highly competitive jobmarketplace. 5
DO’S & DON’TSIt can be a real challenge understanding all the do’s and don’ts when writing your CV across several countries in EMEA.We’ve consulted with some recruiting professionals in the local markets to bring you their 3 top tipsFrance 3. Avoid sharing personal information, 3. Personal details should include: useless data and make sure the presen- - Last Name, First Name1. Mention your position at the top of tation is nothing short of excellent. Do - Date of Birth your CV to clearly identify the position not print on both sides, send photo- - Place of birth you are applying for. You can also copies or use crinkled paper. Don’t ne- - Citizenship(s). men ion - at the top - a foreign lan- t glect to mention your foreign lan- guage IF you speak it fluently. guages or computer skills if the posi- UK2. Your professional experience: This tion requires them. 1. Aim for 3 pages maximum. part of your CV is generally the most important one, unless you are a junior Germany 2. Photos are not advised in the UK - with no experience. For each job, including one may inadvertently 1. Include a professional headshot pic- you eed to mention the following n encourage discrimination. Also there ture either in the upper left- or right- information: is no necessity to include, sex, age, hand corner. - Dates (beginning/end)/job title/name marital status for the same reasons. of the company/location 2. You should use up to two pages for 3. Avoid clichés. - A sales line/accomplishments with your CV. However, these two pages real figures should not be crammed with small- - Keywords used in the job ad. print information. It should be reader friendly. Therefore, choose your word- ing very carefully and make sure that your font is a minimum of 11 points. 6
DO’S & DON’TSSwitzerland 2. Recruiters in Russia prefer to receive Portugal a CV with your photo. But make it a 1. Describe the tasks of your most recent 1. Keep it short - A good CV should ide- professional photo with a clear white jobs matching them to the job you are ally cover no more than two pages. background. applying for. 2. Layout - Keep it clear and accessible.2. Structure to follow: personal informa- 3. Always write about goals you’ve 3. Have different versions available - tion and picture, professional experi- achieved, and specify them (#, %). Keep each one relevant to the job you ence, educational background, lan are applying to. guages, IT knowledge, special recog- The Netherlands nitions/certificates, hobbies, faculta- 1. Keep the layout to a maximum of 2 to tive: references (can also be requested 3 pages, make it short and concise. on demand). 2. Recruiters prefer a chronological, clear 3. A nicely designed cv is always a plus > structure with the most recent experi use some colours or background de- ence listed at the top. sign, structure the text very well and make it easily readable. 3. Add your personal interests and hob- bies to give your CV some added per- Russia sonality.1. If you apply to any middle or senior management position never reference your unprofessional private e-mail in your CV like firstname.lastname@example.org. 7
GET THE DETAIL RIGHTTake a look at tools like the LinkedIn analytics site, which shows what other people are doing with theirjob search and CV writing (and what to avoid). Specific elements to pay particular attention to are:Write a great objective say how much you saved rather than stat- ing you made ‘significant’ or ‘substantial’Take some time to think about this. It savings. If you improved a process, sayneeds to reflect how you genuinely feel what you did and how it benefited theabout your career. If you’re motivated by company.customer service, say so. If you’re focusedon promotion and leadership, say so. If Be aware of your tone/styleyour goal is simply to work for one com-pany because you believe in the culture, Be professional, direct and to-the-point.purpose and what they do, say so. Be Try to be objective and accurate in every-specific! thing you say — descriptors like ‘good communicator’ or ‘results-oriented’ are List all your contact detailsBe measurable very common and should only be used if you have examples to prove you really are It sounds obvious, but triple-check yourand give examples these things. Find tangible ways to prove phone number, email address and streetWhen highlighting your achievements, be your ‘team-player’ attitude and all other address is correct. Include your twitterspecific about what you’ve done. If you’ve ‘soft’ skills, and if you don’t have any, con- tag, website address and your LinkedInworked with a large team on one project, sider leaving them out. Without examples profile reference if appropriate as this willuse the word “I” instead of “we”— say they make very little impact anyway. provide employers with more material towhat you did in the process and what you assess your suitability for the role.were responsible for. If you’re going togive examples of cost or time savings, 8
TELL THEM WHAT THEYREALLY WANT TO KNOWWhen reading your CV employers will have these questions at the forefront of their minds.If you can answer them, you’re on the right track:“What can you do for me?” “Do you have the skills I need?” “Are your education and credentials appropriate?”Ask yourself if your CV captures the Place key words or phrases from the jobreader’s interest, clearly summarises who ad you’re responding to throughout your Use correct terminology and keywords toyou are, your greatest strengths, and the CV. Reorder your skills list to put the most ensure your information isn’t overlookedmain benefit of hiring you. relevant to the role first. by employers or CV scanners.“Are you a valuable “Do you have “How are you unique?”employee?” relevant experience?” Distinguish yourself from other candidatesEnsure that your CV demonstrates that A job title might not accurately convey before you meet the prospective em-you have made successful contributions your relevant job experience. Consider us- ployer. Highlight ways that you work thatelsewhere. This doesn’t all need to be ing bullets to outline interesting informa- is different from others with your skill-set,about other employers — demonstrate tion that applies to the position. Keep this and highlight extra skills such as foreignvalue at your school or university, com- information brief and accurate. languages or technical expertise.munity organisations and other volunteerpositions too. 9
Proofread and get feedback. If you’re not sureyou’ve answered these questions, get a trustedfriend or colleague to proofread and double-check the detail in your CV. They can alsohelp you pick up inconsistencies, errors andunintentional negative comments or tone. 10
BE NOTICED BY THE ROBOTSDon’t assume that a human being will be reading your CV at the first stage. Applicant trackingsystems (ATS) are software tools used by recruiters to sort candidate applications. They are usedoften across Europe, so you should assume your CV will be processed by one, particularly if you’reapplying for a role with a large organisation.These systems can be error-prone and relatively simplistic in how they group information.So, you need to ensure your CV is ready to meet the robot and make the right impression.1 3 4 Send the right format: word documents Be clear about role titles and employer Use the job ad as your guide: take note are still best. PDFs and other formats can names: don’t get too creative here, list of the keywords mentioned in the job be difficult for the software to import. things clearly and succinctly so the ATS description and mirror these in your CV. Avoid other graphic elements too — text imports your information correctly — this is all that will be imported. is very high on the recruiter’s priority list so if you get one thing right, make it this!2 Say what you mean: label each section clearly so that the ATS imports the correct information into the right fields. Title your employment history as “employment his- tory”, “work experience” or anything else that says what it is. 11
ATS can reduce 75% of job seekers’chances of gaining an interview**www.cio.com “5 Insider Secrets for Beating Applicant Tracking Systems” 12
BE ACTIVE NOT STATICEven if you’re not an active job seeker right now, there are benefits to taking a proactive stance in your career.Different employers will search for you in different places, so diversify your presence online to increasethe likelihood you’ll be found by the employers you’re targeting.It’s increasingly important to use everything from social media and networking events to online job boardsin your search—don’t rely solely on your two-page CV to get you noticed. 1 4Boost your job-seeking Consider creating a digital portfolio with Post your CV in places like Slideshare,presence by: tools like weebly or about.me. CareerBuilder and anywhere else that might be relevant to your industry.• Networking and connecting with col- leagues and like-minded individuals 2 Get active in professional social media (on and off-line). networks, such as LinkedIn.• Starting discussions on blogs and industry sites. 3 Consider putting your CV into animated• Participate in groups and engage with PDF or PowerPoint presentation format others in your field to broaden your (but don’t send these formats if you’re networks. going through a recruiter as their ATS will• Position yourself as the thought leader/ not be able to read it). subject matter expert within your field by publishing examples of your work. 13