How to write a good CV?

Applying for training or internship does not differ from applying for a job too much. Thus the first stage of recruitment is usually sending your CV and cover letter. Before you start looking for specific offers, spend some time on creating the first of those documents. The way you present yourself in your CV will go a long way to convince your potential employer to pick your offer from among many others.

Basics of preparing a good CV

  • Make sure that CV is written in a way that fits the standards of the country you are about to send it to. For example – CVs that should be sent to USA and Korea differ.
  • Devil is in the details. Even if some countries use the same language, and you are about to send your application to every single one of them, it is quite possible that spelling of some words will differ. Remember to choose appropriate language setting for the text editor you are using so that you could trust the spell check.
  • Stand out. Emphasize your achievements, strive for using numbers whenever possible. Backing your successes with digits can help you win over the employer.

Order comes first

If you want the employer to at least consider your application its structure has to be ordered. Divide CV into a set of thematic blocks and spread the information appropriately. The most common layout places personal data such as name, surname, permanent address, phone number and e-mail at the beginning. Then comes your background, education, list of foreign languages you know and other skills. Adding short info about your hobbies at the end of your CV is a nice touch, although you should do it only if they are uncommon. If the only thing that comes to your mind is one word such as “sports” or “music” you would do better to skip it.

Language is a key to success

If you want to do your internship abroad, make sure to write your papers in an appropriate language. It usually is English, although there are quite a few employers that require CVs and cover letters to be written in their national languages. Keep in mind that the way official documents are written may differ from everyday speech you may know from movies or holiday trips. There are some commonly accepted phrases and locutions, so it may be a good idea to use some kind of a model.

Using web translators is usually a poor idea, though. A CV “translated” by one of them may make your potential employer’s day, but it will not promote your cause. The most common errors are – of course – typos, that can either make you seem negligent or completely change meaning of the sentence. British English is different from American English, and European Spanish has quite a few distinctions from the South American one. In USA and GB some words sound exactly the same but are written differently (ex. UK – colour, USA – color). On the other hand a word you hear in Spain may be identical to the one you hear in Columbia, but have completely different meaning (ex. “camello” in Columbia means “work”, while in Spain it is simply “a camel”).

You absolutely have to include information about exactly how good your language skills are. If you are replying to offers coming from European companies it is generally a good idea to use European Council classification. According to it, there are six levels of language proficiency, ranging from A1 (the lowest) to C2 (the highest). Their description can be found here.
It is not the only possibility. For example – in case of English you can use this scale: basic, pre-intermediate, intermediate, upper-intermediate, advanced and proficient.

We should also keep in mind that even if recruiter knows from which country we come from, he may not know what is our national language. It is a good idea to put such info in the part concerning languages. If you are writing your CV in English you may simply state that this is your “native language”, “mother tongue” or that your language proficiency is on L1 level.

What should I not forgot about?

If you are going to send you CV to a foreign company you have to remember about including your country’s area code (+44 for United Kingdom).
Usually you should include your photo in your CV and place it somewhere nearby your personal data. In the continental Europe and Asian countries it is actually expected of you; in most of the Anglo-Saxon countries not so much. Keep in mind that while your employer may want to see what you look like, he is not really interested in seeing you partying or sightseeing on a trip. Choose your CV photo carefully.
While listing your education and previous jobs on application it is generally expected of you to sort it so that the most recent events would be on top. Some companies, though, prefer this information to be sorted thematically or - possibly - by the position you have occupied. The way your CV should look will most likely be stated in the offer, but it is always a good idea to check for yourself what the standards are.

It is well worth listing your trainings, practices and educational work – everything that can convince the recruiter you are the one for the job. Try to put in as much precise information as you can – besides the name of the company you may add what were your responsibilities, what was the position you have occupied and so on; while talking about education mentioning your specialty or the topic of your thesis is a good idea.

How can you surprise your employer?

  1. Non-standard medium (a presentation or a film) - see also How to write a creative CV
  2. Layout of your CV
  3. Knowledge about the company
  4. Having a clear vocational aim
  5. Previous experience (not only professional)
  6. Unconventional hobby

How should my CV look like?

If you do not know whether your CV is good to go or if you have omitted some info, you can have a look at an example of some kind. A professional template that contains all aforementioned components is called Europass-CV. Its aim is to help you present your skills in all countries of UE in a way that is simple and clear. There are, of course, other options. Most companies that specialize in recruiting trainees have special forms you can fill and send your own files as annexes. At Feender.com you can download all your personal info from Facebook or LinkedIn.

Other articles how to write a good CV:

photo source: deviantart.net


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