To understand how to make a professional CV, it is necessary to step into the shoes of the recruiter of the specific company, country & position that you are applying to. Let us look into the 10 deciding factors that make a good CV.
1. Good CV vs Professional CV
Making a professional CV does not seem to have very different requirements than making one that is fit for applying to jobs or internships. A good CV has to be professional and vice versa.
A CV which looks professional and uses the right formal words will not necessarily be an ideal CV. Similarly, a CV which has taken care of everything but professionalism will fall short of the recruiter's expectations. It can be said that a professional CV is a subset of a good CV.
2. Error-free content
Errors in the content of your CV are not merely mistakes. To the recruiter, they are the reflections of your unprofessional-ism. Grammar, punctuation and inconsistencies related errors hide in your CV even after diligent working. This happens because of two reasons. Firstly, your focus might be on some other aspects and you might skip noticing these errors. Secondly, because you have been working on the CV over a long period of time, you become used to seeing it like that and it makes the errors seem normal to you. However, the errors bother a recruiter looking at your CV for the first time.
3. Font and colors
Using colors is not prohibited on a professional CV. Using colors when not required and using the wrong colors is where the problem lies. Many students wonder why they are getting rejections without realizing how competitive the job market is and how the CV is your first impression to a stranger. Using the same font size throughout your CV is not an impressive thing to do. Using a font like Times New Roman does not go down well with some recruiters either, as they find it "too common or boring". Having a number of uncomplimentary colors is also a risk you should definitely avoid taking.
4. Concise and impactful
A professional is expected to get her or his point across in a smart and concise manner. Therefore, doing the same on your CV is the best way to already let the recruiter know that you have that quality. Painting the picture of your life on one page is a tricky job, but not impossible. Choosing words that contain a lot of meaning and using numbers to tell a long story are some practices which will make the content of your CV not only manageable, but also professional. For consulting with us on how to make a professional CV, find us here on our "Work in Paris" section.
Adding a picture? Making a 2 page CV? Including your hobbies? Wait for a moment and think about the country specific guidelines. Applying to a job position without researching about what will work might not seem like a big deal at this stage, but it can imply that you overlook such details often. For cultural as well as social reasons, different countries require their CVs to be a certain way. "A good American CV might not fit the requirements of a German or an Indian one", says Sasidhar Darla, an MBA graduate from thhe US and now a founder at Myoksha Travels. Therefore, take care of this while creating a CV. At "CV Check", we can rectify all the issues of your CV within one day, no matter where in the world you are.
Agreed - a book must not be judged by its cover. But when we talk about reading hundreds of CV at the rate of 10 seconds per CV, appearance can not count more. The recruiter might even not be aware of the fact or willing to reject a CV for its appearance, but humans have an eye for presentable things. This is why the professional world is not devoid of the importance for appearance of your work. The layout should be such that the reader can reach the information she or he wants to easily. It should be easy to know what information has been placed where in the CV without having to go word by word through it. It is hence one of the key points on how to make a professional CV.
7. Bring out the best
Correct grammar, impressive layout and all the other prerequisites mentioned above will lead to a favorable outcome only on one condition. That condition is that your CV should put you forth as a skillful and deserving applicant. We do not recommend our consulting services if we feel that profile building is more important than document polishing for a particular candidate. Therefore, building a strong profile is of utmost importance before applying for jobs and should start early.
8. File Name & File Format
Name your CV professionally. A good way to do so is "CV_FirstName_LASTNAME". With the help of this, not only is it evident that the document is a CV, but there is also an association with "whose CV". Moreover, the capitalization of the last name clarifies its distinction from the first name. This is crucial in the case of international applicants with names likely unfamiliar to the local recruiter. Save the word file as a PDF and then send; PDFs are definitely recommended over an editable Word File which does not give a polished look like the PDF does.
9. How to make a professional CV - Be job specific
Following the country guidelines is not enough. The CV perfect for a job in Finance might not look the best to a marketing recruiter. Therefore, do not only mention your skills, prove and display them through every possible aspect of your CV. If it is a marketing CV, make it beautiful and appealing while keeping it professional. If it is for the job of an analyst, make it more to the point and include numbers.