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How to make a good CV?

Author: Viktoria Stretskite

05.12.2022

To boost your odds of landing a dream job, you should start by composing a winning CV. This document needs to be concise, informative, well-structured and relevant to the job offer. In this article, we’ll focus on how to prepare an outstanding IT CV for any niche of this industry and any level of experience.

Length

The best CV is the one that fits into an A4 page. For students and recent graduates, it’s not a problem. Professionals with an impressive list of tech achievements and skills can exceed this limit. Their resumes might be 1,5 or even 2 pages long.

Structure

A professional CV is organized in the following way:

  • Career It’s one phrase that shows which type of position your target to align it with your overall objectives of professional development. In this part of the text, you shouldn’t use personal pronouns, such as “I” or “my”.
  • Personal details, including the contact ones.
  • Education and the milestones of your academic career.
  • Previous working experiences, listed in reverse chronological order. Provide the full names of your employers, the dates when you were working for them and your duties and responsibilities.
  • Additional training and courses that you completed.
  • Foreign languages that you can speak in addition to English. If you mention a certain language, the HR manager might want to conduct the interview in it. So be honest when assessing your skills.
  • Extra competencies that are relevant for the position.
  • Hobbies and interests (very briefly).

Compose a unique resume for each position that you apply for. It’s not necessary to rewrite everything from scratch over and over. Yet it’s essential to fine-tune the details. Every word in your text should be relevant to the vacancy. It’s better to omit excessive details.

Gaps

If you spent more than a couple of months out of job, it might look suspicious to your new employee. To play safe, explain right away what you did. There is nothing wrong with saying that you gave birth to a baby or adopted one, took care of an elderly family member or traveled around the world. Emphasize that this life experience enhanced your professionalism — for instance, made you more empathetic or more efficient at solving problems.

Truth

The recruiter can easily check most facts that you mention in your CV simply by using Google. Most likely, you have profiles on social media. Websites of events that you attended as a speaker can feature your name. If you run a blog or have written articles for third-party publications, the HR specialist will come across them. If you deliberately distort the truth, it will decrease your odds of landing the position.

Extra Tips on Enhancing the Text

Action words speak louder than passive voice. Here are the action verbs that HR managers love: “create”, “organize”, “formulate” and “generate”. Try to sound enthusiastic and confident.

To make the text more comprehensive, introduce bulleted lists — for instance, in the section where you talk about your technical skills.

Once the document is ready, ask someone to proofread it. Ideally, it should be a professional proofreader, whom you can easily find on the Internet. If you can’t afford such services right now, ask a friend to help you. Automatic spell-checkers sometimes fail to detect all the mistakes and misprints. Plus, they don’t understand many terms that are related to using technologies.

Font

The standard fonts for a good CV are Arial, Trebuchet and Times New Roman, 11 pt. Gill Sans MT is another possible option — but its size should be 12pt.

If you opt for a fancy font, it might be hard to read. If the recipient opens the document in another format than PDF, the program that they use might fail to support your fancy font. So it would be wise to avoid creative experiments.

The employer might want to print out your CV and copy it to share with the other team members. To make their lives easier, use a simple white background without colors and textures.

Photo

When writing a good IT resume in Poland, it’s a norm to attach a portrait photo to it. In some other countries, employers don’t have a right to ask candidates to show how they look.

An ideal photo is like the one that you have in your passport. Make sure the light is professional, the background is neutral and you wear a formal outfit. You may either stay serious or smile gently. But too vivid emotions would be out of place.

Consent

In Poland, it’s important to give your consent for processing the data from your CV. Please mention it in the footer. When working with the information that you provide, the employer should act according to the local personal data privacy legislation.

Tips on Sending Emails

Before clicking the Send button, double-check whether you have attached your CV. Write your full name in the subject line as well as the reference number or title of the position that you’re interested in.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, now you have a better understanding of how to write a CV. Make sure it fits 1 or 2 A4 pages. Opt for a simple white background and standard fonts: Arial, Trebuchet, Times New Roman or Gill Sans MT. Stick to the template structure from this article. Use bulleted lists — for example, for the technical skills on your CV. Aim to sound upbeat and professional. Attach a recent formal photo of yourself.

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