Designing a Winnig CV

Designing a winning CV

What is a CV?
A Curriculum Vitae or CV (more commonly known by the name of resume in the US and by the more old- fashioned name of biodata in Asia) is a concise summary of all the information about oneself: education, work experience, achievements and other personal details. In today's IT era, it has become a vital and important tool representing our candidature, when sent by email.

The CV that wins:
A CV holds a mirror to the candidate. It is a medium to market oneself in the job market. Most people underestimate the importance of a CV. Many of us put off writing our CV until the last moment and end up doing an inadequate job. Others feel that they know it all and treat the job of writing a resume far too casually. Actually, you would be well advised to ensure that both your resume and covering letter are well prepared, so that they stand out among a thousand others, not only in content but also in presentation. Any compromises at this stage and you may not be short listed.

Content and presentation

  1. Heading

    CVs are usually headed with our name, address and telephone number. This information may be centred at the top of the page or placed on the top left-hand corner.

  2. Career goal

    This is one entry that interests every employer / interviewer. You must be as specific as possible, listing your immediate goals and not some vague future dream.

  3. Education and training

    Here, you should highlight your professional qualification. Clearly indicate the major field of study and name the most significant courses you have attended. Do not forget to mention the awards and honours that you may have received.

  4. Extra-curricular activities

    The employer is looking for evidence of leadership potential, social poise, and interest in a broad range of activities. Therefore, you should list your extracurricular activities, not forgetting your level of expertise or achievement in sports or other activities.

  5. Work experience

    There are two acceptable ways of presenting your work background. The most common method is to list your jobs in chronological order, with the present or the most recent one heading the list. With such an arrangement, the prospective employer can readily track your progress. If you use this format, you should show the following:

    1. Position held
    2. Name and location of organisation
    3. Period during which the position was held
    4. Achievement(s) in the position
    5. Reason for leaving

    In addition, you can strengthen your presentation by including the following:
    1. . Duties (emphasise responsibilities)
    2. Name of immediate superior (if the person is still working in the organisation and can provide a good reference)
    3. Job title (e.g. systems analyst, field sales manager, etc.)

    If, on the other hand, your experience is scattered, or you have done a lot of volunteer activities, or if your employment history is spotty, a functional CV can work better. Here, experience is listed under descriptive categories. This format will help you present a wide variety of activities – paid or voluntary – interspersed with inactive periods, in a manner to your advantage.
  6. Personal details

    Personal data includes gender, age, date and place of birth, race, religion (optional), marital status, interests, activities and hobbies.

  7. References

    Applicants for a job are usually requested to give the names of at least three persons who can be asked or called to speak about them. The most appropriate persons include present or former employers, teachers and other professionals. Also acceptable is a person whose name or occupation is respected.
    If you include references in your resume, you must give each individual's name, title, organisation (if any), address and telephone number. If you choose to provide the prospective employer with references at the time of the interview, you should make the following notation on your resume: REFERENCES: Will be supplied upon request. (In either case, you must ask permission of the person before including his or her name as reference.)

Stick to the basic rules
Stick to these proven guidelines for writing a CV:


Some other important rules to remember are


Useful tips for Job applicants


Some strong CV words and phrases



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