Writing a good CV - curriculum vitae

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Posted

I have been receiving between two and five curriculum vitae a day lately and they prove a source of entertainment and wonder for my colleagues and I. I don't want to upset the British on here, but the absolutely worse resumes that we receive are from the English. I want to be fair and mention that we do not receive as many applications from Americans so for all I know, Americans could be just as bad. But a few things that are worth mentioning:

 

Apparently, no one realizes that formatting is important. I read CV's that have formatting so messed up it makes you dizzy.

 

Why is it that people believe that a potential employer cares about their hobbies? Because, unless you do something truly notable like sky diving, your hobbies just aren’t that interesting. I had one woman from the Isle of Man write that her hobby was, “watching small children at play

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Posted

My biggest CV gripe is Comic Fucking Sans MS. It should not be used ever. If the look of it doesn't strike you as non-professional, the word Comic should provide some sort of clue.

 

A friend of mine sent me his CV once to pass on to some of my contacts. It was in Comic Sans MS...and Times Roman...and a bit of Verdana for good measure...and three different colours, one of which was purple. He'd been given this CV template by an American friend who allegedly had it professionally done. He'd been applying unsuccessfully for jobs for months. I gasped when I saw it, did up a new one and he had a job within about two weeks.

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Posted

Speaking of funny CV pictures. Here is one from an American consultant who has his CV online:

post-6260-1147857858.jpg

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Posted

Well at least the picture captures his hobby of juijitsu as well.

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Posted

Was thinking more Tommy Cooper.

 

post-8-1147858137.jpg

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Posted

I did some screening and interviewing of potential recruits back in the UK, and agree that the CVs were generally dire. Poor formatting, appalling spelling, completely irrelevent information. Pretty shocking.

 

Trouble is careers advice in schools is dire, and most people never use their uni careers service. Best CVs are sent in through recruitment consultants as they have a set format.

 

As for photos on CVs - these are not allowed in the UK because they can lead to discrimination. A German excolleague (who has thankfully now left - hence ex) printed his portrait photo he was using on his CV and left in on the departmental printer. Hilarious it was - Soft focus, 'flattering' angle, had his MBA certificate on the wall behind him. Soooo cheesy. I would reject it out of hand.

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Posted

Hmmm I have a pretty good German style one, single page, but I basically use the same format in the English version too. Perhaps I should make some format changes to my English one too. Get rid of the photo etc. Any other hints about the differences would be appreciated.

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Posted

A German style CV that is only 1 page ? wow, that truly is amazing, all the German CV's I see, are more like books.

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Posted

I agree most people are bad at writing CVs, most have never learnt properly, though, but some just don't take the trouble to do it properly.

 

 

Why is it that people believe that a potential employer cares about their hobbies?

there is a reason you are told to include hobbies on CVs. Extra curricular activities, especially for new graduates, show a well-rounded personality. Team sports show certain character traits, individual sports other traits which might be what a potential employer is looking for. Granted, though, watching young children play as a hobby won't help much unless you are applying for the job of "Chief Paedophile".

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Posted

I find German CVs worse than the English CV ... think of the Bewerbungsmappe which often includes certificates for irrelevant achievmenets & activities - that's worse than than just mentioning them under a heading 'hobbies'.

When I first came to Germany and recruited I made the mistake of throwing unwanted applications in the bin ... I was hounded for months on end by applicants phoning up to say that they got a rejection letter but not their Bewerbungsmappe!! hadn't the heart to tell them I'd trashed it ... hmm, lost in the mail I guess :-)

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Posted

The lengths should be different between a c.v. and a resume. A resume should be one page long (two max), while a c.v. is a comprehensive listing of your accomplishments and may require many pages.

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Posted

so what makes the perfect cv?

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Posted

 

Speaking of funny CV pictures. Here is one from an American consultant who has his CV online:

post-6260-1147857858.jpg

That's no consultant, that's DJ SlickRick demonstrating the "Air Scratch"

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Posted

so what format is best then? mine reads as follows - personal details; goals; strengths; employment - latest first, some details; education - latest first, summary; interests.

 

the german ones i have received were usually book-like and very much as britMUC says, full of the most incredibly irrelevant minutae. also in chronological order, so you would have to trawl through their education from the age of 3 and their first jobs at mcdonalds, etc. until you actually found something relevant, by which time i'd frankly lost interest.

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Posted

A good CV makes a clear presentation of the applicant in an easy to read format that lists their strengths relative to the position being applied for. Introduction here, experience there, education over here. 10 font styles and sizes kills the "easy to read" part. Rambling dissertations on the entire life of the applicant is not relevant.

 

First thing I look for is if the cover letter addresses our firm directly, and pays attention to the specific job we're looking to fill. Generic cover letters show a distinct lack of interest.

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Posted

 

The lengths should be different between a c.v. and a resume. A resume should be one page long (two max), while a c.v. is a comprehensive listing of your accomplishments and may require many pages.

really? I thought the only difference was that CV was British English, whilst Resume is used by the Americans. Certainly when a Brit says CV (or Curriculum Vitae) they mean a 1-2 page summary. The word Resume is not used by Brits unless communicating with americans.

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Posted

I thought resume was the American word for CV? German CV's should never be more than two pages apparently, with the so called "Dritte Seite" now being favoured by most employers, outlining why you should get the job and what makes you special (and not just cos your mum says so).

 

My CV is all over the place i think, i've had lots of jobs since leaving uni, mainly cos i've travelled so much. hard to know what to leave in and what to skip over. as i'll be looking for a job when i get back to Munich, any tips would be greatly appreciated, cos it's true, in the UK at least, that career advice/cv writing advice is non-existant.

 

Second thoughts, I'll just get Keydeck to do one for me! :P

 

Edit: OG, too quick!

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Posted

goals and strengths are bollocks, they are always the same and noone reads them. I stick to the basics.

Personal Info

Work History, newest first

Educational History, newest first

Languages

References

 

I should really put the 2 papers I coauthored at uni in there too but havent as of yet as it would only really be relevant for academic world jobs which im not qualified for anyway.

 

And thats it. I dont want my employers to know what my hobbies are. But if its a programming job I tell them that programming has been my hobby since I was 7 years old and that makes me better at it than anyone who has only learnt it at uni.

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