Friday, March 12, 2010

CV Writing - Some Tips

CV Writing - Some Tips

Your résumé should provide answers to these questions:

Contact Information - What is your name and how can you be reached?
Job Objective - What do you want to do?
Education - What have you learned?
Employment History - What have you done?
Skills & Abilities - What can you do?
Activities and Honors
References - Who?

Contact Information

The header of your résumé should include your name, address, phone number, and email address, if you regularly use it. When submitting a paper version of your résumé, it is visually appealing to use a large font for your name. Include both a local and permanent address and a phone number so that an employer can easily reach you. This is especially important for graduating students.

Job Objective

Although optional, a job objective statement shows employers the direction you want to go, your work preferences, and serves as a focal point for employers to review and analyze your résumé. It allows employers to immediately identify the kind of position you want. If you are looking for jobs in a number of different fields, you need to have a different job objective for each position. To address this, prepare some résumés without objective statements. Or tailor each résumé to the specific job you seek. Do not write an objective that is vague and meaningless-if is isn't specific, don't include one. It may contain up to four parts:

The level of the position. This can be anything from an internship, to full time, entry level, experienced, supervisory, or executive.

Skills you hope to bring to the position. Look to the list of action verbs included in this toolkit to identify which skills you have experience using.

Position. If you are responding to a job listing, look in the text of the listing to find out what the employer calls the position. This is the actual title, such as consultant, investment banker or field or industry in which you hope to work. Such as telecommunications, health care, and banking.


In this section, include any information about your degree(s), including where and when you graduated; date(s); major, minor, or concentration; certification; and academic awards and honors. Make sure you use the official names for schools, degrees and majors/minors.
Include all honors, special awards, and recognitions. While commonly known awards, such as Phi Beta Kappa, do not need an explanation, less known awards should be briefly explained.
Include your GPA if it is an asset. If your GPA is not strong, focus your résumé on non-academic strengths and skills. A general rule of thumb is that if your GPA is a 3.0 or higher, include it. If the GPA for your major is strong, you can just put that down but make sure you specify that it is only for classes in your major.

If you are calculating a major GPA, make sure that if employers ask for your transcript, they will be able to follow your calculations. If not, they will assume you falsified your résumé! GPA is calculated as follows: 3.15 can be rounded up to 3.2. However, 3.14 cannot be rounded up. If you do not have a lot of relevant experience for the position you are applying for, it is a good idea to list courses and class projects of interest to the employer.

Employment History

The way you structure the "experience" section will depend on what you are looking for and what you have done. This section lists in chronological order the positions you have held, names and locations of employers, and dates employed. You should also list responsibilities, achievements, significant contributions and demonstrated skills.

Try to describe your experience in the most interesting and brief way possible. However, don't sacrifice clarifying details about important accomplishments for the sake of brevity. Remember to use active verbs to describe your work experience. Be hard on yourself, and, if necessary, discard "good" material that will have no meaning for an employer. To assist you in writing this section, refer to the list of action words in this toolkit.

Descriptions such as "responsibilities included developing course material" can be phrased more persuasively as "developed course materials." Descriptions do not need to be phrased in full sentences. The questions in an employer's mind are "Why should I speak with this person? How are they different from all the other applicants?" Try to answer these questions in each of your descriptions.

You should also include independent study or volunteer work if it is relevant to the job you want and provided you with significant skills and experiences. If you do include your volunteer work, do not describe if under a heading which implies you were paid.

In some instances, you may want to divide your experience into sub-sections. For example, if you are seeking a teaching job, and have both a teaching and business background, two separate headings-one "Teaching Experience" and "Additional Experience" may have more impact than a single heading.

Skills and Abilities

This is the place to put important and/or interesting information that does not fit anywhere else. With the advance of technology, it is increasingly important to include a section on computer skills. This should include any of your knowledge of computer programs, hardware, software, database knowledge, and/or Internet functions. If you have any other notable skills, such as foreign languages, musical talents, or writing skills include these here.

Activities and Honors

If you have received any awards or honors, or been involved in campus or community organizations, such as athletics, clubs or student government, you should mention them in this section. Identify any leadership roles that you had in these organizations. If you have too many organizations to list, choose the ones that have the strongest connection to the type of job you seek, don't pad this section with organizations you joined "in name only." Employers may ask you about your involvement during an interview.


Simply indicate that references are "available upon request" in a paper version of your résumé. You should know at least 3 people who can serve as your references. Ask in advance for permission to use them as references. Use faculty and employers as references, not personal acquaintances. Do not include their names, address, or phone numbers on the résumé. You may send a separate sheet with this information along with your résumé, or wait until the employer requests references.

NSM Shahul Hameed
Madukkur (currently at Riyadh)

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