July 31, 2018

CV Writing 101

It's that time of the year, time to brush up on your CV in preparation for internship applications and club exec submissions.

CV Writing 101

Need a job but got a crappy CV? Read on, and learn how to fix it!

Credits to Paul Rataul founder of Millennial Mindset who gave a killer workshop on CV writing at our Employability Workshop!

What You Need in Your CV

  • Education
  • Academic Scholarship & Awards
  • Work Experience
  • Miscellaneous Experience
  • Leadership & Voluntary Experience
  • Major Achievements
  • Other

The Structure Breakdown

1. Education

  • Write your institution, degree, majors & dates.
  • Include any relevant academic results e.g. GPA (Optional)
  • DO NOT go back further than High School

How it should look:
University: Degree (Majors), Relevant Academic Results, Dates.

2. Academic Scholarship & Awards

  • List your best scholarships and awards
  • Keep your description as short as possible (Max 6-8 words)
  • Bold the ones that you want to stand out

How it should look:
Award: What did you win or why did you win? Dates.

3. Work Experience

  • Include the company name, role, one sentence highlighting quantifiable awards or successes (Max 2 bullet points)
  • When you write about skills, think about what employers want
  • If you have lots of experience, cherry pick the ones that are most relevant to the role that you are applying for (Max 6)
  • DO NOT focus on your responsibilities, employers don't want to read about nitty gritty detail regarding what your tasks were. They want to know why you were good at them & what makes you stand out from other candidates.

When you are displaying evidence of work experience, you should only spend 20% of the section on your responsibilities. 80% should be spent on what you achieved or the consequences of your tasks & responsibilities.

Situation (10%) - What is the context?
Task (10%) - What did you do?
Achievement (40%) - Quantifiable awards
Result (40%) - How did it change the situation?


How it should look:
Company Name - Role Dates

  • Description of awards.
  • Description of successes.

4. Miscellaneous Experience Section (Optional)

  • This section is for any extra form of experience that deserves it's own category e.g. entrepreneurship. Follow the above format in point number 3.

5. Leadership & Voluntary Experience

  • Follow the above format in point number 3.

How it should look:
Leadership OR Volunteering Location - Role Dates

  • Description of awards.
  • Description of successes.

6. Major Achievements

  • This section is for any awards that may not be related to your academics but extra curricular OR interests.
  • Describe how and why you won this award in (Max 1 bullet point).

How it should look:
Award: Award Sub Category if applicable. Dates

  • Description of awards.

7. Other

  • Interests: List these in one line using commas.
  • Anything else that you want to include.

How it should look:
Interests: rock climbing, video creation, design, Instagram.

Major Formatting Tips & Tricks

  • Align EVERYTHING to the left, and DATES to the right.
  • Always put your most recent experience first.
  • Unless you are in the field of design or other similar fields, keep your CV design simple.
  • Most CV's should be no longer than 2 pages.
  • Bold your categories and increase their size.
  • Always research what format companies prefer for CV's, not all are the same. Particularly if you are applying for overseas companies.
  • Employers spend less than 6 seconds looking at your CV, this is your chance to make an impression. Choose your best work!
  • Don't be ambiguous, don't leave any imagination to the employer.
  • THE ULTIMATE GOAL: The employer should understand who you are by reading for 6 seconds.

Did you make it to the bottom? Click here, for our Niesh CV Template!