Your CV – Your First Impression – Part 1

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Today we will be talking a little about the most important item to get you through to an interview and a job.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when writing your CV.


A lot of people that I have come accross do not give enough importance to this document. I have seen scores of students preparing CVs and sending them in a 10 minutes time. One popular thing to do is ask your friend for his CV, copy-paste and you are ready.

Believe me, I have heard this in interviews upon asking that “ohh sir i copied this from my friend the project you are talking about i did not do!!”. Imagine the frsutration of a person who has gone through the pain of filtering CVs and scheduling your interview to hear that the CV which made him call you is not yours. Do you really think that person would hire you?

I personally believe that a good personal CV is one of the most important tool for a professional. It is actually a story of your professional career, and its a story of a students’ hard work. Not giving ample time is being unfair to your self.

So invest some time on this have some one review it. Check it for spell and grammar mistakes. Print it on a good paper.

So here is how to get started

Planning your life story

Write down all the information you have about yourself that you want to put in the CV.

Read the list of information. Cut out the irrelevant things. Add the relevant ones. Remember you don’t have unlimited space, so don’t put in too much information, but in the process don’t delete the required ones.

You might be targeting for different positions. Plan out for each of them mark against the information which position requires it and which doesnt. Have some one review it if possible best if some one from industry can have a go at it, not just your friends.

Putting it Down

Presentation is every thing

Now that you have all the info. pick out a template which best fits the information you have gathered in the previous step. Don’t pick a template because your friend picked the same, do some research, try out different ones. The template should be elegant and show all your required info. It should not be too fancy or too cluttered.

Usually most templates organize information in this sequence

  1. General Info
  2. Education
  3. Experience(This is projects for fresh students)
  4. References

Size does matter

Once the template is decided, fill it up.

Make sure the CV never exceeds 2 pages — 1 page is preferred. A lot of people say that it is not possible to put in ever thing in 2 pages beleive me it is.

Try summarizing the work you have done. Don’t mention all your academic project starting from semester 1. Only put in those which add value to the position you are applying for, and those in which you actually did some thing. a very comon answer to hear in an interview is. “Sir this was a 4 people group i did the documentation” so don’t put in some thing which you don’t have a grasp on it will only hurt you in the interview.

Let me assure you that even people with extensive experience can put in their details in 2 pages, most problem i have seen with length usually come from fresh students who write each and every thing.

If you have to mention all the projects try writing descriptive names and omiting the details.

That’s enough for Part 1 – Let me know if there are any questions so far. In the next Part we will dive into the the details of the specific sections and talk about tuning the CV towards the specific positions applied.

Facebook comments:


  • While writing a CV follow the KISS principle.

  • Kashif thanks for pointing it out. i completely agree. try keeping too much technical jargon out of the CV do mention the technology for example you can write “Our project discusses improvement of power consumption for wireless networks” instead of “”IEEE 802.11 b standard communicates at 2.4 Ghz we have improved the power requirement”

  • please do tell how much and what information regarding a profiessional project should be mentioned. Only the tools used in it or the domain of the project is also required.

  • Nausheen, its good to mention in brief 1 2 lines both the domain and the tools used. for example you casn write. “worked on network optimization of browser using.Net technologies”. now this sentence gives you the detail of the project plus the tools used. but i see this. “The project was developed using visual studio 2005 and .net framework, its purpose is to detect idle time of a browser and pre fetching the pages, so the browsing is fast. this was a 4 month project developed by 4 people.”
    so you see you are putting in too much details. you have to leave some thing to be discussed in interview. because your projects will definitely come up in interview if they call you for one.

  • okay
    and what about about the gaps between jobs due to studies or some other reason how to depict that..

  • Honestly , from what I have seen , CV doesn’t matter when looking for a job .Only a reference can get u an interview callup.

  • Sohail, getting the interview isn’t the end goal — building a working relationship where both you and your employers feel comfortable for the long-run is.

    A CV and the interview are the two most important stepping stones for that to become possible.

    A reference can definitely get you the interview, but the conversation between you and the company can sometimes start off on the wrong foot in case you aren’t the person they were looking for, do not have the actual merits for a position.

    References can clear away a number of initial questions and instill a certain degree of trust, but your merit still has to stand for itself.

  • nausheen, this will probably in part II but don’t hide any thing in the CV chances are you get caught. if you did studies during break that is understandable employers will under stand mention just the tenure with the company from and to date. if there were some other reasons like you quit one job and had to wait 3-4 months for another job you will need to clarify in the interview why there is a 3-4 months gap. but usually these things don’t scare away the employer for calling you up for an interview if the skills match

  • Nausheen, to add to Qazi’s point, just remember to show some good use of your time, and do expect to be asked about that gap in the interview (maybe Qazi could cover this in the interviewing posts).

    E.g. “Yes I decided to leave the CS field and tried gardening for 6 months but now coming back to CS” is not a good reason.

    As long as you could describe clearly how that 3-4 month experience in between helped you grow as a professional and get more mature about your field, you will be able to convert the bad thing (gap) into a positive point about yourself.

  • thanx qazi and osama,
    anxiously waiting for part 2…

  • Sohail, just wanted to clarify about the reference thing you mentioned. there are three types of references
    1. some body got your CV and knows some one in your previous company or college and calls them to get a profile check on you. on positive feedback you get an interview on negative you don’t

    2. One professional asks another do you know some one with these skill he replies yes i do i will send you his CV or ask him to send you his CV. this case you get an interview with some boost

    3. Last but most important one. this is the one our graduates confuse with sifarish. your cousin uncle calls his friend who owns a software house to set up an interview. here is the conversation that goes on between the Owner and the HR or The lead hiring him (This is based on some true stories :))
    Manager to HR or Team Lead “Do we have a requirement of a fresh graduate”
    HR : “No we don’t at the moment”
    Manager “hmm, acha I have a very close friend whose nephew is graduated from xyz university, call him for an interview see if he is technically good. If he is keep his CV for future hiring, if he is not make sure in the interview he leaves feeling he is not upto mark for our company but do call him for an interview ”
    another variation
    A friend calls another in a company and says. yaar i hae a freinds younger brother graduating from universities. he is a very close friend i am sending you his CV. can you make sure he gets called atleast for the interview.

    this person when arrives for the interview has a negative placing even before the interview starts

    so let me re-iterate all private companies are performance based they can’t used slackness so a fair interview is your only choice to start respectably. if you enter through a reference you have extra load of negative expectations that you have to shed. also if you get in through reference and not performing you will be left out. not to mention the fact that the people getting in through references are not a hidden fact and gain the dis-respect of all other peers making his life more difficult.

  • Networking and references have become a very acceptable way of landing an interview the world over. The CV/ resume is, however, almost always required and needs to make a good impression.

    As the comments say, the real objective is to land a good job where the candidate has a good relationship with the company. The interview is the stepping stone to the job, and the CV is the stepping stone to the interview and induction process.

    I’ve always liked resumes with a bit of sunshine – an individuality of content (and sometimes design, where applicable) yet an accepted format. I.e. the required info must be left out, important things first, clear-cut language, short resumes are the requirements. Within that, the candidate has great room to shine. I sent a colored resume & a yellow cover letter for a media job, that I landed successfully. But I won’t dare do the same for a bank.

    As Qazi says, the most tedious thing is to see resumes that look like other resumes – a typical problem with graduate resumes. Differentiation is the key to catching attention.

  • Hi,
    Very usefull info.
    CV Creator

  • Lol. Umar so you think an article talking about investing time in your CVs is SO GOOD that you’re pointing to an automated CV Creator? That’s hilarious, atleast spam within an appropriate context.

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