Making a super CV – Part2: The most important sections!

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This is a continuation of my previous post on writing effective CVs. This part talks about the actual meat of the CV / resume.

Feel free to clarify any additional things in the comments.

Relevance is a good thing

This is the most common mistake. Many people I know make a single CV and post it when ever a job appears in paper.

Don’t do that.

if you have done good planning (as in the previous post), save those plans somewhere. Then create a CV based on the areas in which you are applying. For example, a company working in databases might not be interested in the networking projects you did.

So put in relevant information in the CV before posting it. Before posting, make amendments to your CV to match the job criteria.

This might seem like you are throwing away a part of your life — of yourself — when you do not mention those parts in the CV. However, remember that a CV is not the place to necessarily highlight EVERYTHING that is great about you — only those things that will make you a great part of some team.

Hit this link to dive into individual sections.

Objective? do you have one

Now this is a controversial thing. I am writing according to my knowledge but people can disagree (this is why we have the comments section).

Don’t write objectives just because there was a section there. Unless you have a good solid objective that actually gives strength to your CV try leaving out this section.

Don’t write “I want to excel in a good organization” this is too generic just eats up space and tells nothing. A good objective is usually given by one who are focused towards a direction (not many students in Pakistan) like you can write “Want to develop my skills in game development domain and take it up as a career”.

General Information — what is appropriate?

This is another section which gets misused. Usually all the info companies are looking for are your address, email phone number etc.

Usually they are not interested in your domicile, your father’s name, his occupation (unless specifically mentioned in the job ad), your pet dog’s name, your favorite movies or sports (unless again it’s relevant to the job).

Please keep this section to required level.

Also, this is the section which most of the time gets ignored when people update their CVs. What happens is that employers keep calling on a number which you have changed or emails addresses which are not functional. This has actually happened with us once. a candidate did not get a call just because his mobile number was older one.

Keep this section up to date.

Education

Put only details of last two qualification.

If you have a MS degree write down your MS and BS don’t go on rambling about your Fsc, Matric, Primary, nursery school, kindergarten, your first babysitter, etc…

Write the years of your graduation and the start of your degree. write down your CGPA or Percentages. and most important write your universities details

Take special care to note what the total GPA scale is. So instead of saying “GPA 4.0” — write “GPA 4.0 / 4.0”. It is common to find that it was actually 4.0/5.0, and again this only hurts your impression in the interview.

Experience

For professionals its list of positions they held and projects they undertook in those roles. Usually this list is in reverse chronological order — that is, your most recent experience comes first.

Another way to put it is to mention the roles they had with responsibilities (like for a Project Manager’s Role the responsibilities were making risk estimations etc) and have a separate projects section

For students this section will pretty much have the projects you took in reverse chronological order usually giving more space to your final projects.

Mention all the relevant projects if space is of concern write only descriptive names. and write the ones which you can defend in the interview.

However, again, ONLY WRITE PROJECTS WHERE YOU ACTUALLY PLAYED A MAJOR ROLE. Do not write “Designed and Created a B2B system for the entire banking industry” — clearly everyone plays a role.

Writing your exact part “Managed the Client-side interface and link to the business logic layer of a B2B system for…” WILL INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF BEING ASKED FOR AN INTERVIEW. Counter-intuitive, but true.

References

“References will be provided upon request” — well ofcourse they will be provided if requested! Don’t write that!

In this section, write down actual people who are actually willing to refer you. They MUST be people who have worked with you closely in projects, usually supervisors. They CAN NOT be “my cousin who works at LMKR” or “My brother who studied from LUMS refers me! Imagine, LUMS!” (both of these are actual examples, but paraphrased).

Also remember you must ask those people that you will be writing their names as references. In this way, they will take note to expect a call from potential employers.

Also remember (important!) many employers will look at your resume as a warning sign if you DO NOT list any of your actual project supervisors as references. If they people you have worked with are not willing to refer you, then there is probably something dangerous about you.

Caution!!

Never put some thing in CV which you cant back up. Or, in simple words, don’t lie in a CV . People go through a lot of pain to filter out CVs and if during the interview it is found out that you lied about some thing then you are jeopardizing your chances of any future position with that company, or maybe even partner companies.

Good! So you’ve spent some time to think about the different sections. In the next part I will tell you what to do with the finished resume.

Facebook comments:

4 Comments

  • An Excellent article. Please brief as well about what is significance of mentioning various hobbies and interests we have, are they worth mentioning???

  • Nausheen, if i speak for myself i don’t usually look at it hobbies section. if you have space put it there, i would prefer the extra curricular activities and achievements section over hobbies section

  • i have one more question, it may be not related to this article, when A person is making a career move, like from engineering to management, what staretgy should be used in CV, as prev expereince would be of engineering activities, How to grab attension of employers while having string engineering background for some managerial job.

  • well, for this you have to use your creativity in presenting those engineering skills as managerial ones. highlight any incident in which you were leading an effort. for example lets say in your career you had a chance to work on a new product independently and alone. you can write managed and developed a product from scratch managing all schedule issues doing risk analysis etc. so instead of focusing on the technical aspects of the project you are highlighting the managerial ones. also if you had the chance to lead a team even for a short duration mention that, you led and managed a team for the duration of a project. bring our your team playing skills guiding/mentoring skills (events in which you coached a junior etc).

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