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How to make a professional CV for applying for jobs

professional CV

How to Create a Professional CV

A professional CV is essential in today’s age, especially when applying for any job position. Having the skills and talents without being able to express them clearly and effectively will hinder your entry into the job market and obtaining the job of your dreams. In this article, you will learn the steps to write a professional CV and understand what information should be omitted and what should be included.

1- Main CV Header

At the top of the CV page, you should place your name in a clear and large font. Avoid writing phrases like “My CV” or “CV” or any other words; simply write your name. Underneath the header, you can include a brief summary about yourself. You can add a short paragraph about yourself, your achievements, and goals. Mention your unique qualities, skills, and experiences that you can offer to the company.

A personal summary is not essential and can be omitted. However, if you decide to include it in your CV, make sure it does not exceed five lines. Avoid being too modest or boastful, strike the right balance.

2- Personal Information

This section is simple, yet crucial when creating a professional CV. After adding your name, phone number, and address, pay attention to the following:

  • Email: Including your email is vital in a professional CV, but make sure your address is professional and not humorous or random (e.g., [email protected]). It is preferable for your email address to carry your name clearly and respectfully.
  • LinkedIn Profile: Nowadays, including your LinkedIn profile address is beneficial as it allows the recruiters to review your activities and experiences in detail. If you haven’t created a LinkedIn account, it’s a good idea to do so now.
  • Profile Picture: Some might believe that including a profile picture in a CV is necessary, but that is not the case. In fact, it’s best to avoid adding any images to your CV to prevent biased judgments based on appearance. No one knows, the hiring manager might be biased. Having a profile picture in the CV could distract from your skills and experiences, potentially reducing your chances of getting the job. However, if some job postings specifically ask for a profile picture, make sure to include a clear and recent photo.
  • Gender and Date of Birth: Avoid mentioning gender and date of birth in your CV. This information might lead to biased judgments based on age or gender, regardless of your qualifications. In our Arab culture, your name might indicate your gender, especially with names like Khalid or Khalida.

3- Adding Education and Work Experience

When writing your CV, mention your educational background and work experience. Which one should come first depends on your situation. If your work experience outweighs your academic life, prioritize the work experience section, and vice versa.

  • Work Experience: Your experience in the job market is one of the most important aspects when applying for a job. Therefore, it is essential to list your work experiences and roles. For each position, include the job title, company name, location, and the duration you worked there. Then, provide 2-4 bullet points describing your responsibilities and contributions to the company.
  • If you have more than five years of work experience, omit any information about your volunteer work experience under the experience section.
  • If you have significant achievements that you want to emphasize, put them under a separate section labeled “Key Achievements.”

Here’s an example of the work experience section

English Language Teacher, Al-Anwar School – Cairo, 2010 – 2016.

  • Developed the English language curriculum for the school.
  • Taught three grade levels; 7th, 8th, and 9th grade.
  • Key Achievement: In 2011, managed to raise the pass rate for 8th-grade students by approximately 40% compared to the previous five years.

Remember to arrange your work experiences in chronological order, starting with the most recent position. Keep it concise and straightforward.

By following these steps, you can create a professional CV that effectively represents your skills, qualifications, and experiences to potential employers. It’s essential to highlight what makes you stand out and tailor your CV for each job application to increase your chances of landing your dream job.

Education in a Professional CV

  • When writing your educational qualifications in a professional CV, start with your highest academic degree and then list the rest in chronological order from the most recent to the oldest.
  • If you have graduated from university and obtained a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent, you should not mention anything about your high school diploma.
  • If you are relying on your work experience for the job application, you do not need to go into great detail about your academic life. Simply mention your major, the location of your studies, and the year of graduation. Definitely, do not include any information about your high school diploma.

4- Adding Skills and Languages

Now it’s time to include the skills you possess, which should be relevant to the job position you are applying for. Avoid adding unrelated skills; for example, singing skills are not relevant if you are applying for a software developer position. For each skill, indicate your level of proficiency (e.g., good, excellent, expert) or use a five-star rating system.

5- Mentioning Your Hobbies

Hobbies are not a major part of creating a professional CV, but if you believe your hobbies might enhance your chances of getting the job, and there’s room for them in the CV, you can include them.

6- Providing References

References are individuals whom the employer can contact to verify the information in your CV. They could be former supervisors, academic advisors, or even colleagues. Include the name of the reference and their contact information, such as phone number or email address. Always seek permission from your references before adding their names to your CV.

7- Additional Sections

There are also other sections you can add as per your discretion. While they are not necessary, they might be useful in certain situations and contribute to creating a professional CV, such as:

  • Completed training courses.
  • Volunteering experiences.
  • Awards and honors received.
  • Projects you have worked on.
  • Research publications.

8- Writing a CV for Students

Some might believe that CVs are only for graduates, but that is not true at all. Any student who is still studying at a university can create a professional CV for applying to specific job positions, especially government jobs. If you are a recent graduate or still studying and do not have enough work experience to fill your CV, follow the above steps while adding details related to your educational life instead of your graduation certificate, such as:

  • The expected year of graduation (from the university or school).
  • If you are still in the university, you can include the location of your high school.
  • Your cumulative GPA, provided it is relatively high.
  • Specializations that interest you or in which you have achieved a high grade.
  • Any awards and scholarships received.
  • Relevant training courses.

9- Tips for Creating a Professional CV

Before we conclude, here are some simple tips for writing a professional CV:

  • Avoid using fonts and colors that make your CV difficult to read.
  • Pay attention to spelling errors and have your CV proofread by a language expert before submitting it.
  • Do not exaggerate your abilities; be honest with yourself when writing.
  • Keep your CV concise and straightforward to make it easy for the reader to go through it quickly, while still highlighting the essential points in an engaging manner.
  • It is preferable to translate your CV into multiple languages, with English being the most important one.

In summary, to create a professional CV, start with a brief summary about yourself or your goals. Then, clearly and directly list your work experience and academic studies. Remember that the reader wants to finish reading your CV as quickly as possible, so be concise but not at the expense of important details.

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