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resume layout

5 Steps to a Perfect CV Layout for Beginners – Including [Secret] Tips!

by Kouakou Kouamé 25/11/2015

Looking to improve your CV/resume layout? Do you have great skills but don’t know how to present them? So do many others as well. And many of them might miss out on great job opportunities because of making a first bad impression with a poor CV layout – your initial presentation to a potential future employer. But don’t worry. We are here to give some guidance.

In this step-by-step guide, we will transform a bad resume-layout into an amazing new profile which is almost guaranteed to land you a job! If you’re an absolute beginner, read from the very beginning. If you are just looking for tips, scroll to the image which resembles your current resume.

Quick disclaimer: there is no single perfect resume layout – CVs are extremely personal, so there are multiple layouts which can work. However, a few ground rules apply to all of them – and those are the ones we will be discussing below.

So here we have it. Given below, John Averageman’s resume. It has all relevant information in it. Well done, John. But just look at the layout. Absolutely appalling. Time for a change.

If you think your CV has a distinct resemblance to John’s CV, promise me you’ll change it. I am counting on you.

The Original (click to enlarge):

johnaverageman-1

  1. Order your CV correctly

The sections order of your CV should be common knowledge. But I included it anyway, because apparently John did zero research on how to create his resume.

  1. General Info – this includes your contact details and other information you should have on your CV, for example your date of birth.
  2. Career Goal – the career goal is actually optional, you do not necessary have to have one in your CV. If you do, make sure it is not some colloquial gibberish, but authentic and personal.
  3. Professional Experience – Your most important section. Depending on your experience, it should take up the largest part of your CV. Be sure to list your most recent position first.
  4. Academics – Just like your professional experience, list your academic background in order of recency.
  5. Other Skills – All your other skills which you find relevant should be included here.

First Update (click to enlarge):

johnaverageman-2

  1. Bullet points are much easier to read – stay concise!

John made the mistake to write out his information in paragraphs. No recruiter has the time or the will to read multiple paragraphs. Remember: recruiters sometimes screen hundreds of CVs every day – that means they barely waste any time on your CV. If you include important information hidden in a long paragraph, there is a good chance no one will ever notice it. Bullet points are the way to go. Stay succinct – each point should be a single line. Best practice: more bullet points for the more recent positions.

Second Update (click to enlarge) – already looking a LOT better – still some way to go!

johnaverageman-3

  1. Limit Color

Unless you know what you’re doing (i.e. you have a design – or hands-on marketing background), do not experiment with color. It can come off as amateurish, and is generally not easy on the eyes. Color is an easy distraction for the human eye, and you do not want to distract from your content. John here really enjoys that royal blue. John should enjoy that royal blue in his own time. Black & white is traditional and clean – more importantly, it is easy to read because of the obvious contrast.

If you really want to include color in your CV, be sure that it is easy to read, discreet and looks professional.

Third Update (click to enlarge):

johnaverageman-4

  1. Use the Space you have

You are allowed to change the margins of your document. John’s CV has a lot of space around the edges – decrease the margins (don’t overdo it though) to have more space for content.

Another point: in case you didn’t notice, John’s CV is very much centered on the left side. There is huge negative space on the right side. Utilize this space! Move the dates and location to the right and align them with your position/academic institution. Items on your CV which are small lists, like IT skills and languages can be put side-by-side. Be creative with your space!

A great practice is also to add your experiences to the time period they occurred. John was the Varsity Captain of his High School Swim Team. Include this information as a bullet point under your High School – it saves space and immediately signals the recruiter what you did as extracurricular activities in that time period. (Plus, you don’t have to mention your school’s name and year ANOTHER time, now talking about the extracurricular activity).

Fourth Update (click to enlarge) – I can already see light at the end of the tunnel!

johnaverageman-5

Note that we were able to cut the length of the CV a lot. Now it is only one page long.

Quick note on length: the ideal length of a CV is always a single page. The more experience you have (10+ years), your CV will increase in length or become much more dense and heavy. However, especially for very young/inexperienced job seekers, resumes which are very long are unnecessary – you have little experience, there is no need for a long resume!

  1. Integrate structure and simple styling into your CV

Remember what I said about color? I stand by it. No color! However, you can use simple styling to let important points of your resume stand out. You can use bold and italic lettering (sparingly), you can even use full capitalization (VERY sparingly). Lines help bring a clear structure to your CV, which is gold in the eyes of recruiters.

Fifth Update (click to enlarge):

johnaverageman-6

Done! That wasn’t so hard was it? We just transformed that hideous document into a professional, clean resume in five simple steps.

Still not sure about your CV?

There are multiple websites that offer to proofread your CV and give you pointers on what could be improved. Check out TopResume – they will definitely be able to help! Alternatively, you’re welcome to send us a shout – we love to help 🙂

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8 Resume Secrets From an Expert

by Kouakou Kouamé 25/11/2015

The average recruiter spends only 15 seconds looking at your resume. That’s not a lot of time, in the grand scheme of things. You can read every book and blog post to try to figure out what it is they’re looking for, but the best tactic is to go directly to the source.

And that’s what we did! We talked to career coach, resume expert, and owner/principal of professional services firm Career Polish, Inc., Lisa K. McDonald. She gave us some of her best secrets—that would probably cost you a pretty penny—for free!

1. Do not mass-produce.

Lisa says one resume is not appropriate or every single job for which you apply. Don’t treat your resume as a one size fits all—it doesn’t.  You should have a baseline resume, or what I call a working draft.  This resume could be three or more pages long, and the bullet points should cover any direction that you could go. If you’re considering opportunities in training, project management, or a technical position, make sure that you cover all the bases in the working draft.  When you find an opportunity, then you can go back and eliminate the bullets that don’t speak directly to that position. Your introductory sales statement should also be specifically geared for the one position that you are applying for at that time.

2. Apples to apples, not oranges.

Don’t waste the reader’s time on information that doesn’t relate to the specific job. If your past position isn’t a perfect fit for the opportunity but there were elements of this new position in what you did, focus on that.  Think of the 80/20 rule: Spend 80 percent of your bullets focusing on the direct relationship and 20 percent on supporting information. You want to build rapport and allow the readers to see you in this role, so make it easy for them and speak directly to what they’re looking for based on your experience.

3. Job success is the opposite of the stock market clause.

“Past performance is not an indicator of future success,” says McDonald, but the opposite holds true for candidates—past success is an indicator of future success. If you did it before or with another company, odds are you can do it again. Unfortunately job seekers mistakenly think that successes are only things that can be tangible or measured; in other words, numbers. Not so. You can bring value and benefit in intangible ways. For example, building engagement, improving communications, increasing efficiency—these are all things that are important components that can’t be measure in percentages. How did you add value? Figure it out and let the reader know!

4. Write toward the future; don’t rehash the past.

Too often, resumes are a conglomerate of CliffNotes of prior job descriptions. The problem with this is threefold.

  • What you were hired to do and what you actually did often turn out to be two different animals.
  • A job description tells me what you were hired to do, not if you actually did it—and beyond that, if you did it well.
  • It tells me nothing about the value you added as an individual.  Others may have held the same position, but how did you do it better? It’s up to you to tell the reader these fine points.

Stop right now, take out your resume, and after every single bullet point, write the words, “which resulted in” at the end, then finish the sentence. If you can’t describe how you added value in performing your duties, then they have no business on your resume.

Be sure to rewrite your resume after completing this exercise; don’t leave the “which resulted in” for each bullet point. Create engaging bullet points adding these factors.

5. Don’t overestimate.

Once again, it’s generally accepted that on first blush, a reader spends only a few seconds on a resume, so you have to make it count. This is where a strong opening statement, or a sales statement, comes into play. McDonald calls it a sales statement, because at the beginning of your resume, you should set the tone for the reader as to who you are, what you have to offer, and the position for which you are applying. Don’t forget to include the position name or title. Readers may be reviewing resumes for several different positions, and you don’t want them to have to try to guess which one you’re targeting. Their time is valuable—make it easy for them.

6. Answer the reader’s most important question.

One critical element mentioned in the sales statement is what you have to offer. The reader has one underlying question: What can you do for me? Answer that question first and foremost and set the tone for the rest of the resume to support those statements. This is not a matter of letting them connect the dots; it’s a matter of setting expectations and leading them down the path of seeing you—and only you—in the role they want to fill. Throughout the resume, continue to answer this question by demonstrating rather than stating. Telling me you performed a task does not convey that you’ve mastered the skills.  Telling me how you did it, the people you worked with, and the value that you added builds credibility.  It demonstrates you know the purpose and how it adds value to your customers, company, and team members.

7. Don’t rely solely on technology.

A spell-checker isn’t always your friend. You can write the sentence, “I worked four Merrill Lynch,” and spelling and grammar checkers will not let you know you made a mistake. Take time to read your resume and have others do so as well. Often our mind “sees” what we expect to be there rather than what truly is, so take time to review it carefully. One trick that can help is to read the resume in reverse. Start at the bottom and read the last sentence, or read the sentence backwards. It will feel odd, but it will help stop your mind from assuming.

8. Be you and shine through.

When someone reads your resume, they get a sense of who you are based on the visual element and the tone throughout the resume, similar to forming a mental image of a character in a book you’re reading. I can read a resume and pick up on if the writer hated a past job, is trying to fluff a position because she feels there wasn’t a lot to it, or was engaged and really contributed.

Use words that reflect you as a person. If you’re a behind-the-scenes kind of person, don’t use words that describe you as a take-charge, frontline person. Be true to who you are and create that image. When a reader speaks to you in person and the image she created and the persona you project match, it builds her confidence in what you have presented. If there’s conflict, the reader will get confused as to who is the real you. Remember, readers only believe about half of what you say because many resumes are overstated or overfluffed so consistency and truthfulness build credibility.

Source: http://www.levo.com/

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cv

L’honnêtété dans un CV : mission impossible?

by admin 19/07/2015 0 comments

La plupart des gens ont été tentés, à un moment ou à un autre, d’embellir leur c.v. en y ajoutant quelques petits trucs plus ou moins exacts. Quelques-uns franchissent la barrière, d’autres non. Est-ce que le fait d’être honnête dans son c.v. peut vous désavantager par rapport aux autres candidats ou au contraire, vous donne t-il un avantage ? Voici les 4 vérités sur l’honnêteté dans la rédaction du curriculum vitæ.

1. L’exagération

Lorsque vous rédigez votre c.v. faites attention de ne pas exagérer les postes, les fonctions ou les responsabilités que vous avez eu dans vos emplois précédents. Il est difficile, une fois rendu en entrevue, d’expliquer des tâches que vous n’avez jamais faites. Les employeurs sont donc capables, en examinant de plus près les candidats, de détecter ceux qui en ont trop mis dans leur c.v.

2. Les qualités

Il est courant d’ajouter une petite touche personnelle au c.v. en nommant quelques qualités qui vous définissent. Par contre, il ne faut pas inscrire uniquement les qualités dont vous croyez que les employeurs recherchent, mais bien celles que vous possédez. Le choix des mots a une très grande importance : être dynamique c’est bien, mais si cela ne vous colle pas, ne l’inscrivez pas. Par contre, peut-être êtes-vous quelqu’un d’énergique, qui se donne à fond dans les projets.

3. Se définir

Si la rédaction du curriculum vitæ vous semble une tâche ardue, vous pouvez vous aider de vos connaissances professionnelles, (connaissances dans votre secteur, vos amis, votre famille). En effet, il est parfois difficile de prendre conscience de tout le travail que vous effectuez au cours de votre emploi. Il peut être tout aussi difficile de trouver les qualités que vous possédez réellement. En demandant l’opinion des gens autour de vous, vous allez pouvoir décrire une personne qui vous ressemble vraiment dans votre c.v.

4. Un avantage

Si votre c.v. vous ressemble et qu’il démontre ce que vous êtes capable de faire, vous allez dénicher l’emploi fait pour vous, selon vos capacités, vos aptitudes et vos qualités. Vous serez donc plus heureux au travail et ainsi, plus productif ! Finalement, lors de votre prochaine rédaction de curriculum vitæ, pensez-y à deux reprises avant d’inscrire des informations inexactes.

Marianne Jolicoeur

Intervenante Solidarité Jeunesse

Article publié sur cje St-Laurent

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