The most important facet while applying for a job is presenting one’s competency through a resume or CV. So how should one present one’s CV so that the first barrier, of getting noticed amidst hundreds of applicants, is successfully crossed. Here are few tips every professional should keep in mind while writing the curriculum vitae. Always remember, the first round while selecting a candidate through the CV is via elimination, while the second round to finalize a hire is through selection via interviews.

  1. Your resume is not the biography of your life. It is should only capture your professional aspects, including few major sections like academics, awards and recognitions, achievements, positions of responsibilities, extra-curricular relevant to the application, publications if any and past relevant work experience. Of these, academics and work experience are the often the most important sections that get you the interview call.  Ensure your strengths are highlighted.  Ensure that your contact details are mentioned, preferably in the header or footer.
  2. In the work experience section, highlight your organization name, period worked for and role details, chronologically. Also be sure to highlight how your performance created a difference, if possible, quantitatively. Also, mention if your work was given any formal recognition, it is always a cake cutter.
  3. As a thumb rule, a CV where work experience is lower than 5-7 years should not exceed 1 page. If your CV exceeds 1 page, ensure it reaches 2 pages completely, else cut down the content to 1 page. Simply put, the HR manager will have hundreds of applicants and necessarily lacks the time to go through lengthy CV where substance of key importance may be diluted amidst non-relevant information.
  4. The minimum font size for writing a CV is 10, while don’t make it larger than 12. Use a regular font like Times New Roman, Calibri, Ariel although sometimes fonts like Garamond, Cambria and Georgia are preferred by many professionals.
  5. Typically, line spacing should be 1 to 1.5. Do remember, a CV which cant reach 1 page with 1.5 line spacing and 12 size font, may not be impressive. So for starters / freshers, if your CV seems too small (say half page only), you need to dig deeper into yourself to find the facts which you may have overlooked to mention in your CV.
  6. It is often a good idea to highlight major sections, using a colored and slightly bigger font or using font background shading. The recruiter then can easily read the sections he is more interested into. Increased readability of your CV can transcend to increased initial responses from potential recruiters.
  7. Put points in your CV which is verifiable and factual. Don’t write about things which are intrinsic qualities like how passionate you are, or your punctuality. However, if you had been awarded for your performance or punctuality in meeting deliverables, be sure to mention that.
  8. A great CV should highlight your strengths and hide your weakness. Keep the sections that you may not want to highlight in the middle sections of the page. Ensure the words or phrases you want to draw attention to are highlighted (bold) .
  9. Ensure that whatever you write is crisp and devoid of fat. A good way to deliver this is write in bullet points and within each point, highlight the word or phrase you would want to draw the recruiter’s attention to.
  10. Finally, please do remember, while emailing your CV to a potential recruiter, do add a cover letter highlighting that you are highly interested in the position and why you are highly suitable for the same, and how the opening is in line with your career objectives. A CV without a good cover letter WILL go unnoticed 90% of the times.

So how should you write your cv? Hope you have got a clearer idea about this very critical activity?


Do let us know if you have any feedback regarding CV writing tips.

By Kar

Dr. Kar works in the interface of digital transformation and data science. Professionally a professor in one of the top B-Schools of Asia and an alumni of XLRI, he has extensive experience in teaching, training, consultancy and research in reputed institutes. He is a regular contributor of Business Fundas and a frequent author in research platforms. He is widely cited as a researcher. Note: The articles authored in this blog are his personal views and does not reflect that of his affiliations.