A good CV makes all the difference

A good CV must be clear and well structured. Three basic sections are necessary:

 

CONTACT INFORMATION

Last and first name, address, telephone number, e-mail address.

Make sure not to include personal information (photo, age, domestic status, etc.). This is not a titled section; you may choose to use a header or footer.

EXPERIENCE

List your experiences chronologically, starting from the most recent.

Clearly cite the name of the company, your start and end dates and the name of the position you occupied. You can add a brief description of the company (sector, context, activity, key figures) if you think it is appropriate.

EXAMPLE:

Experience 2000–Nov. 2006 COMPANY A Montréal, QC
Project manager – Construction and installation of equipment

Next, itemize your responsibilities and achievements associated with each job. Be precise and use technical terms specific to your field. Be the most detailed about your most recent job.

EXAMPLE:

Missions Prepared profitability analyses

  • Played role of intermediary between the various departments (e.g. Billing, Marketing, IT)
  • Evaluated projects for new systems or processes
  • Analyzed budget variances of the various projects
  • Made recommendations to managers
  • Prevented and solved problems arising from the projects
  • Produced reports

EDUCATION

Outline the different stages of your education, starting with the most recent. Only cite relevant degrees.

EXAMPLE:

Education
  • 2004 PMP Certification
    Project Management Institute
  • 1992 Bachelor of Science – Computer Science
    University of Montréal

LANGUAGE SKILLS

List the languages you speak and write fluently.
If you have passed a proficiency exam recognized by the professional world, such as the TOEIC or CFP, provide your results in order to indicate your level to recruiters.

EXAMPLE:

Languages
  • Mother tongue : English
  • Second language : Hindi

COMPUTER SKILLS

List the software and operating systems that you have facility with. If you have experience with programming, also indicate the languages.
If the list is long, organize it into sub-sections, as in the example below:

Software
  • Databases: Oracle, SQL Server, Ingres, MySQL
  • Office software: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, McAfee Internet Suite
  • Internet: HTML, Javascript, ASP.NET, PHP
  • Operating systems: Windows NT, XP, MS-DOS, OS/2, Unix, MPX-32
  • Languages: C, C++, Java, FORTRAN, Pascal, BASIC

The languages and computer skills sections can be placed either before or after the section on professional experience, or even at the end of the CV. They can also be merged into one single section.

To seduce recruiters…

To embellish your CV and make it easier to read, you can add other complementary sections:

OBJECTIVE

Specify in one or two sentences the type of job you are looking for. This section will help recruiters better identify your interests and ambitions, provided that you are sincere and do not regurgitate a formulaic statement.

Objectives Put into practice my knowledge of project management for a provider of computer services

This section can come immediately after your contact information.

PROFILE

This section summarizes your skills and qualities at the very beginning of the CV. It makes the recruiter’s job easier by allowing him/her to quickly grasp the essence of your profile. Make sure that it is entirely consistent with the rest of your CV.

In addition to “Profile,” the section can also be titled “Summary of Qualifications.” It can be placed after your contact information or after your professional objectives.

Highlight your primary skills and principal experiences. Be concise and only state the essentials: it is a summary. You can include crucial personal qualities, key aspects of education as well as language and computer skills if they are essential.

EXAMPLE:

Profile
  • More than 10 years’ experience in project management: Technical projects – 30 to 2,500 days – Teams of 2 to 15 people – Budgets of $20K to $5.3M
  • Recognized aptitude for teamwork
  • Ability to work under pressure in a complex and constantly evolving environment
  • Creativity and sense of initiative in resolving problems
  • Excellent analytical, planning and organizational skills
  • Independence and leadership
  • Aptitude for oral and written communication skills
  • MS Project
  • Databases: Oracle, SQL Server, Ingres, MySQL
  • Computer skills: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, McAfee Internet Suite

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

If you pursued additional training related to your profession, highlight it by adding a section called “Professional Development,” “Certifications,” or “Related Training.” It is always good to show recruiters that your knowledge base is current. This section can go either before or after the “Education” section, depending on the importance you give it.

EXAMPLE:

Professional associations
  • Member of the Project Management Institute
    PMP Certification – 2003
  • Member of the Order of Engineers
    Certification – 1994

MISCELLANEOUS

You may also choose to outline some of your extracurricular activities for your recruiters: leisure pastimes, sports, involvement with associations or advisory boards, etc. According to a Robert Half International Survey, 83% of hiring managers believe that an employee’s career can benefit from taking part in professional associations or other sector-related activities!

EXAMPLE:

Miscellaneous Involved in 3 business people organizations:

  • Board of Trade of XXX
  • Business Circle XXXX
  • Federation XXX

OTHER SECTIONS…

Do not hesitate to tailor certain sections to your profile or even create new ones in order to highlight your skills and personal qualities, for example, “Volunteer work,” “Publications,” “Honors,” and so on.

Remember:

  • Spell-check your CV thoroughly
  • Update it regularly
  • Have someone else proofread it to affirm its effectiveness

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