Here, we will be discussing some of the basics of writing a successful CV. Wondering how companies tell a good CV from a bad CV? How do recruiters get the attention of a particular CV? Direct Emploi and its Human Resources Manager will guide you on this subject because one-third of managers do not spend more than a minute reading a CV.
The Curriculum Vitae meets a double objective: to allow you to get an interview and to provide a beginning of argument then completed by the cover letter, to convince the recruiter. Here are some tips on both form and substance.
Form and substance, the 5 commandments for a successful CV
In order to write an impactful and admissible CV for recruiters, you must follow a few basic rules. A so-called “winning” CV must be written in a concise, precise, attractive, impeccable manner and the writing must be thought out in such a way as to put oneself in the reader’s shoes.
The basics of writing a successful CV
1- You will write a sincere CV
Under no circumstances should you lie on your CV. Indeed, a recruiter will be able to quickly detect flaws. Be yourself, know how to assume career incidents and highlight the most catchy aspects. If it is indeed useless and dangerous to lie, you can nevertheless make certain points more attractive. It is imperative to embellish your CV in order to stand out from the competition. It is therefore advisable to mention if you have had positive results in carrying out a project or if you have obtained training with honours. All information serving you should be brushed aside to make way for useful and eye-catching information. So you will have understood, you must sell yourself without bragging!
2- You will write a relevant CV
It should highlight your skills but also your potential. It is important to highlight your important achievements and especially those that are closest to the position for which you are applying. The relevance of your CV will only be present if you respect an appropriate structure. Your CV should be kept simple and form should not prevail over substance. In general, a CV must be airy, structured, and organized, and the important elements must be highlighted. In order to be as relevant as possible, it is preferable to adapt your title to the job offer to which you are responding, provided of course that you maintain consistency with the rest of your CV. According to the HR manager of Direct Emploi, “your CV must respect and correspond to your profile”. The relevance of your life path can also be found in the terms you use and in the use of vocabulary adapted to the position. In addition to making your CV look professional, it will increase its credibility and increase your chances of being invited to an individual interview. You can choose to write your CV according to a specific type of plan in order to make your application all the more relevant and to support your choices. (Section: the different types of CV)
3- You will make a convincing CV
“You should always bear in mind that the recruiter’s first look at your CV is decisive”. Indeed, whether spontaneous applications or in response to a job offer, companies find themselves inundated with applications. Regardless of the position, you are applying for, you will be drowned in the mass of competing CVs. The recruiter carries out a first quick sorting in order to identify the really interesting applications. Therefore, your curriculum vitae must be convincing. The CVs are then briefly reviewed, the essential and impactful information on your background and your skills must therefore appear clearly. The form then plays an important role. All CVs that are illegible, overloaded or whose formatting makes it difficult to read are quickly discarded. A convincing CV must take into account a marketing aspect. Your goal is to sell yourself to the recruiter so that he hires you. “Convincing is easier when you say what the other wants to know”. To be convincing, you must answer methodically and explicitly in your CV the following 6 questions that recruiters ask themselves:
- “What can this candidate do for us? “
- “Do you have something more to add?”
- “Do you have the skills I need?” “
- “Do you have significant experience?”
- “Do you have the level of education and the right experience? “
- “How are you unique? “
If you take these few questions into account when writing your CV, you will have no trouble convincing your interlocutor that you are a potential candidate.
4- You will format an attractive CV
As relevant as your background is to a job ad, your experiences won’t work in your favour if they aren’t presented properly. You must be able to highlight your skills in an attractive way.
An attractive CV is a CV whose layout is coherent and clear. You must then respect these few rules:
Layout: In general, a CV is divided into 5 or 6 parts and must fit on one page. If your professional experience is substantial, it is possible to make a CV on two pages. Consider stapling your application nicely so the recruiter doesn’t lose half of your life path.
To note: Never present your CV in the column because this method is more difficult to read for the eyes of the man. It is preferable to write your CV horizontally
The paper: It is advisable to use white, clear or pretty grey paper in A4 format, to get your document out of the pile of photocopied white CVs. The paper must be pleasant to the touch and of a weight of at least 80 gr per m2 to have a good hold. Choose the same type of paper for the CV and cover letter.
The title: The title is one of the elements read first by recruiters. This is why it must present your professional profile and explicitly summarize your area of expertise. For instance“junior press attaché, 7 years of experience”
The photo: Contrary to what one might think, the photo on a Curriculum Vitae is not compulsory. According to a study by the recruitment firm Robert Half, French recruiters would be for 42% of them more attentive to your professional experience and 21% to your diplomas. Only 3% start reading your CV with the photo. Nevertheless, the photo can become a “more candidate” that can make you choose instead of another person. If you choose to put a photograph of yourself, choose a suitable one. Your photo must be taken on a neutral background with very good light. You must have well-groomed hair, and wear a professional wardrobe (see the outfit section, part 3). Your gaze should be fixed and determined. Preferably, include a colour photo because recruiters select applications from the elements they see on the CV. If you must attach it, stick it on your application and make sure it is of good quality.
– Photos that are too small, pixelated, or taken at arm’s length. (1)
– Vacation or evening photos (2)
– Photos where you are not alone (2)
– Photos that are badly framed or with a background that is not neutral (3)
– Plan photos overview (4)