In this post we are going to give you a few tips on how to write the perfect CV in English. Nowadays it is quite usual to look for jobs in foreign countries, facing a high degree of competition. This means that it is essential to demonstrate a good command of English language, including your CV.
In general terms, in English speaking countries the same rules apply with regard to the contents that any good CV should include:
- Personal details: basically your name and contact details (address, phone number and email). In the UK it is not necessary anymore to include your date of birth, since age discrimination laws were passed. A photograph is not necessary either (on the grounds of equal opportunity legislation) unless you apply for acting or modelling positions. Active presence in professional social media should be included.
- Education and qualifications: mainly university degrees and postgraduate courses. State clearly the subjects of your degrees and final dissertation, if applicable. You can also mention your grades if they are good.
- Work experience: summarise this point indicating the workplace, position, period of employment and relevant tasks involved. Here it is very important to use an active language, using verbs such as plan, organise or develop, and point out any relevant skills, specially if these are related to the job you are applying for: teamwork, quality service, problem-solving skills, analytical mind, negotiating abilities, etc.
- Personal interests and achievements: in this section you should use a simple and direct language. Avoid obviousness (for example, “I enjoy spending time with family and friends) and try to show a wide range of hobbies to make it more interesting. It is quite important to include interests that might be relevant to the job you apply for (e.g. learning languages or travelling if it is an international position)
- Skills: here you should include the languages you speak, stating your current level, your IT skills (for instance, working knowledge of Excel) and whether you hold a driving licence (indicating, if it is the case, “full current clean driving licence)
- References: this is not essential unless specifically requested by the employer, but you can include a number of referees (two are usually enough), academic or work-related. In many cases, indicating “References are available on request” will do.
Summing up, when writing your CV you must always remember:
- The information you include should be clear, relevant and straight to the point. Your CV must be easy to read (it should not exceed two pages of A4)
- Your language should show confidence in yourself (remember that you need to convince an employer that you are the right person for the task), using active language and highlighting your achievements
- Generally speaking, you should adapt your CV to the position you apply for, instead of using just one generic version of it.
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