What makes a good CV?

A CV is a report on the applicant's life

A CV (curriculum vitae) is the single most important and most used document in job seeking, and extra effort should be put into it. A good CV is logical and written specifically for the job you are applying for.

A CV is a report on the applicant's life. It contains all the necessary information about the applicant, from personal details to education and work experience, so that the recruiter needs only to glance through it. A CV must be short and concise. You should always update your CV for the job you are applying for by emphasising the characteristics that were highlighted in the announcement. Do not exaggerate your expertise, but do not underestimate your abilities either.

Clarity is the key to a good CV! Unusual features should not be used just to stand out. All styles and formatting used must make the CV clearer and more readable, not the opposite. There are a number of good, established CV layout conventions which should be followed unless you have a very good reason not to.

The CV should include your personal details, education, work history, and language skills. Depending on the position, also indicate your IT skills, permits or certificates for work, driver's license, and/or other expertise relevant to the job. If you wish, you can include a short presentation of yourself. Place it at the start of the CV and keep the length to a few lines. In the presentation, you can explain what motivates you at work or what your strengths are, especially in relation to the position you’re applying for, among other things. Remember that the purpose of the CV is to answer the recruiter's question as to why you specifically should be chosen for a further interview.

We have listed some basic guidelines on preparing a good CV. The most important issue is that you should present your expertise clearly, since at the end of the day, technicalities are just technicalities. Do pay special attention to spelling, however.

CV guidelines

Place your personal details – name, date of birth, and contact details – at the start of the CV. Double-check your e-mail address and telephone number.

The information in the CV is presented in reverse chronological order: the most recent work experience, education, or other merit is placed first.

For education, indicate at least your main subject and year of graduation. If you are still studying, you should state an estimated completion date and give an idea of when you would be available for full-time work. You can also tell the reader about any career aims you had that inspired you to enroll in your education, if you had any such goals.

In the work history section, list your employers and positions, and the dates and duration of employment. Since a job title does not provide enough information, try to describe your work as comprehensively as possible and list your practical duties and responsibilities. If you are currently employed, you can write a short description of why you are looking for a new job. If the period of employment has already ended, you can include the reason why the relationship ended.

If you have gaps in your employment, you should explain the reasons for them. Any longer periods of travelling, studying, or parental leave are also worth mentioning in the CV.

Be honest when describing your language and IT skills. You should specify oral and written language skills separately and describe them extensively instead of merely using an excellent/good/fair rating. When describing your language and IT skills, use as concrete examples as possible. Indicate what computer software and systems you can use and what you have done with them in your work. Do mention any studies or work abroad when describing your language skills. The person reading your CV should be able to assess whether your skills are up to the position you apply for.