10 tips for a professional CV

The summer break is traditionally a period of reflection for busy professionals. In September and October, Lexius Staffing more than at other moments in the year meets candidates who want to make drastic changes to their career path. However, wanting change is not sufficient. It is necessary to convince a potential employer that you are the right candidate for the job. Your CV will be instrumental in that respect.

Therefore it might be useful to recall the 10 principles of a professional CV:

  1. A CV is truly a sales instrument. It serves to convince the reader that you are the right person for the job. So sell yourself. Humility is a great characteristic. However, your CV is not the place to show it. If your level of French is very good, don’t be afraid to mention it. But don’t overdo it at the risk of otherwise losing your credibility.
  2. Tailor your CV to the needs of the reader. The past is the past and you cannot change it, but you can highlight those experiences that are relevant to the position. No point in underlining that you have extensive experience in ICT contracts if you are applying for a corporate law position. Hence, make sure to adapt your CV to the position you apply for.
  3. Don’t be afraid to underline, bolden or generally use formatting to make your point without overkill. You should decide what the reader’s attention is drawn to. It is a power you have. Use it. Never leave it up to the reader to figure out what is important in your CV.
  4. Be succinct. If there is a field where less is more, it is in drafting a CV. Don’t try to be exhaustive by explaining in the greatest detail what you have been doing in previous jobs. You risk repeating yourself if you do and, more importantly, you risk drawning the reader in irrelevant details.
  5. If it cannot be said in one page, it’s not worth saying. Remember that your CV might be competing with another 20, 50 or sometimes a few hundred CVs, so make sure it stands out. You too are more inclined to read a one pager than to plough through an 8-page academic listing of experiences. You can add your publication or speech list in an annex and make that as long as required, but the essential information about your professional career should hold in one page, maximum two. Anything past a two page CV conveys the message that you might be unable or unwilling to distinguish the important from the anecdotic. Not a great quality for a tax specialist or lawyer.
  6. Extra-curricular activities or ICT knowledge. Keep it relevant and attention-grabbing. Nobody is interested in your having a driving licence or being able to work with Word, yet it still appears on many CVs. Liking reading is fine, but unless it is reading about drone building or Italian design, it is not very catchy. Mentioning membership of youth associations or the following of music lessons at the conservatorium, on the other hand, is something that not all of us do, yet it is more revealing than liking reading.
  7. No loose ends. Your CV should speak for itself, without need for further explanation. Don’t count on getting a chance to explain the unclear. A good CV is one without any loose ends.
  8. Keep track of time: after a 10-year career, the summer job you did at 18 is not very relevant any more. You might want to go into more detail about precisely what you did in your last two positions. Previous positions are less relevant. Therefore, when updating your CV, don’t limit yourself to adding information about your last experience(s). Sifting through your previous experiences to delete what has become less relevant is at least as important.
  9. You have got 60 seconds to convince. Keep in mind that a professional recruiter will decide within the first minute of reviewing your CV whether to invite you for a job interview. Therefore you’d better include in your CV the essential criteria set out in the job description. A recruiter will typically scan your CV for these terms.
  10. Format. An image tells more than a thousand words. Make sure your CV's layout is eye-catching and structured in a convenient way.

Voir aussi : Lex-ius ( )

Mr. Marc Vereecken Mr. Marc Vereecken
Founder & Managing Partner
[email protected]

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