A good résumé (CV, curriculum vitae)

When looking for a job, you need a good résumé. That will determine your chances of getting the position or continue being unemployed. You already know that. What you may not be aware of is the fact many things have changed in the last ten or fifteen years. Does your curriculum vitae meet the current standards?

New standards for your curriculum vitae

Long CVs were once considered a proof of remarkable job experience; a long list of studies was once considered a proof of deep training. Those concepts are over now. A man in the department of human resources cannot take twenty minutes to read your five-page long life summary. And, besides, everybody knows that the quality of education has reduced a lot in the last twenty-five years and that even a cumma sum laude will need a time to adapt and learn before grabbing "the real thing". When writing your résumé, now you must get ready to write something short.

But there is a second very important thing that has changed during the last years. Many companies during the 1990s were accused of choosing their new employees based on discriminatory factors such as the colour of your skin or the neighbourhood in which you lived. Both things are strongly avoided now, specially after so many plaintiffs before the labour tribunals. Taking this into account, your résumé must not include information that may lead into discriminatory practices. You may be backfiring yourself without knowing.

What to include in your résumé today

The pressure of time to meet a company's goals, the enraged competition among corporations and the availability of hundreds of people with studies in the same disciplines have turned the tasks of looking for a job and hiring personnel into something stressing yet vital to the achievement of the company's proposed objectives. Are you looking for a job? This kind of résumé usually meets the current selection standards:

+ Start by stating your name and your contact information as the heading. Write your name in large fonts on the top left, your complete place and date of birth immediately below it, and your telephone number and e-mail address in normal fonts, on the right side. Draw an horizontal line to separate this data from the rest of the content. There is no need to include your address.

+ Continue with your studies, in order of relevance. Include only the highest degree you have obtained in each of them and the place from where you graduated. There is no need to include which class are you, but you can add any special award you have obtained. Do not include your language studies. For example:

Business Administrator
Degree in Business Administration
Utopia University

Technician in Marketing
Graduate from DreamMaker College
Graduated with honours

Archbishopric of Utopia

+ Continue with your experience, mentioning the total experience you have had in each position. There is no need to state when you worked for each company any more, but it is important to mention your duties or responsibilities and the names of all the companies you have worked for, without omissions (even if you cooked hamburgers when you were eighteen years old). Include this information in paragraphs, not in a list as this will force the selectors to read through. And remember to state things in plain English, else they may think you are lying.

A year and a half of experience as management assistant, including the verification of the goods purchased and the control of personnel payroll and bank balances. Companies: Utopia is not a Dream Inc., Dynamic Dudes corp.

A year of experience as teller, including initial and final balancing, and customer service. Companies: Ninety-ninth National Bank.

Six months of experience as a clerk in a local shop, including counter and cashier functions. Companies: Quick Buck Store.

+ Continue with your belongingness to associations, organizations or unions, if any. If you have published any books or articles, mention them too. These subtitles are usually labelled Memberships and Publications. Examples:

Member of the National Administration Professional Association

"How to make a good job", article published on Heptagrama.com electronic magazine.

+ Finish by stating the languages you speak and any certificate you may have got for each of them. A line is more than enough.

English, German and French.

Some extras to consider

+ If you are looking for your first job, you don't have experience, but you have got skills. Replace the subtitle "experience" with a subtitle "skills", talking a little about yourself and your expectations for your following years. Be careful not to include data which may lead to discriminatory practices.

+ If you are looking for a position in a top management level, include some figures of the economic benefits your job has given to your previous employers, without disclosing any private information about any of them.

+ If you are looking for a job in arts or related to the design industry, include samples of your work in separate sheets of paper. Never turn your résumé into a artwork.

+ If you are looking for a job related to security, specify the places in which you have worked one by one, and summarize less than usual. Security positions need a high percentage of detail in your résumé.

+ And, in general, never include this data in your résumé: photograph (unless expressly requested in the ad of the position you are applying to), sexual orientation (nobody cares who you sleep with at home), race (you want to be hired for your race or for your capacity?), address, ID number, social security number, marital status, number of children, whether you resigned of were fired from previous positions, wage expectancy. Do not provide your interviewer with information he does not need or which is not reasonably necessary to help him decide if he will hire you or not. And do not include information which may move him to discriminatory practices either.

+ Last but not least, never lie in your résumé. If you do it, you are ruined.

A final tip: When writing your résumé, use a comfortable font size. Try to use an uncommon font face, too (Everyone uses Arial or Times New Roman, use Garamond or Tahoma!). That will help you be remembered. A résumé should not exceed a page and a half long according to current standards, so there is no need to double space.

Just be yourself. Good hunting.

Colleagues + Working