When you see an advert on TV or on the street you’re struck by the powerful images that invite you to read the message. But the power of that advertisement would be extremely low if it was missing the most important piece of the puzzle: a well-crafted structure.
Without structure there is no message
Imagine if this article consisted of exactly the same words but written in a different, random order: you would look at it and, in less than two seconds, move on to another article where the content is clearer.
The same applies to CVs: you might have included the right information, but if the recruiter finds it too hard to understand the structure, she/he will simply move onto the next CV on my desk.
For the recruiter it is a bit of a waste of time, not to mention annoying. But for you it could be a tragedy.
In the following slide you will find the structure that we use at NemCV for the layout of your CV:
Click the image above, or this link, to see a larger version.
I intentionally left out the "contact details" section from the slide, as I assume that it is something that you put on the first page, no matter how you decide to make your CV. It’s just common sense to share these details when you write a letter or an email to someone for the first time.
JOB TITLE: You are what your job title says
In my previous article I already explained the importance of putting the right job title on your CV, so I will not dig further. Just remember that you are a perfect stranger to the people reading your CV, so don’t expect them to understand all of your qualities, skills and nuances in the first two seconds.
The job title is as important as the headline of a newspaper article; it is there to grab attention and to say to the recruiter: “I am the professional that you are looking for”.
PROFILE: In less than ten seconds - What / How Much / Where
This section gives me an idea of what kind of experience you have, how much and where. Ideally I should start to imagine you in the context you describe, performing your tasks at the level of expertise your facts tell me. It sounds a little complicated, and in fact it is quite tricky.
EMPLOYMENT OVERVIEW: Your work-related life index
This is the list of your past (and current, if you are still working) workplaces and roles. It is a simple list in reverse chronological order which contains start and end dates (with months), employer names and roles. In our NemCV system it is a no-brainer: it is automatically filled and sorted as you enter the details of each past job.
GENERAL INFO: Skill, Education and other optional information
This section answers the following questions: what is your education level? Which competences do you have? Which tools do you know? Which languages do you speak? What is publicly available related to you? It is a simple list with as few details as possible.
The “Skills” section should contain as many as possible relevant keywords.
EXPERIENCE DETAILS: Responsibilities & Achievements
I will never stress enough the importance of the “Achievement” sections in your CV, even though I know that sometimes it is really difficult to quantify the results of your job.
I just scratched the surface with this short list of CV sections, but in the next articles I will provide a fictional CV where you will be able to see the power of well-structured content, and get a good example of the “Employment History” and “General Info” sections.
Moreover I will explain in detail the structure and content of the “Profile”, “Responsibilities” and “Achievements” sections.