How to craft your best CV
Your CV is perhaps the most important tool in your jobseeking toolkit, and is your prospective employer’s first impression of you. Your CV should help you stand out and provide the reader with a clear overview of your experience, skills and competencies. Crafting the perfect CV is an art, but we are here to help! Here are the tips and advice we provide our candidates during their job search, now updated for the AI era.
Start with your contact details
Remember to always start your CV with your contact details, so that it is easy for those looking to hire you to get in touch. Include your name, telephone number, email address, and what town you live in, if this is important to those reading your CV. It can also be a good idea to include a footer with page numbers, in case the reader prints it out.
Write a short profile
This should be a short summary of your work experience that aims to capture the reader – feel free to make this section stand out with larger or bolder typeface.
Stick to one format!
Dates should be written in the same format across the CV, for example 01.01.22 – 01.01.23 or January 22 – December 23. Don’t start mixing formats, as this can look messy. (We recommend that you include months and not just years in the dates.)
Work experience – Write the company name first, followed by your job title below – feel free to make these stand out with typeface as well. If you have worked abroad, you may wish to include this is parentheses. In some cases, it may be a good idea to include a few lines about the company.
Education – Write the name of the institution first, followed by the qualification obtained. Start with your more recent qualification.
Open with your current job, and work your way back in time.
If you have many years’ experience, feel free to stop around year 2000 and write «Previous work experience available upon request.«
Should I include all the courses I have taken? Unnecessary information can detract from your CV’s overall impression. Only include courses that are relevant to the role you are applying for. If your certificates have expiry dates, make sure to include these as well.
Include IT systems.
In today’s technology driven working environments, it is important to show that you master digital tools. Include IT programmes and softwares that you are proficient in or familiar with, particularly if the role requires IT competencies. Here at Vega, we like to create a small column on the lefthand side where we include IT systems that we are familiar with.
And maybe languages.
It is often not necessary to include languages, but if you know several languages, and this is important for the job that you are applying for, then create a separate «Languages» list below your list of IT systems.
Should my CV be in English or Norwegian?
It can be a good idea to have a copy in both languages if you are applying for jobs in industries where English is the working language. A good rule of thumb is if the job advertisement is written in English, then send your CV in English.
Should I include a picture?
There is a lot of discussion around this, so you can choose whether you would like to include a picture or not. But, if you do choose to include a picture, then we recommend using a professional photo – not necessarily taken by a photographer – but perhaps not a picture of you on holiday at the beach. We have seen quite a few things in our day…
Remember to spell check!
Run a spell check before you submit. It’s a shame if you are applying for a role that requires «attention to detail» and your CV has spelling mistakes.
Using AI when writing your job applications
AI and chatbots are becoming more frequently used across several industries, including recruitment. You as a jobseeker can leverage this technology to your advantage when writing your applications. Here are some ways how.
AI can provide inspiration if you get stuck.
Don’t know where to begin? Start with a simple, generic template of a CV or cover letter for the specific role you are applying for (For example: «Can you write a cover letter for a HR Coordinator position?»). Then edit this thoroughly to tailor it to the specific vacancy and your own experience.
AI can suggest keywords that help you through the first screening round.
Larger companies that receive hundreds of applications ofte use AI programs for the first screening round of candidates. Your CV must therefore be written in such a way that the program recognises you as a potential candidate. Copy and paste the job description and ask the AI chatbot what keywords would be most important here. Make sure these keywords appear in your CV.
You can also do this yourself by looking at the desired qualifications and experience, and using this wording in your CV. This also shows that you have actually read the job description, and have not sent a «one size fits all» CV.
There are of course also pitfalls to watch out for when using AI. Here are some you should avoid.
Sometimes AI can overdo it.
AI has a tendency to generate long, extravagant-sounding texts. This can make you sound pompous, impersonal, or worse case scenario – a robot! Make sure that your language is simple and clear, and lean towards brevity when you can.
DO NOT submit any personal information!
Chatbots have heightened conversations around privacy and GDPR, and many bots do not have the security needed to ensure third parties cannot access the information stored in them. Never enter any personal or sensitive information into an AI chatbot.
We wish you the best of luck in your jobseeking journey! Click here for more tips and advice for jobseekers.