The information, layout and format your CV has can make all the difference. Even though there’s no magic formula for the perfect one, we’ll give you ten rules of thumb to make sure yours stands out. 

A CV (from the Latin curriculum vitae for “course of life”) is a job application document that summarizes not only our work experience and education but also our hard skills (which we’ve acquired through studies and work), our soft skills (qualities like working well in teams, creativity and others), interests, objectives, hobbies and other details that should add value to the role on offer.

The digital revolution in recent years has changed not only how we search for jobs but also how we write and present our CV. In some countries, printed CVs are now a thing of the past. Digital CVs are a growing trend all over the world because they’re eco-friendly and make processing applicants’ personal information easier. Also, we tend to use job portals, company websites, social networks like LinkedIn and HR managers' email addresses to share them.

A perfect CV that will please all job recruiters is a daunting task. However, there are some things we should keep in mind to stand out and move closer to our next career goal. Here are 10 tips on writing a solid CV:

  1. Organize your info: Work or studies? The answer to such a key question will depend on the topicality of each subject. If something you've recently worked on is relevant to the job offer, a recruiter will likely want to see your work experience first. However, if you’ve just finished a course or earned a degree that qualifies you for the role, put your education at the beginning. Either way, put your details in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent experience.
  2. Keep it short: Even if you have a lot of experience and education, you should keep the number of pages to a minimum. Experts recommend between one and two pages with details that relate strictly to the job you’re applying for. If you’re vying for an accounting role, put down your experiences in finance (and leave out your stint as a dog-walker). Recruiters often have little time to read so... the more to-the-point, the better.
  3. Describe your roles: You must state your previous roles and explain the tasks you performed. Your CV isn’t just a list of past jobs; it’s also your chance to show what you bring to the table from each one. Don’t hesitate to highlight your achievements.    
  4. Make it easy on the eyes: When it comes to your CV, “a picture is worth a thousand words”. Graphs and bar charts that show your language, computer and other skills will make it easier for recruiters to get to know you. Your layout should also be easy to read, with columns, sections and colours.
  5. Proofread: A “slip of the pen” can make a bad impression. Poor spelling or grammar tends to convey a lack of both interest and attention to detail. Also, make sure the font you use is easy to read.
  6. Use PDFs: Several tools and websites (not to mention software like Microsoft Word) provide CV templates. Whatever you use, save your final draft as a PDF. Aside from being widely accepted and easy to open, it will prevent your information being altered.
  7. Keep an eye on your social media profiles: Our social networks are an extension of ourselves, and whatever we do online can affect us in real life. Companies are paying closer attention to our online activity; so, be careful of what you post and share. Before putting links to your LinkedIn, Instagram or Facebook profiles, think if the content they contain add value to your career description.
  8. Share your strengths: CVs are about people, including their interests and hobbies. Feel free to share your artistic skills, your passion for sport or whatever you like to do in your free time. That will give companies a more well-rounded idea about you.
  9. Be honest: The purpose of a CV is to land you an interview so a company can get to know you better. Don’t embellish your work experience and education because you’ll probably get laid bare in the hiring process.
  10. Update it: A good CV is an up-to-date CV that you can send out whenever the opportunity arises. Pay attention to dates and add or change important details, like a new phone number, email address, a course you’ve finished or an experience you’ve had.

Last but not least, be sure of your skills so that the job you apply for or the career you choose are right for you. Whatever your case may be, use the career orientation tool by Santander SmartBank, Smart Talent Scanner (in Spanish), to find out what career is the right fit for you.

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