5.2.1 Introduction to CVs and Resumes

Think about your resume from the employer’s perspective. You must remember that a resume is doing its job if it generates interest from an employer and helps get you an interview. It does not have to get you the job; nor does it have to include your entire life history. But it does need to answer the key question an employer asks: “Will this person add value to my company?”

So you need to know what employers are looking for. There are many ways to find out what employers really want:

  • You can research the job postings for the sorts of work you are interested in. Use these to look out for frequently mentioned requirements. For example, in one of the jobs announcement you look at in this challenge, there is the need to be bilingual in Spanish and English—does this apply to most retail jobs, or to most jobs in a particular geographical location?
  • Another good way is to ask people already working in your area of interest what they think employers want.
  • You can also read relevant publications or go to the employers’ website.

Basically, you need to immerse yourself in your chosen field.

Types of CVs and Resumes

As you will probably have realized by now, there are many different sorts of CVs and resumes, depending where you are in the world and what sort of job you want to apply for. Broadly, there are three types:

  • Chronological: This type of CV or resume sets out your experience and education in chronological order, usually putting the most recent first. This is the traditional format and works well if you have a solid, unbroken career record.
  • Functional: This type focuses on the skills you have acquired over time. You might choose to use this if you have a career that is in its early stages or has gaps.
  • Combination: A mixture of the two types above.

Writing a CV or resume can be difficult, especially if you don’t feel you have very much experience to offer. But stick with it—once you start to think and write, you will be surprised by how much you have to offer. As some general guidelines, you should include:

  • Only positive personal characteristics.
  • Technical and computer skills.
  • Any coursework you have done only if it is relevant.
  • Educational accomplishments and (in the USA) your GPA if it’s over 3.0.
  • Skills and experience gained from summer jobs and internships.
  • Other related accomplishments.
  • Any unpaid work in your work history (as long as it’s relevant).

The key is to include things that show your value and to exclude things that don’t. So interests or hobbies should only be included if they are relevant.

Practical Pointers

Remember that your resume has less than 20 seconds to impress someone. You might find these top 10 tips from Jobsearchabout.com [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] useful to help you design your resume:

  • Use a basic font that is easy to read for hiring managers and their hiring management systems.
  • Include your contact details.
  • Include the keywords you have found in the job announcement.
  • Choose the format that’s best for you (chronological or functional).
  • Prioritize your content—give a prominent place to the most important and relevant information, and ensure that your key accomplishments are listed for each position you have held.
  • Customize each resume.
  • If you are using an objective, tailor this too. The alternative to starting with an objective is to start with a profile that details your skills, experience, and goals. These also need to link to the specific job you are interested in.
  • Bear in mind that many companies use electronic systems to filter resumes—so use key words to make your one stand out.
  • Use a template.
  • Follow the instructions for emailing in your resume.

Having read through this introduction to CVs and resumes, you should be able to begin the CV/Resume Challenge. To do this, answer the questions based on your reading in Unit 5 so far. Once you have done this, you will the be in a great position to continue the challenge, which asks you to read examples of job announcements for their key words.

Activity 5.1: Introduction to CVs and Resumes

Timing: Allow about 10 minutes for this activity.

This is a required activity for Challenge 6: The CV/Resume Challenge.

You are now ready to try this CVs and resumes quiz. Answer the questions before continuing.

5.2.2 Looking at Job Announcements