CV Design: Writing The Best CV for Your Industry
When applying to jobs, you most likely need to provide a resume, CV or both. Both resume design and CV design can be difficult. A curriculum vitae, or CV, can be an essential part of landing the job you want. If you’re applying for a position outside of the United States, a CV is often the first thing employers ask for. If you are a student from a non-English speaking country but applying to a job in the UK or US that requires a CV, it is important that you are able to write an effective CV in (proper) English. Generally, outside of the US, a CV is used in place of a resume. However, a CV requires more content and detail than a resume, so it may be necessary to adjust your CV more in depthly depending on what industry and job you are applying for.
If you have never written a CV before and don’t know where to start, it might be helpful to think of a CV as a combination of a cover letter and an expanded version of your resume, where you highlight your most important achievements. To make your CV stand out, you should focus on the moments of your career that you are most proud of: AKA when you exceeded expectations. In the United States and other countries where the resume is usually the first thing asked of job applicants, the CV is often used in academia.
If you are looking for a job, it is always a good idea to have at least one current, polished version of a CV that can give an employer a more in-depth analysis of the highlights of your career as well as your academic and employment history if need be. CV layout can be as important as the content, so if you don’t know where to start, it is always a good idea to look at some sample CVs to get an idea of what headings people use, how they divide up information and the order in which things are presented. Below are some tips on CV design for a couple of different industries.
If you are applying for a job in finance, you want to highlight your achievements in previous jobs in the finance industry. If you have never worked in the finance industry, focus on things you have done that show a skill set that would be valuable to the finance position you are applying for. For pretty much all jobs in finance, you should show evidence of hard, quantitative skills.
Depending on what exactly the position is, you may need to demonstrate soft skills too. For example, if you are applying to a position where you would be working with clients, you should present yourself as personable and well-spoken, provide evidence of good communication and people skills, and show a strong sense of understanding of client needs. If you are applying for a management position, you should demonstrate understanding of key regulations and give specific examples of when you have successfully led a group of people or executed a team project.
You should quantify your achievements, for example if, at your previous job, you were a main contributor in suggesting and executing changes to the management system that increased sales in the following quarter. Include that and give specifics - how many people contributed to the changes? How much did numbers go up and in what areas? You should expand on qualifications and experience that are relevant to that job specifically, and always have numerical data to back up your achievements. Employers like to see evidence of professional development - highlight times when you outperformed your colleagues, were recognized for doing a good job, and saw results, whether that meant being promoted or being given more responsibility next time.
Lastly, jobs in finance often require less creativity than those in other industries, so there is always the possibility of coming across as generic. In order to avoid getting lost in a pile of CVs on an employer’s desk, focus on what makes your achievements unique. Think about it from the hiring manager’s side - why should he or she hire you over the next person, who also made successful investment suggestions that resulted in higher profits for the company? Do you have a unique competitive edge, such as proficiency in a foreign language that would allow you to communicate with clients overseas? Now is the time to brag about it.
When applying to jobs in consulting, focus on problem solving and communication, while also keeping in mind quantitative skills. Think about why the projects you have previously consulted for are relevant to the position you are applying to. Think about demographic, geographic, psychographic and behavioral aspects of the people, products and companies you have worked with and draw parallels to demonstrate why your skills and understanding are transferrable.
You should not only talk about your specific achievements, but you should quantify them as much as possible. As mentioned above, your achievements carry more weight if you have numbers to back them up, even if the project you excelled at involved more soft skills than hard. Don’t just say what steps you took to achieve something, but what the specific outcomes were. If you were appointed manager to a team, state how many members there were, how many challenges were presented and what they were, which tasks you oversaw to completion, and and what profits came of that.
In addition, communication is a core part of success in consulting, so think about your phrasing and wording. Don’t repeat verbs or adjectives, use clear language that shows instead of tells, and make sure your grammar is nothing short of pristine.
Presentation and layout are especially important when applying to jobs in the creative industry (by creative industry, I mean non-traditional jobs). If you can figure out a way to demonstrate your creativity in your CV, do so, whether that means using fonts and graphics designed by you in the document or incorporating a link to an online portfolio. You want to ensure that there is a solid balance of creativity and professionalism.
Make sure you have solid explanations of achievements and display a professional attitude through your wording and delivery. Don’t cut corners or use sneaky ways of catching an employer’s attention - focus on demonstrating an innovative mindset that is exciting and creative where it needs to be, and serious and concrete where it needs to be.
Although an all-inclusive CV may be required and can be helpful in giving the employer a sense of your specific achievements and employment history, it may be a good idea to have a second, more creative CV or resume that is less wordy and shows more of your creative skills. The more creative version might include graphics and have bigger fonts and headings that give the CV personality and show your creative skills through visual aspects, and therefore may have less of a focus on specific descriptions of your skills and achievement.
For example, if you are including a section on your skill set, in the creative version you might list skills (Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, etc), and make the graphic and font that goes along with each skill bigger for those skills that you have the most experience with, and smaller for the ones you have less experience with. See an example below.
Remember that CVs and resumes are not all that different, and there are likely to be many overlaps between the two. One thing to keep in mind is that since a CV often expands on the achievements and experiences listed in your resume, if you don’t have a solid resume, it may be difficult to know where to start when creating a CV. You might be thinking, well now I have to go look up how to make a resume. Or perhaps you’re in a time crunch and need the CV or resume soon.
The good news is, we can help you. Our service is exactly for people like you, who need a resume, but don’t know where to start or don’t have the time to come up with one from scratch or make their current one better. We use artificial intelligence to generate a world-class resume, and then have experts in resume optimization review it to fine tune the details. All you have to do is provide us with the necessary information or an already-done resume, and we can provide you with a resume that can act as a foundation for your CV or on it’s own, help you get the job you want.