How to write a good CV: Five essential tips to write an effective resume

The Womenpreneur Initiative shares 5 essential tips to write an effective resume.

When entering the job market, the first step you take is to build your resume or CV. This is an essential tool when applying for jobs and recruiters almost systematically require one. The CV contains all the relevant information that the recruiter needs to know about you. This might seem daunting and you might not know where to start, but do not worry Womenpreneur got you covered! In this article you’ll find information on what to include in your CV and our five essential tips to write an effective and powerful resume.

What to include in your CV?

If you’ve never written a resume, you might wonder what should be included in it. This section focuses on the 4 main sections your resume should contain. 

Include your professional title, name, surname, phone number and email address (not the one from your current job position and not the one you created when you were eleven).

Indicate the company or organisation where you worked and the years you worked in this position. Then list your main responsibilities and achievements in bullet points and quantify them as much as possible. It is generally recommended to use the past tense. 

For instance: 

- Led a team of twelve people and coordinated the sales department. 

- Increased the sales of our product by 30% in three months.

Indicate your secondary and post-secondary education diplomas and the years you obtained the degree. Include the title of your thesis dissertation. You can also include your GPA but this is optional.

In this section list all your hard skills, from language to computer skills. For languages refer to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), this is a good way to quantify your skills. Include any certified skills you have acquired throughout the years that are relevant for the job position.

Feel free to add a section to show off your publications, awards, academic achievements, etc. This can be a great added value to your resume.

Our 5 musts for a powerful CV

  1. Include keywords from the job description you are applying to

Even though this might be discouraging, tailoring your CV to the job you are applying to can really boost your chances of landing the position. In practical terms this means highlighting your most relevant work experiences and qualifications for the position and including some of the keywords from the job advert. This will attract the attention of the recruiter. 

  1. Think about transferrable skills from past experiences

When reading the job description you may sometimes feel like you do not possess all the required skills for the post. This is when this tip comes in handy. Think about your past experiences and what they have taught you. Maybe you worked in a restaurant and developed good organisational and management skills. You were also able to work under pressure. Volunteer experiences can also be highlighted as they demonstrate that you engaged with your community and that you developed skills such as fundraising or event planning. If these skills are relevant for the job position, list them along your other work experiences. 

For instance: Fundraiser volunteer for Amnesty International – 2019 – 2020

  1. Make it brief 

With the amount of applications recruiters have to go through, they quickly skim-read CV only taking a couple of minutes to look at it. This is why it is important to make it brief and straight to the point. The most relevant information should be put first and this refers to our #1 tip, check the job description to adapt your resume. Experiences should be classified from most recent to oldest and achievements should be quantified to have more impact. When describing your work experiences; make sure to write short and effective sentences that contain power words (e.g. achieved, led, advised, analysed, accelerated, increased, managed, handled, strengthened).

  1. Make it easily readable 

To ensure that the recruiter quickly sees your relevant work experiences and qualifications, your CV must be easily readable. Use a professional font (such as Calibri, Georgia, Times New Roman) and use a coherent font size for headers and sub headers. 

  1. Make it original 

When sending your application you want to make sure that the recruiter will want to have a look at your CV. Use design templates from websites (e.g. Canva, Word, Pages) to make your resume visually appealing. The template might not always correspond to your background or job domain, so it is essential that you make it your own. Delete unessential sections, add relevant categories and draw the attention of the recruiter to the most relevant information. 

About us: The mission of the Womenpreneur Initiative

The Womenpreneur Initiative is a Brussels based NGO organising activities in Belgium and in the MENA region. Since 2016, we have launched several initiatives and projects which aim to boost women’s economic participation and engagement in entrepreneurship and tech, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. We have reached and empowered more than 10 000 women since 2016.

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