How to Write a Concise English CV

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Even for fluent English speakers, writing a good CV can be confusing. One might very well have the best qualifications, but how you actually write about them determine how they’re perceived, and can make or break your job application. This along with having multiple pitfalls, this process requires a conscientiousness with the language that can be demanding.

Concision

What marks the best CVs is concision. They tend to be just one page long (with a possible exception for medical CVs), display only the most relevant highlights, and the most concise writing possible. Given a finite space of paper, can you condense paragraphs into sentences and sentences into words?

This focus trickles down to your word choose. The most excruciating mistake of CV writing is the use of vague words. Taking business english lessons can help you figure out what words to use in a business setting. Because there are many nuances when writing a CV and sometimes you need a native speaker to point out the obvious mistakes that you might be making.

Common CV Mistakes

For example, describing yourself as “motivated” or “dependable” sounds good in isolation, but signify nothing to your employer. Ditch the adjectives and let your results speak for themselves (and if you can’t do this, writing a CV shouldn’t be your primary concern).

Tips and Tricks for Writing your CV

Highlight not only the major projects you worked on, but also the specific role you played in each, and include references and people to vouch for you. In the process of editing, best selling author Stephen King repeats to himself: “Kill your darlings”.

This is in reference to pages of writing that he labored and bled for during the first draft. But in the process of editing, one has to maintain a broader picture of the writing, and “kill” everything unnecessary.

Narrative

The standard of beginning a CV with a personal statement has a very specific point that most people get wrong. That is, most people don’t craft narrative. The personal statement’s point isn’t to summarize the upcoming summary of your career, but to show the overarching why of it.

Why did you transfer from job A to job B? What trends in your career seem obvious to you, but should be explicit to your employer? Why do you get out of bed and commute to work everyday (please don’t say it’s because you’re motivated)?

Resources

To see examples of great CVs, visit the Guardian Careers blog. Among other thing, notice the use of third person, which allows a sense of remove, brevity, and professionalism in the CV.

A great place to start, is downloading one of many free English CV templates. Bear in mind however, that one size doesn’t necessarily fit all; consult websites like Skypenglish4u to get professional business English consulting services.

Your CV is the first thing that a potential employer will look upon when considering you for a job. Your dream job is waiting for you. Do not let a terrible CV hold you back so focus on being concise, focused, and always remember to seek out professional assistance if are in doubt!

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