CV Best Practices

A great CV should fulfill the following criteria:

  • Give personal information
  • Outline what you have achieved and what you want to achieve
  • Work with common keywords relevant to your profile
  • If you include a picture, pick a professional one
  • Avoid gaps
  • NO grammar mistakes
  • Keep it short, but convincing
  • Attract attention by creative outline but do not overload
  • Save as PDF file, not Microsoft Word Document!!!

First of all, you should provide all relevant personal information, e.g. name, birth date, address, residency, phone number, and email address.

Your CV should represent your professional career so far and where you want to take it. To achieve that, your previous work experience should be outlined with all important information e.g. company name, location, job title, industry, time frame, range of tasks and responsibilities as well as main achievements. Furthermore, you can include a “profile” section in the beginning of your CV, quickly summarizing your experience and most importantly, what you imagine your future job looks like. This section is good to outline your personality as the rest of your CV reflects your professional life. It’s also good to describe your key skills. For that, you can use common keywords for the position you would like to be considered for.

In English CVs, it is uncommon to include a picture, whereas in German CVs it is usual. If you would like to add a picture to make your CV more personal, please make sure to choose wisely. A professionally taken picture as well as a picture showing you “in action” at e.g. a presentation or conference work well.

At some point in your professional experience it can happen that you have gaps when you were looking for another job or for other reasons. This is never a problem but you should make sure to state that in your CV, otherwise HR Managers may question this.

It is of utmost importance to avoid grammar mistakes. Most HR Managers won’t consider your CV if they find a mistake.

A rule of thumb for the length of your CV is to stick to one page only. If HR Managers have to scroll through too many pages, they may lose interest. To increase attention, you can feel free to give your CV a personal note by choosing a creative outline or design. However, don’t overdo it as the design may distract from your professional experience. Keep in mind that HR Managers sometimes look at hundreds of CVs per day so you don’t want your CV to get lost or overlooked.

Last but not least, please make sure to save your CV as a PDF file. Application documents saved via Microsoft Word seem unprofessional. In addition, everyone can edit your CV when saved as a Microsoft Word document.

To generate a good looking CV online and gather some more useful information, you can have a look at the following resources: