November 27, 2020

The Subtle Art of Making a Perfect CV

‘First impression is the last impression’, make a good first impression and half of your work is already done they say and rightly so! This rule holds true for your social and professional life alike. The importance of making a good first impression cannot be overemphasized. A study done by Princeton psychologists found that it takes only a tenth of second to form an impression of somebody, and that, needless to say, is not quite a lot of time. How do you do that then? The answer is simple, with a good looking and well-structured CV/Resume!

How many of you have judged a person by stalking them on insta/fb even before actually meeting them in person? I’m sure all of us have and well, that’s what it is! Your CV is the first impression of you, no matter how smart or talented you are but if it doesn’t show on your CV then it’s practically of no use. As someone rightly said, the ultimate test of your knowledge is your capacity to convey it to others. So, how do you make your CV stand out from all the others in pile? Simply by following the ‘Keep it simple, silly! (KISS)’ approach. In an increasingly complex world, simplicity is the key to success. Nobody likes to give an in-depth look or read the content of a CV which prima facie looks congested. People have short attention spans, your CV is skimmed and not read. That’s all the more reason why your CV should be crisp and nothing more than a conversation starter!

There is no one perfect CV format but every format can be perfected by following some basic rules, which are as follows –

1. The overall shape of the CV – length, layout, margins, text alignment, font etc., is always the first impression.

· CV should be no more than 2 pages.

· Standard one-inch by one-inch margins are the safest choice.

· Left alignment is always your best bet.

· ‘Calibri’ and ‘Times New Roman’ are the two most recommended fonts for CVs.

· 11 point font is considered the perfect size for most CVs.

· The strategic use of bullet points and lines can greatly improve the overall shape of your CV and increase its readability.

· Main headings should always be in bold and well demarcated.

· Stick to the black and white theme and avoid the use of colors.

· You can sparingly underline or italicize important things in your CV.

· Always add a little space between the individual bullet points and a line break at the end of each section.

2. Your name should be written in big bold letters and centered on the page.

3. Always put your essential personal details, like your email address, personal contact number, current address on your CV and LinkedIn profile URL can be an add on.

4. Fundamental sections to include in your CV – Education, experience, internships, co-curricular.

5. Grammatical and spelling errors are, more often than not, a turn off.

6. Never use personal pronouns, such as I, me, we etc.

7. Be consistent in format and content.

8. Don’t be repetitive and avoid redundant expressions, instead refer to the list of action verbs for resume published by Yale/Harvard, easily available on the internet.

9. Don’t forget to list your hobbies and interests briefly in the end because nobody wants a robot but a person they can actually work with.

10. Never ever forget to proofread!

11. Make sure your formatting translates properly when you convert it to pdf.

In the end, always remember your CV should be easy to follow, pleasing to the eye and that you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.

The article has been contributed by Rupaly Middha (B.A. LL.B. (Hons.) 2020, Hidayatullah National Law University, Raipur)

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