5 tips for writing a professional CV


Your CV is one of the most important documents throughout your career.

It’s no exaggeration to say that it can make or break your plans for gainful employment in a fulfilling career. It gets scarier when you consider that recruiters typically skim resumes for just 7 seconds before moving on.

What can you do when you only have a few seconds to grab a recruiter’s attention and make them want to keep reading your resume? You need to make sure your resume is engaging from start to finish.

Here are 5 tips to help you get there!

1. Target your job title and abstract

“A professional resume will have a targeted title and summary tailored to a role or job description. Tailoring the resume to the position you’re applying for lets the reader know that you have the specific skills and experience they’re looking for. Think of it this way – hiring managers have a specific need. Job seekers should communicate that they are best suited for this need. »

Pam Duquette, CPRW

Your CV title and summary are one of the first things a recruiter will see when they go through your CV.

Since you only have a few seconds to grab the recruiter’s attention, you’ll need to make the title and summary both compelling and relevant to the job.

Here’s a tip:

When writing your title and abstract, study the job description and note the keywords specific to the position or function.

Then, without overdoing it, edit the skills and experiences in your title and summary to match said keywords.

This tells the recruiter that you have the specific skills and experience they are looking for.

2. Include measurable achievements

Include measurable accomplishments to set yourself apart from other candidates. These can be numbers/metrics, special projects, process improvements, or new system or process implementations. The key is to use valuable, engaging content that stands out to recruiters and hiring managers.

Lindsay Duston, CPRW

Employers love candidates with accomplishments. But they like those with measurable achievements even more.

Instead of simply listing what has been achieved, where possible, use indicators to quantify it. These indicators can be figures, statistics, results, etc.

So, instead of saying “implementing new policies”, try “17% increase in net profit through the introduction of cost control initiatives and automated systems”.

Keep in mind that while you need to use metrics to show value, you don’t want to overdo it or use false information because that can work against you.

3. Highlight Non-Job Achievements

“Highlight accomplishments outside of your normal scope of work. These may include service on a committee, volunteer work, or community engagement activities that demonstrate leadership and transferable skills. …If you’ve led a team on a volunteer fundraising project or served as a committee leader, mention it.This experience can be used to demonstrate that you’re ready to lead a team in your next role.

Kimberly Sarmiento, CPRW

Non-professional achievements are proof of your versatility. They show a potential employer that you are a well-rounded employee who can take initiative and take on a project or lead a team.

This is why your CV should contain the achievements and experiences you have gained outside of your workplace.

Any volunteer work you have done will look great on your resume. The same goes for any community projects you have led or any group/club you have managed.

These experiences help show recruiters that you have the necessary leadership skills.

4. Use a professional resume format

“Formatting matters. The wrong format can cost job seekers the professional positions they desire. A format that works well is to place relevant information in this order: title, summary paragraph, and core competencies followed by work experience and selected accomplishments, and finally your education, certifications, and other professional credentials. »

Andy Ricardo, CPRW

The format of your CV is the order in which a recruiter will see your information.

That’s why it’s important to choose the right format for your resume.

There are two main types of CV formats; chronological and functional.

A chronological CV puts your experience before your skills. The functional CV puts your skills before your experience.

We recommend that you use the functional resume format not only to highlight your skills before your experience, but also to give them more importance.

You can also emphasize your skills and experiences by using a third format: a combined or hybrid CV.

Here, equal attention is given to your skills and experiences, but your skills are presented first.

5. Align your content and design with your brand

“Let your professional brand show in your content and resume design. Choose industry-appropriate brand colors that reflect your personality and incorporate them throughout the resume. …Most importantly, use words that match to your brand.… Use strong verbs for outcome-oriented professions like sales versus humanistic, value-based descriptors for collaborative leaders in social science spaces.

Katherine Miller, CPRW

Job hunting is all about marketing. If you want to get your foot in the door, you’ll have to market yourself well.

It means to use industry-appropriate colors on your CV and choosing resume design items that match your industry.

Additionally, you’ll want to include brand-specific words on your resume.

In short, your resume should reflect your personality, your brand, and your industry.

If your work is results-oriented, use strong, results-oriented verbs. If your profession focuses on value, search for relevant value-based words instead.


Don’t be overwhelmed by the prospect of writing your resume.

It’s possible to create a professional resume that compels recruiters to read beyond those first seven seconds.

As a quick review:

  • Target your title and summary to the job you are applying for
  • Include measurable achievements
  • Note non-job related accomplishments
  • Work with a professional resume format
  • Align your content and design with your brand and industry

These steps will help you create the most important document in your professional journey.

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