How to write a CV
If you are looking for a new job, it is of paramount importance that you write a good CV, as this provides the employer with the first impression of yourself, and it will determine if you are going to be considered for a job or not.
Here are some general tips for writing a good CV. Keep in mind that hiring managers don’t spend more than 30 seconds on a CV and therefore your CV should be:
- Clearly formatted – it shouldn’t be difficult for the reader to find the important information quickly. It will help to highlight some information in bold (such as job titles, dates, employers) and to use a clear and professional font.
- Concise but comprehensive – your CV should provide an adequate level of details without being too lengthy. Two to four pages should definitely be enough!
- It is important that you customise the CV according to the job description or to the type of company you are applying for – identify the keywords and skills in the job description and try to match them in your CV.
- Check your grammar and spelling– it is important that you proofread your CV thoroughly, as presenting a CV with grammar mistakes and typos will certainly not leave a good impression of yourself!
- Avoid gaps in the CV – it is fine to take career breaks, there is no need to try to hide them. Acknowledging and explaining a gap won’t harm your chances of employment. Lying about a gap will.
Here is what a CV should include:
This section should include your name, email address, phone number and address (or location).
In Switzerland, it is also necessary to include your nationality and/or permit status.
In this section you might also include a link to your LinkedIn profile (if you have one) but only if it’s up to date!
Personal statement / short profile
A personal statement is a short paragraph that is intended to highlight who you are, what you have done so far that is relevant to the job/company you are applying to, and what your career goals are.
This section should include all your relevant work experience listed in reverse chronological order, i.e. the most recent first.
It is important that for every job you have had you clearly state:
- Date of employment: ideally not only the years but also the months
- Company name and, if not very known, type of business
- Job title
- Key responsibilities: make a list of your responsibilities and tasks in bullet points, as in this way they are more easily readable. You might want to select the tasks and responsibilities that are most relevant or transferable to the job you are applying for.
For each employment, you might also want to list your key achievements.
Like your experience section, your education should be listed in reverse chronological order and Include:
- the name and location of the institution
- the dates you were there
- the degree you obtained
Here you can add any additional skills you have such as languages, IT skills, or any other job specific skill you think relevant.
Hobbies and interests
This is not a “must have” but it will tell something more about yourself that might make you stand out from the crowd and potentially be an ice-breaker in an interview.
To complete your dossier, in Switzerland it is expected that you write a cover letter and that you send copies of your diplomas and reference letters. If you don’t have reference letters, you can provide names of your former superiors that the employer can contact for a verbal reference.