Bla bla bla · Technical

Tips For Writing an Attractive CV

Few months ago, I posted an article about “Tips about Microsoft and Facebook Interviews”, but how can you reach these interviews The answer is not “Prepare an Attractive CV!”, note that, The CV is just a description and an interface of your real knowledge and qualifications. So, what I want to say is “Strengthen your knowledge, strengthen your background and qualifications, work, train and study well”, in the other hand, you have to professionally present and introduce yourself. I’m going to list some guidelines and notes about that.

Notes:

  • This post mainly targets software developers, but it’s mostly useful for others also.
  • In some points, I’ll mention my personal opinion; they’re not standards or rules. But all what I can say that my CV was good enough to get me many interviews.

 

General guidelines and advices:

  1. It’s very important to start writing your CV in early ages-1st, 2nd and 3rd faculty years -, just write a draft one! You’ll not lose anything but you’ll gain a lot of time building and improving your CV. You’ll end up with a very strong one.
  2. Update it periodically and make versions, don’t update the same document each time, keep the previous versions, you may need to give a look on old versions.
  3. Spread it on the web; upload it on box.com or any other cloud host. Put it on your LinkedIn profile. (Like here, you can find it in the Contact Info)
  4. Don’t lie! Just mention the truth! Don’t say anything just to decorate your CV and make it looks better.
  5. “English, English, English” :D, I remember that I wrote something like that in the previous post. Believe me, wrong vocabulary and grammar mistakes, gives a very bad impression for the recruiter.
  6. Check out as many CVs as possible. Check out your friends CVs! check out professionals CVs!
    Please, check them out to be able to spot a good design and to know what to include in your CV, not to steal the best of them and customize it. (Some people do that)
  7. Revise it, ask as many people as possible to revise it, you should revise it by yourself many times to be able to figure out how to improve the verbs and improve the way of writing and presenting your skills.
    Guide: It’s recommended to use MS vocabulary and grammar mistakes auto detection and correction.
  8. Always, keep an online version of the .doc(x) and .pdf last updated versions of your CV, you don’t know when you will be in a need for them. And also, you don’t know your computer date of death. (Generally, backup all your important documents on the cloud. You can use dropbox.com)

Guidelines about the CV formatting and look:

  1. Be consistent!
    1. Use the same font families and font sizes relative to the level.
    2. Use taps to modify the text spacing. Don’t use spaces.
    3. Use tables with hidden borders to arrange the text.
  2. Recommended font sizes
    1. CV Title/Name: bolded 24 ± 1
    2. Sections titles: bolded 14 ± 1
    3. Titles: bolded 12 ± 1
    4. Bodies: 12 ± 0.5
  3. Recommended font families
    1. Times New Roman, Calibri or Cambria. (you can mix between them)
  4. Colors
    1. Default color should be the Black
    2. Titles maybe in Gray or dark Blue
  5. Highlight important phrases and keywords
    1. Use Bolding to highlight important phrases and sentences to attract recruiter attention.
      (Know when to use bolded phrases)
    2. Use Italic to highlight important keywords also.
      (Know when to use Italic phrases)
  6. Hyperlinks
    1. Use hyperlinks to link the reader for more detailed definitions about some terms that maybe not common to most of people.

Main sections that you should include in your CV:

  1. Your CV name should be professional one as the one written in your passport. Use the first and last names. (Amr Abdurrahman)
  2. Basic information to be included:
    1. Your business Email: should be a professional Email, doesn’t look like abu.muslim.amr@gmail.com. This one looks much better amr.abdurrahman@gmail.com
    2. Your cell phone number.
    3. Address
    4. LinkedIn profile.
    5. Date Of Birth
    6. Languages with your level (Good, very good, Fluent, Mother tongue)
    7. Military status for graduates
    8. Technical blog reference
    9. Don’t include a personal photo unless you’ve been asked to do.Here’s an important note, for me, I see including all this information in the header of the CV makes it crowd. I like separating this information into two sections, one of them in the header and the other one come later in Personnel Information section. I see including only address, phone number and email in the header is very good.
  3. Objective: Objective section shows what your life and career objective is. You can also mention the reasons for applying your CV to some specific company.
    Guide: Don’t copy/paste (steal) an objective from your friends’ CVs; make your own one that describes “your own objective”.
    Guide: Never begin with “Seeking bla bla bla …”, simply it’s “mahrosa”
  4. Education: include mainly two subsections in the Education
    1. Current education / Faculty
      1. University, Faculty, Current year and Total grade. (Can also include Graduation Project grade
    2. High school
      1. School name, major and total grade.
  5. Technical Skills: I prefer categorizing the technical skills into three sections
    1. Languages
    2. Concepts
    3. Database (Can be included in the Concepts section)
      You can also categorize each section based on your level of knowledge (Excellent knowledge, Good knowledge or even Fair knowledge)
  6. Projects: List your projects, from the most attractive one to the least, including
    1. Project name
    2. Used languages and Tools
    3. Brief description
    4. Team or Individual
  7. Extra Activities: Mention if you were a member in any of student activities or charity activities.
  8. Soft Skills: List four or five of your soft skills. Think a lot about yourself, know what makes you different. Don’t steal others : )
  9. You may include a section for your Certifications and Achievements.
  10. Hobbies: List three or four of your hobbies!
    Guide: Try to mention the hobbies that show how you get use of your free time.
    (For more clarity, try to feel the difference between Playing PlayStation and Running)
  11. References: This is an extra section that can be removed. You’re not supposed to give references. But if you want, only add one or maximum two references.
    1. Mention the reference Name, Job Title and Contact Number or Email.
    2. Inform the referenced person and let him/her know that he/she may receive a call anytime to be asked about you.

Here’re some good CV examples:

Good related articles:

If you have any notes, tips or suggestions, please mention them and share your knowledge with us in the comments.

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9 thoughts on “Tips For Writing an Attractive CV

  1. you know its subjective , US companies like summarized resumes keep it one page or two in their perspective is the best not to talk about your self and your Objective they don’t even care if you mentioned your soft skills or you hobbies special technical companies like Microsoft, Google, Facebook ..etc, unlike European companies they might care about this things, but mainly as you said in the best cases your CV will take 12 to 15 second to decide if he is gonna move foreword with you or not .

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