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Fresh grad? Tips for the perfect CV

April 19, 2010 13:41 IST

It's that time of the year again when young grads get set to enter the corporate work force. The most pressing question for freshers at this stage is: how should I write my CV so as to gain maximum attention from recruiters?

The most important thing to understand at this stage is that your CV is the first document to represent you in the corporate world. So, give it your full attention and write it to present the best aspects of your academic career and personality.

Here are some tips that I have learnt from my experiences and believe will be useful for you as you start writing your CV. The tips I am mentioning here are not unusual but important. Writing a CV is a very easy job and doesn't need any special skills. So to make sure your Cv is the best that it can be, here are some tips to bear in mind.

No 'CV' or 'Resume' at the top
This is absolutely unessential. A recruiter knows that the document s/he is reading is a CV, and does not need to be informed of the same. Moreover, it occupies prime real estate on your CV, space that you could have used in a better way.

Use formal fonts
Avoid using flashy fonts and paper. Your CV is a formal document. Chose a formal and legible font like Verdana, Arial, Times New Roman or Calibri.
 
Do not use 'I', My, 'He', She'
When you write your CV, recruiters know that you are talking about yourself so avoid using these words to address yourself.

Write an appealing career summary
Begin with an appealing career summary just below your contact details. Your CV should be able to attract the attention of recruiters as they see the first screen of their monitor.

Avoid spelling mistakes and grammatical errors
Spelling and grammatical mistakes in your CV convey a lazy and "I don't care" attitude to recruiters. At times they may even put you in an embarrassing situation. So, proofread your CV well before you send it to a prospective employer. Also, make sure to use the same tense throughout your CV to make it read well.

Leave out unnecessary details
Any details that do not help a recruiter recruit you are unnecessary details. These include sex, passport number, father's name, mother's name, etc.

Highlight your unique skills
When a batch graduates from college, all the students have the same skills academically. So, it will be difficult for you to place yourself differently in the market. The key to handle this lies in your extracurricular activities, awards, hobbies, languages you know, academic and non academic interests. Give ample space and attention to non-academic interests and skills. List out all the leadership activities you undertook as a student, awards you won, sports you played, etc. They demonstrate a facet of your personality that attracts recruiters.

Contact details
Provide your contact details at an obvious place (preferably at the beginning of the CV) as recruiters will want to contact you if they shortlist your CV. If they are not able to find your contact details, they might move on to the next CV. These contact details should be of a place where recruiters can talk to you and not your father, mother or friend.

Use a formal e-mail address
Many students create 'funky' e-mail addresses in college but remember that your CV is a formal document. So make sure that you send your CV from a formal e-mail address which is preferably an amalgamation of your first name and last name.

Expected CTC
This is a controversial point as some people feel that mentioning an expected CTC helps the recruiter decide whether or not to call you for an interview. My advice in this case to the freshers is not to mention expected CTC in your CV unless you are specifically asked for it. Let the recruiter see you first and form an opinion. This gives you a chance for negotiation as well.

References
Provide references when you are asked for them. Do not include them in the CV.

So, read your CV again and see if you have made any of these mistakes. Prune them out to reach your final CV. Also remember that these tips are just principles and not carved in stone. If you have ideas that  you think will better your chances want to do something other than what we have suggested knowingly, we advice you to do it. 

Kshipra Singh is a contributor to www.CareerRide.com, a website that provides you questions and answers to deal with an IT and personal interview.

Kshipra Singh