How to build up a CV for rookies

When you start preparing your CV keep in mind that recruiters receive dozens of CVs every day, therefore they use not more than 2- 3 minutes (or even less) to screen each CV. Then they focus on the profiles that seem to fit the job and the company requirements. Hence, it is important to build a CV that draws attention at once.

Even though you might have had many experiences, your CV should not exceed 2 pages (1 page if you are applying for a part-time non academic job). Therefore, you should be able to be selective and choose the most relevant experiences. This means that if you are applying for an academic fulltime employment, you can summarize your many experiences as a cashier in different supermarkets or as a waiter in different bars and restaurants. If the recruiter wants more detail, he will ask for it.

Here are some general rules to follow when building up your CV:

1. Even though many candidates disregard this, your CV needs a title. I have seen titles such as Kristin’s CV, but in my opinion a simple “Curriculum Vitae” (that is what CV stands for) on the top of the page would suffice.

2. Always include your contact information on the top left side.

An example to follow is:

Name (Middle name) Family name


E-mail address

Mobile number

If you have an online resume / LinkedIn account, include the links here as well.

3. Add a passport size photo of yourself on the top right corner of the resume, just opposite to the contact information (point 2). Some people are afraid of discriminations if they add their photo, but unlike countries like the UK, in Norway it is important to have a picture on the CV. Many recruiters would not even consider a CV without a picture. The picture should be serious but not too serious, thus dodge the suit and go for a nice shirt – we are in Norway after all. Your style should be appropriate (keep it simple). I would also avoid showing the whole body in the picture. Just make a cut from the waist level. Last but not least, it is important to garnish your face with a nice and professional smile ï Š.

4. What follows then is a list of your personal information, including gender, nationality, date of birth and civil status. While you can leave nationality out if you are afraid of discrimination, you need to include your birthday. The recruiter needs to know how old you are!

5. After the general information, I like adding a list of traits and skills. While this is not at all a requirement, it makes the job easier to the recruiter who has not much time to read your CV and look for clues. Just be aware to add actual traits and skills, as you could be asked about them during the interviewing process.

6. What follows next is your job experience and your education, divided into two separate sections. Some say that job experience should precede education. In my opinion, you should start with what is most relevant for the position you are applying. Do not forget to add the start and finish (month / year) for every education and job experience. It is vital to be accurate. Furthermore, do not forget to write a short description of your job and education, as well as your achievements.

7. The next point is about your voluntary positions. Having done some voluntary work, such as being class representative or volunteering at a homeless center gives a good impression about you to the recruiter, but that will not give you the job. If you have not had a voluntary position, do not panic. If you are relevant for the job, you will not be disregarded because of this.

8. Since nowadays job candidates have different IT knowledge, master different languages, and have various interesting hobbies, just gather all the “left-over” information under the title “Miscellaneous”. If you had a year off travelling the world, add it here.

9. At the very end write:

References are provided upon request

Your name and signature (if possible)

After all, you do not want your recruiter to call your references before you can let them know.

Bottom line, use your best judgment to figure out what to include in your CV and what to leave out, and remember that less can be more.

Write by phanmemgoc

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