While writing a Curriculum Vitae, we usually try to describe how cool we are, adding a lot of soft skills and working experiences, which do not always seem to be relevant for a position we are applying for but make our CV longer. According to recent studies, a CV has only six seconds to make an impression before a Human Resources Responsible makes the initial “fit/no fit” decision. This means that prioritising information is essential.
1. You personally care about the job you are applying for. (Relevant information in CV)
2. You have the qualifications to do the job. (Your degree and certificates)
3. You are knowledgeable in the respective field. (Working experiences)
4. You are a proactive quick learner with strong analytical skills and a good team player with international experience. (AEGEE!)
Furthermore, as long as you are not applying for a high-level position, your CV should never be longer than one page. Thus, the positioning and style of the information displayed is crucial. Use cursive and bold fonts to highlight information, reduce the space between lines to get more lines. Make use of the header and footnote to display additional personal information, like email address and phone number.
The most important thing for the first impression is a fitting picture! The choice of the atmosphere created by the picture and the layout, in general, depends on the position you apply for. In case you are not sure, it is preferable to stay rather conservative, choosing a business outfit for the picture and a discreet layout with just one or two colours.
Let’s take a brief overview of a classic chronological Curriculum Vitae.
Start with contact information and personal data: first name, surname, date (and place) of birth, nationality, address.
While writing about working experience, start from your more recent jobs. Achievements and responsibilities are listed for each role and emphasis should be put on more recent positions:
e.g. 07/2015 – Present Consultant (Top 10% – Fast Track Promotion), Detecon
AG – Deutsche Telekom, IT Strategy & Architecture
Mentioning your education, include the names of all institutions with respective grades and dates attended in reverse order.
e.g. 02/2012 – 04/2013 M.Sc. International Business, University of Lisbon
Major: Strategy & Innovation (GPA: 7,5)
Writing about languages, you would better avoid A2 or C1 since not everyone understands what level it is.
German Mother Tongue
English Fluently spoken and written
Italian Understanding of Written and Spoken language
Spanish Advanced Beginner
Do not forget to list your skills and certifications: trainings, scholarships, computer skills, publications, awards and honours, fellowships, professional licenses and certifications relevant to a role.
e.g. 09/2007 – 08/2008 Volunteer, Tabor Youth Development Center Philadelphia
Taught students from various cultural and critical social backgrounds.
Supervised staff and student groups.
What about AEGEE?
Last year, at Regional Training Course Develop yourself 2 that took place in Dresden, Gerardo García Díaz from AEGEE-Oviedo and the Public Relation Committee gave a wonderful presentation about getting a job thanks to AEGEE. Let’s learn how to present your AEGEE experience in a CV and make it appealing to your bosses!
First of all, let’s do a quick review about AEGEE:
AEGEE is one of Europe’s biggest interdisciplinary, non-governmental, politically independent and non-profit students’ organisations. It has almost 13000 members at 200 cities in 40 countries all over Europe and it has been working for European integration and cultural exchange among youngsters for more than 30 years. The Erasmus Project exists thanks to AEGEE’s advocacy for it and the Summer University Project is the biggest independent short-term mobility programme in Europe.
An average AEGEEan speaks three languages and has received 50 hours of training on soft skills; has worked with more than 11 nationalities; has led an international team; is extroverted, proactive, self-sufficient and full of initiative.
We cannot make a bad impression to the HR person, huh?
While writing about AEGEE, do not use the abbreviation AEGEE nor the full French name. AEGEE/European Students’ Forum sounds more understandable and appealing since it means that you might possess soft skills like:
– Teamwork & communication skills
– Flexibility & improvisation skills
– Problem solving & ability for interpersonal relations
– Project management
– Public speaking/performing
– Leadership skills and team management
– Good knowledge of social networks
Use keywords such as civil society organisation, leadership, team player, project management, team management, developing and executing strategies, project officer, coordinating efforts,co-founding initiative, etc.
Do not hesitate to state your position in AEGEE in a professional way and to add the competencies or skills you earned, but never lie. Always underline your acquired skills with your experience in AEGEE (the events you organised, for example). Your statement will be valued more if you can bring evidence of your work in AEGEE. Do not write that you organised a Local Training Course, say that you have event management experience and you managed a weekend-long training event for 30 students. Did you give a hand during the SU? Mention that you collaborated in the organisation of an international event intended to make a group of youngsters from all over Europe discover a city and its culture.
Instead of writing that you have been “doing this and that project”, focus on more general skills you gained – have you been a team leader or have you solved some conflicts? This is what your employer wants to know!
You can read more about what employers are looking for by reading the results booklet of GREAT Project – Guidelines for Recognition European Advanced Tool.
Do not forget that your CV has only six seconds to impress, therefore you might like creating your professional CV in a non-traditional way:
– Europass (create your Europass CV online and find CV examples for all European countries)
– Pathbrite (Interactive portfolio)
– Vizualize (infographic resume)
Written by Aliona Sytnyk, AEGEE-Berlin