Guide for how to list certifications on CVs + examples and tips. Lists of easy certifications and job-critical certifications + how to put them on CVs.
CV studies say recruiters only spend 7 seconds looking at your CV.
In other words—
A couple of seconds of someone’s time may decide about your entire professional life.
That’s why your CV must be perfect.
The question is:
How to make one? And is it possible at all?
In this guide, you’ll learn:
- Why the perfect CV doesn’t really exist.
- How to format your CV to make the most of it.
- What sections a great CV should have, and how to write each.
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Cut to the chase—
There’s no such thing as the perfect CV suitable for each and every occasion.
And the reason why is pretty obvious:
Each job and employer has a different set of requirements and expectations. You may be a perfect fit for a particular type of position but not for every employer, and vice versa.
That’s why your CV may turn out to be a perfect CV for one job offer, but not for the other.
The only way to make sure your application is perfect for a particular position is to tailor your CV to the job description.
Each time you reply to a job offer.
Even though the perfect CV doesn’t really exist, you can still make a perfect CV if you target it at a specific opening.
The following sections will show you how to do it right.
1. Choose the Best Format for Your Ideal CV
There are three most popular CV styles:
Since we have a dedicated guide that tells you exactly how to choose the ideal CV format, let’s focus on the basics.
- The chronological CV format focuses on your experience and achievements
- The functional CV format highlights your skills.
- The combination CV gives attention to both your skills and experience.
In the vast majority of cases, the chronological CV will be closest to the ideal CV format.
It’s very easy to scan, which is extremely important because recruiters will only spend about 7 seconds skimming your CV.
It puts your experience in the limelight, which is exactly what counts most for over 62% of recruiters when making hiring decisions.
And last but not least—
It’s sure to pass every ATS scan. And you should know that over 98% of Fortune 500 companies use the ATS to initially assess the candidates’ CVs.
But this is not everything:
To make sure your CV is easy on the recruiter’s eyes and friendly for machines, follow these formatting rules:
- Set your margins to 1 inch on each side.
- Choose the ideal fonts for your CV and make sure they stay within 10–14pt range.
- Don’t cram your CV with everything you’ve ever done. Be selective and make good use of white space.
- It would be great if you didn’t exceed a single page but if you have a lot of experience 2 pages are fine as well. In fact, our guide on ideal CV length has all the answers.
Expert Hint: Save your CV in PDF unless the job ad asks specifically for a DOC file format. PDF files work on every system and device.
2. Write a Perfect CV Profile
The CV profile is a short paragraph that tops your CV and gives the reader a brief look into your professional life.
Your CV profile may take the form of a:
- CV summary—which focuses on your previous experience and achievements
- CV objective—which focuses on the skills you’ve learned
Expert Hint: Write your CV summary or objective once you finish writing all the other sections. This way, it will be much easier to cherry-pick your best achievements.
3. Prepare an Excellent CV Experience Section
Your experience is what gets you the job.
So treat this CV section with the care and attention it calls for.
Here’s how to get everything right:
- Always tailor your CV experience section to the job offer
- Show off the achievements that prove your impact
Every CV guide we write shows you specifically how to tailor your CV to the requirements of a particular occupation.
Three pieces of advice. One: Keep it short. Read your CV 12 times and cut out at least 10 words after every reading—you’ll find more than 10 if you look closely! Two: Be specific. For example, Supervised team of 12 auditors or Led £10M CRM implementation project, which was completed 30 days ahead of schedule and 12% under budget. Three: When sending your CV to a US employer, write in the 1st person but don’t use pronouns.
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4. Make a Perfect CV Education Section
The education section on your CV is just as important as any other.
A perfect CV will only be perfect if all its parts are nothing short of extraordinary.
Our guide on how to put education on a CV will show you exactly how to make the most of whatever level of education you’ve completed.
5. Let Your Ideal CV Show Off Your Exceptional Skills
Writing a great CV requires skills and patience.
And although we can’t teach you patience, we can show you how to put your skills on a CV to good use:
- First, make a master list of all your skills.
- Then, go back to the job offer and tick off the skills your list and the job posting have in common.
- These are exactly the skills you need to highlight on your CV.
How to do this specifically?
Our guide on how to put skills on a CV will show you, along with some great examples and lists you can use on your CV.
And if you want to be 100% sure you’ve done everything right, read our article on the best CV tips and tricks.
Ensure that your CV matches up with your experience, education and qualification information that might be found on your online profiles. If a hiring manager spots any inconsistencies between the two, it may imply that you have something to hide. It can also suggest that you haven’t put the care and attention in that’s expected when applying for a role and that you’re unaware of how to manage your personal online brand effectively.
6. Add Extra Value by Adding Extra Sections
Making a perfect CV would be incomplete without including extra information.
And one more thing—
There’s still something you can do to make your CV truly awesome.
Learn how to write a perfect cover letter that shows you’re the one who’ll get the job done better than any other candidate.
Double your impact with a matching CV and cover letter combo. Use our cover letter builder and make your application documents pop out.
Want to try a different look? There’s 18 more. A single click will give your document a total makeover. Pick a cover letter template here.
Here’s all you need to know about making a perfect CV:
- The perfect CV doesn’t exist. But you can make a perfect one.
- A perfect CV should be tailored to a particular job offer.
- Start with formatting your CV so it’s reader and ATS-friendly.
- Make sure your CV has all the required sections.
- Add several extra CV sections to boost your chances.
- Write a stellar cover letter to stand out from the crowd.
Do you have any more questions about writing a perfect CV? Would you like to share your advice on how to write one? We’d love to hear from you! Give us a shout out in the comments below.