How to Draw Up a CV

The first step when drawing up your CV is to make sure you see both the wood and the trees, the detail and the big picture. This is probably the most difficult thing about putting a CV together. All of us have had experiences, all of us have lived lives. The hard part is to give an overall impression and at the same time to pick out the important bits that might get us that vital interview.

For many people the effort and discipline needed to pick out the key points makes them put their CV to the very bottom of their list of priorities. The best way to counter this is to have a more structured approach to take the pain out of it. The first step is to come up with the answers to some very simple questions. Try these for starters:

  • What three things you have done are you most proud of?
  • What three things are you good at?
  • What three things are you not so good at?
  • What are three personal and professional landmarks in your life?

When you have written the answers to these big questions, think about other things that are important to you, like:

  • What kind of job do you really want?
  • What kind of things wouldn’t you do (for instance, relocate)?
  • What kind of work environment do you like best?
  • Are you the kind of person who likes responsibility?
  • Where and why were you most productive over the last five or ten years?
  • If you are meeting a total stranger, how would you describe yourself to them?

You can go on and make other questions up. The aim of this is to start unblocking your thinking and start seeing yourself in a positive way. It should also help you to start sifting through what is important to you and some of your achievements. Unfortunately, a lot of people find answering some of these questions extremely hard.

Be realistic

If s a characteristic of many people that they hate boasting. They’re much happier telling other people what they are bad at than what they feel they are really good at.

Go away and boast

A consultant running a seminar on stress management told the twenty participants to go off in pairs and to tell each other what they did better than most (or all) other people. They had to honestly believe their claims and be able to demonstrate their validity through some sort of evidence.

After five minutes, six of the pairs came back. They said they simply couldn’t do it. It was embarrassing and wrong to say good things about themselves. However, as the consultant pointed out, if the individuals didn’t explain their strengths to other people, who else would? Who else knew more about them than they did themselves?

In other words, being honest about yourself is not the same as being boastful. If a succession of bosses and people reporting to you have told you you’re a brilliant communicator, why not share this with the world?.. Suitably phrased, of course.

The best cv samples have only the most crucial and relevant details selected. By asking yourself some straightforward questions like these, and giving honest answers, you can:

  • Start the process of sifting out what is likely to be important
  • Clarify the kind of things you are likely to want on your CV
  • Get down on paper some ideas about yourself.

In many ways this should have helped you break the ice and start the process of more structurally putting a CV together.

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