How to write a CV

Here are the basic principles of drawing up a CV.

The content

Personal details — this section should contain basic personal data, such as your name, surname, address of residence, telephone numbers (allowing you to be contacted, including during the day), e-mail.

Education — specify not only the name of the school or university, faculty, your field of study and major, but also the dates of commencement and completion of individual schools. Inverse chronology applies here, i.e. the school you graduated from the most recently should be listed first. In the case of graduates, it is also good to mention the topic of the MA thesis and the main courses.

Professional experience — as in the case of education, provide information on your professional experience in reverse chronological order. Make sure to include: the exact starting and ending date of employment (month and year), full name of the company (you can also indicate the industry) and positions held (in what periods — month and year). For each position, specify the scope of duties performed in a few sentences. If you have particular achievements and successes, make sure to mention them. If you have not worked so far, list your internships and apprenticeships here.

Courses, trainings and certificates — focus on trainings related to the job you are applying for. Provide the dates, duration of the course, topics and the organiser. For certificates — provide their full names.

Foreign language skills — list the foreign languages you know and indicate the level of your language skills. If your knowledge of the language is certified, it is recommended to mention the examination and the year in which it took place. Make sure to correctly determine the level of knowledge of the given language. Do not overestimate your skills as they will be verified during the interview.

Computer skills — list the names of known computer systems and software and specify your knowledge level.

Driving licence — provide the year of issuance of the document and its category. If this is relevant to the job you are applying for, you can indicate the number of kilometres travelled so far or boast about the fact that you have not had any accidents.

Hobbies and interests — this point is not mandatory; however, it is good to include it in the CV, especially if your interests are related to your professional work or your hobby is particularly interesting or original.

References — in your CV, you can provide the names and telephone numbers of the persons who will provide references for you. You can also simply state that you will present references upon request.

Clause of consent to the processing of personal data — a CV without such a clause cannot be accepted, viewed or stored by anyone.

You can also include a brief summary of your professional profile and preferences in the CV, especially if you are not responding to a specific job advertisement and your CV does not clearly indicate the type of job you are interested in.

The form

The curriculum vitae should be written on the computer. Check the grammatical and spelling correctness of the text. Remove all typos. Take a critical look at the print-out.

The CV should be brief and the information provided in it should be written in a concise manner. All information contained in the CV must be true — do not embellish or misrepresent the facts. All information will be verified anyway, sooner or later.

Graphically, the text should be clear and the information provided should be easy to find. Preferably, the text should be divided into sections separated from each other, with clearly marked headings.

Using a table (without the grid line visible on the printout) makes this tasks much easier. The text length should not exceed 3 A4 pages. The font size should be between 10 and 12 (less than 10 can make the information difficult to read). The preferred font is Times New Roman or e.g. Arial Narrow. Avoid embellishments of any kind. Do not refer to yourself in third person. Do not attach copies of certificates or similar documents to the CV — you will provide them upon request.

A photograph is an optional element. Some employers want it to be included in the CV. In that case, it must be placed in the CV. However, if this is not a requirement set out in the advertisement, it is not an indispensable element. Nevertheless, it is recommended to include a good professional photograph.

What a professional photograph in the CV should look like:

  • It should present your face (en face), alternatively with a part of the silhouette,
  • The background of the photo should be in a light, neutral colour,
  • The photo must be of high quality,
  • Your facial expression in the photo should be serene,
  • The photo should be up-to-date,
  • The photo must not depart greatly from reality,
  • Your attire should be professional and business-like.

What should be avoided:

  • including private photographs of any kind,
  • a bleak facial expression,
  • scanning photographs from ID cards or diplomas,
  • photographs from a many years ago.
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