JMI suggestions for creating your CV

Based on a recruiter’s professional experience, you will find below some advice on preparing your CV in an applicable way.


What is a relevant CV? Well, you can certainly find many suggestions for that. Here is one that has proven its worth – both for those writing it, but even more so for those reading it.


Cover letter, Design and content of your CV


  • Cover letter
  • Design
  • Content
  • Layout
  • Honorary jobs
  • Personal qualifications
  • Free time activities
  • Tips

Cover letter

I would like to stress that it is a cover letter and it should not “outshine” your CV.


To me, a cover letter contains a brief motivation for sending the application. At the same time, the cover letter should also contain your address, your email address and your telephone number.



Your CV should always be straight forward and accessible. It needs to be structured, concise and easy to read; I recommend a font size 11.


Allow ample space for margins and paragraphs thus allowing the reader to glance through your CV for main points. Remember the reader of your CV will most likely be going through many of other CVs. Therefore, the easier you make their task, the better; and probably you will get a plus in their book.


Regarding underlining, bolding, italics - use it with logic and forethought. It should be supportive in reading and not confusing.


Photo or no photo? We live in a visual world; so many pro­spective employers will probably find it advantageous if you include a photo. However, do avoid holiday photos. Professional headshots are preferred.



My best advice as regards starting your CV is to set off with brainstorming and writing freely. Write what comes to mind. It does not matter if it is something you have worked with recently or years ago. What is important is that you find the joy of recounting your experiences and abilities. Once you get started, you will find that it will begin to flow. You are creating your own “bank” of knowledge and experience, which you then can structure according to the position you will apply for.


When I say ”brainstorm and write freely”, this includes your marital status, your education, courses you have taken (or taught), your language skills, your IT skills and your career path. Other relevant areas to include could be articles published, honorary jobs and volunteer work, if any. 




The basis

Start with the basics, i.e. your sex, age, marital status, children, if any, (including their age), your address and contact information: Home phone number, cell phone number (possibly including the best time to reach you) and your e-mail address.



Here you write your formal education, i.e. educations that you have completed and received a degree in.


Education you have commenced but not completed shall briefly be explained for or left out and mentioned/explained during an interview.



You have probably completed one or more courses. When you add them to your CV, please make sure to include the date(s) and the duration of the course(s).


Language skills

Language skills are often important, as many companies and public institutions interact with the world around us. Thus, it is important to note both your spoken and written language skills.


IT skills

IT skills should always be included, be it knowledge of simple programs such as Word and Excel, be it CAD/CAM or be it in-depth programming skills.



An account of your career is important, but make sure that you do not write too detailed and too extensively.


Whether you want to begin or end with your current position is up to you. Professionals are divided on this issue. Most people do tend to lead with their current position and work their way backwards.


As a professional recruiter, I view a person’s career as an extension of their basis. Thus, I appreciate previous positions and experiences as stepping-stones on your career path.



Make sure to include all your past positions and employers, including the duration of your employment(s). 


When you cite the different companies and/or institutions you have been employed by it is far from everyone who knows about them. It may be a good idea to use a small font (e.g. a font 9) to describe your employer, including their area of business, number of employees, their turnover and other relevant information - just 2-3 lines.


Next, describe your job and your area of responsibility. Describe your tasks and how you have handled and solved them. Please be clear and concrete.


Include and describe your results. This is an important area, which many people omit. When I inquire applicants about this, they often mention that they find it difficult and that they end up saying that they have “been part of” a given task or activity. This is of course a possibility, but make sure to mention the result(s) of and your contribution(s) to a task or an activity you have been a part of.



Once you have completed a description of yourself and your career, you need to adjust your CV and your application according to the position in question and the recipient of your application. Take a close look at what the job and the potential employer requires. Now adapt your CV so that the recipient feels that the content of your application (your description of yourself and your career) is relevant to the job opening or to the meeting invitation.


Honorary jobs

A description of various honorary jobs you have held should be included; if relevant to the position you are applying for.


Personal qualifications

Personal qualifications are subjective because who is considering them; who or what are they being compared to. Use caution when you describe yourself and/or when you refer to e.g. former test results, etc.


Free time activities

These do not need to be included in your CV. I often find this topic to be a good closing subject at the end of a meeting.



When you write your CV and you aim it at a specific job opening, make sure that you use words and/or terms from the job advertisement without copying it word-for-word.


If you in your career have had quite a few job changes within a fairly short period of time, it is always a good idea to briefly explain why.


If you, because of confidentiality, cannot divulge things such as development in turnover, earnings, etc., it is a good idea to use percentages.


Before submitting your CV and application, have a relevant friend or acquaintance read it. If they have logical and valid comments you may want to adjust your CV and application accordingly. However, do remember that there are many ways to build a CV and an application, so do not make changes just because other people have various irrelevant ideas and opinions.


Happy job hunting


Jens Müller