how to prepare a CV

Learn how to prepare a CV with ifeel’s 6 key tips

This is one of the questions that tortures active job seekers: how to prepare a CV? In this post, we will try to answer this key question when looking for a job or when we want to apply for a job offer and we have to make a good first impression in the process.

Sometimes a job change can come to us unexpectedly or without us having tried too hard to find it. It may also come to us with a great effort but not through the conventional channels of labor insertion. We are talking, for example, about those occasions when we are offered a promotion within the company where we are already working or we are offered a position in another company without us asking for it or looking for it. Also when we undertake our own project independently, which is costly but does not usually involve (at least not in a decisive way) any of the things we are going to talk about in this article: how to prepare a CV.

how to prepare a CV

How to prepare a CV

When we look for a job -either because we don’t have one and we need it, or because we have one and we want to change it for another- we usually follow the conventional channels of what is called in the jargon “active job search“. This is a complex process influenced by many factors, many of which are beyond our control. Despite this complexity, in any active job search, there are always three moments that should be taken care of: learning how to prepare a CV, applying for a job offer, and attending a job interview. Let’s start with the first of these.

The CV is more like an outline than an autobiographical dossier. There are plenty of texts and tutorials on the Internet on how to prepare a CV that stands out. As you may not have enough time to soak up all that content but enough time to read this article, we will summarize what you need to know to maximize the likelihood that your CV will be successful and minimize the likelihood that it will not.

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1. Keep an eye on the length

When the question “How to prepare a CV?” comes to your mind, remember that a CV is not an autobiography, but a summary of your professional experience. Therefore, when in doubt, if your CV is more than two sides, it is badly done. Of course, there are professional fields and specific positions where the length of the CV is a value in itself, but these are exceptions. Practically no one is so important that a recruiter (the person who is going to give you the job) should spend more than a few seconds or minutes on an initial reading of your CV. Make it easy for them.

2. Watch the format

Remember that we have described the CV as a “summary” of your professional experience? Well, rather than as a summary, you should think of it as an outline that gathers in a truthful, quick and understandable way the most important aspects not so much of your professional life (especially if it is very long) but of those aspects of your professional life that you want each specific recruiter to know.

Therefore, when learning how to prepare a CV remember it is like a neat and tidy set of notes that describe you rather than an essay. Of course, no spelling mistakes and put the most useful or important information at the beginning: don’t assume that the recruiter will read it until the end.

3. Tailored to the offer

Along with excessive length and illegible formatting, sending a CV to an offer without having adapted it to that particular offer is the third classic mistake in any application. In other words, the classic wrong answer to the question “How to prepare a CV”. To avoid this, read the offer carefully, think about what you have in your CV that makes you suitable for that particular offer, and eliminate all the unnecessary details. This way, you will make it easier for the recruiter to read and highlight your skills for the specific position, instead of getting them lost in a jungle of data.

Common mistakes when preparing your CV

1. Mistaking a CV for a cover letter

This leads you to profusely describe each of the positions you have held and makes your CV unnecessarily bulky. You force the recruiter to read information that they don’t need at that moment and you scatter their attention. A CV is a CV and a cover letter is a cover letter. They have different functions and should not be confused. Moreover, just as the more we talk the more likely we are to mess up, the more we write the more likely we are to make spelling mistakes or show the recruiter that we don’t write well… and we don’t want that, do we?

how to prepare a CV

2. Not adapting the CV to the offer

There is a common belief that we must impress the recruiter with our immense experience in all fields. A CV is not a cover letter but neither is it a detailed dossier of all our experience and training. There are moments in the job search process to dazzle with our academic and professional biography in detail, but the CV is not one of them.

The recruiter doesn’t need to know about the forty-five courses and workshops you’ve taken on various subjects, nor are they usually interested in knowing about all the jobs you’ve had that have nothing to do with the one they’re offering you. Eliminate all that junk from your CV and save it for the cover letter or job interview.

The most common mistakes when learning how to prepare a CV: too long, inaccurate, and with mistakes.

3. Not reviewing the CV before submitting it

Think that even the people who express themselves best make some spelling mistakes, some grammatical errors, or typos. If that happens to people who write well, what doesn’t happen to the rest of us? Review the CV, make sure it is well presented, without errors, with bold and italics used consistently, with all the necessary dates and points well placed.

If necessary, show it to a friend (someone who writes well) to review it for you and make some good suggestions. Not reviewing the CV before sending it is one of the most serious, common and easily avoidable mistakes that can happen during an active job search process.

Emotional well-being for companies

At ifeel, we understand that it is not possible to take care of the company without taking care of the psychological well-being of its employees. To do so, we have an emotional well-being program for companies, designed by our team of occupational well-being psychologists with one main objective: to help companies place employee health at the center of their strategy to build their mission statement.  

Thanks to this partnership, the people in charge of HR departments can receive personalized, data-driven advice on how to make good decisions in a company to get the most out of the teams they are in charge of and take better care of the psychological well-being of the people in them. 

Moreover, this program offers employees a holistic mental health care service structured at different levels according to their needs. This service includes, if required, online psychological therapy with a psychologist specialized in cases like theirs. Try our program today so you can see how it could help you.

We hope you have found this post about how to prepare a CV useful. If you want more information about our emotional well-being program for companies, simply request it and we will contact your team as soon as possible.

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