Writing Your Curriculum Vitae

You just graduated and earned your degree. You’re proud of it, but another challenge arises: you need to start applying for a job. Perhaps you’re a senior student who wishes to enrich your experience by applying for a part-time job. You probably just want to have an internship in order to enhance your skills as well as put your academic knowledge into practice. First things first, you need to make your CV.

What is a curriculum vitae (CV)?
A CV is a written summary of someone’s life work (academic formation, publications, qualifications, etc.). People write their CVs when they want to apply for a job, scholarship, grants, etc.

What types of CV are there?
There are two main types of CV, and five other kinds. Depending on the purpose of the CV, and what the employers ask, you should not write one CV for all.

The two main types of CV:

1. Chronological CV
This is the most common type of CV. This CV emphasizes your education and working experiences in reverse chronological order. In other words, you should write your experience from the latest to the oldest. You shouls also give a brief personal statement at the front of your chronological CV which points out your key skills and strengths.

Advantages

  • useful for those applying within the same industry as it will demonstrate your career progression
  • favourite format for most employers, who simply want to easily identify the roles and responsibilities in each job

Disadvantages

  • a chronological CV will make gaps in your employment which you would rather not highlight more obvious
  • may not be so relevant when you are changing career direction

2. The Functional CV
Different from a chronological CV, a functional CV puts the emphasis on your skills and expertise rather than the chronology of your employment to date. A functional CV usually begins with a personal profile highlighting the achievements, skills and personal qualities that you have; followed by a succession of sections, each relating to a different skill or ability. These should be ordered in decreasing order of importance. You should describe your experience in its entirety instead of focusing on any particular job. Because you are not detailing any specific role, you can include any skills or experience gained in voluntary or unpaid work.

Advantages

  • beneficial for pointing out your skills and experience if you’re changing your job or if you have several career gaps
  • a functional CV helps the recruiter focus on your transferable skills when you’re changing industry

Disadvantages

  • you may struggle to highlight achievements in a separate section when you do not have much work experience
  • many employers do not favour this type of CV because they want to see what you have done and might make them doubt whether you’re trying to hide something

Other types of CV:
a. Hybrid CV
This is the combination between chronological and functional CV. It maintains the more conventional order of chronological but combines an ordered layout with more emphasis on achievements and skills found in the skills-based, rather than on responsibilities. The hybrid CV can be a good option if you want to draw attention to specific skills or achievements that would help you stand out.

b. Technical CV
Technical CV is mostly used by those applying IT post. This type of CV provides a format for highlighting specific technical skills relevant to the position (programming languages, systems, platforms) with all-important ‘softer skills’ that employers are looking for.

c. Creative Industries CV
This kind of CV is the most suitable if you want to apply to creative and artistic sectors. If you want to work in marketing, design or journalism, this highly creative CV format is best to use. You can demonstrate your design skills and creativity in a way that a potential employer can see and feel. Infographics are a popular tool for taking large amounts of information and presenting them in a visually engaging way.

d. Video CV
As the name shows, this type of CV is in video format. Video CV is becoming increasingly popular with jobseekers wanting to stand out from the crowd. Rather than replacing traditional paper CVs, video enhances job applications by providing employers with more insight into what an individual has to offer. In video CV, make sure the duration does not exceed two minutes as the recruiter will get tired of watching the video. Therefore, ensure to include everthing important in your two minute video.

e. Academic CV
Academic CV is written if you want to apply for a post in academia or scholarship. It’s different from other styles of CV, as it can be longer than 2 sides of A4 containing detailed information about your research and other relevant experience. The length of an academic CV depends on your research output.

How to properly write a CV?
If you want to start making of CV, there are several points your need to pay attention to in order that you don’t waste your time writing inappropriate CV.

  1. The kind of position you are applying will help you determine the best CV format.
  2. Pay close attention to what the employer wants to see from your CV.
  3. If it’s possible, find CV sample from similar position you’re applying.
  4. List your work experiences, skills, education, and/or portfolio relevant to the position you’re applying.
  5. Put your mind into the concept of your CV. You must not write the CV in one sitting. Check and revise. Ask a more experienced peer to examine your CV.
  6. Remember, don’t write one CV for all kinds of job.

Exercise
Are you ready to make your own CVs? You’re going to create your CV and video CV in English, pretending you’re applying the following job position with requirements as follows.

Job:
Freelance copywriter

Requirements:
1. Graduated from or last year student in related field
2. Have excellent writing skills
3. Proficient in both Indonesian and English
4. Communication skills
5. Possess knowledge in critical thinking, logic, sales and marketing
6. Creative