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Step 1 OVERALL FORMAT AND LAYOUT

Step 1 - Do's
Do's

Divide your information into brief paragraphs following a precise format laid out on a maximum of two pages: clarity and conciseness are much appreciated skills. To be seen as a unique candidate your CV must also be seen as unique: make it creative and attractive (without going overboard). Use vocabulary that is compatible with your area of experience and the area for which you are applying. Look for inspiration on LinkedIn profiles regarding the same field, particularly successful ones. When you've finished, save your file in PDF and give it a simple title, such as "firstname_lastname".

Step 1 - Don'ts
Don'ts

Your CV should NEVER be disorganised, so choose a format and stick with it. Avoid big chunks of text and roundabout explanations. An unclear beginning can have only one ending: the trash can. Consider your CV as the first impression others will have of you, so avoid the boring EU format and make sure that there are no typos or spelling mistakes. Don't create a profile that is not consistent with your LinkedIn or other social media accounts: you are not applying for a job at the CIA, you don't need a double identity, it will actually raise suspicions.

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Step 1 OVERALL FORMAT AND LAYOUT

Step 1
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Step 2 PHOTOGRAPH

Step 2 - Do's
Do's

Keep in mind that your photograph is not always required. If it is expected, choose an image in which you are smiling, well-groomed and wearing clothes that are in line with the standards of the job you are looking for: you'll make a good impression with the recruiter and your mother will be proud of you.

Step 2 - Don'ts
Don'ts

Don't put photos of you taken at night, on the beach, with friends, wearing sunglasses or in contexts that are not suitable for work: taking an image from a summer album on Facebook will not get you many "likes". Trust us.

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Step 2 PHOTOGRAPH

Step 2
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Step 3 PERSONAL DATA

Do's

Never forget the aim of your CV: to get called in for a job interview! So, at the top of the first page write the following information very clearly:

  • your personal data (full name, date and place of birth, home address);
  • your telephone number, e-mail address, LinkedIn and Skype contacts (the first meeting is often virtual);
  • your marital status (only if you wish to) and whether you have a driving license (if you own a car and it is pertinent to the job position).

Remember to put your personal data and main contact info at the top left of every page. This will help the recruiter contact you quickly.

Don'ts

When it comes to email addresses, forget your passion for word games, numbers and pet names: create a credible and professional email account (such as firstname.lastname@email.com) and don't use your work address. If you indicated your marital status, remember that "single" is better word to use instead of "unmarried" or "bachelor", which will appear a little too Victorian for our times. If you did military service, it is not necessary to mention it unless doing so adds something significant to your qualifications.

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Step 3 PERSONAL DATA

Step 3
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Step 4 EDUCATION

Step 4 - Do's
Do's

Describe your education in phases starting with the most recent and working backwards. Specify the type of studies and the school name, as well as the start and end dates of the academic period. If you have a university degree, indicate your year of graduation and final grade.
The more concise you are, the more interviews you'll get.

Step 4 - Don'ts
Don'ts

Don't mention the title or topic of your thesis, unless it is strictly pertinent to the job you are applying for.
If your final grades from secondary school were not very good, don't include them:
you'll avoid the embarrassment of being compared to other candidates.

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Step 4 EDUCATION

Step 4
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Step 5 WORK EXPERIENCE

Step 5 - Do's
Do's

List your work experiences in reverse chronological order. For each employer, describe their work sector or sub-sector (an example off the top of our head? Telecom Italia → telecommunications). It is fundamental that the recruiter be able to contextualize who you are.
Include your first relevant work experiences, including when you were at university: being able to study and work at the same time is an excellent calling card.

Step 5 - Don'ts
Don'ts

Can you describe what you do in one word? If the answer is no, using your imagination is never a good strategy, so don't use overly creative job titles. NEVER leave any holes in your CV timeline, unless you wish to cause dismay, uncertainty and bewilderment.
One thing you absolutely must avoid? The use of boring terms such as "coordination", "management" and "supervision", as they are the first thing that will make people yawn in offices all over the world.

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Step 5 WORK EXPERIENCE

Step 5
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Step 6 PERSONAL AND SOCIAL SKILLS

Step 6 - Do's
Do's

Highlight your soft skills through a description of any objectives you have reached, awards you have won or skills you have developed. With regards to your personal interests, only include the most important ones that illustrate additional skills.
A couple of examples? Sports team=team player; your own blog=communication skills.
It’s always good to mention if you do any social or volunteer work: if the recruiter is like-minded, you'll strike a chord with them straight away.

Step 6 - Don'ts
Don'ts

Remember that this part is highly personalised, so don't be vague, describe your skills through your personal experience. Pay attention to the relationship between the skills you mention and the job you're applying for: if there is no connection, keep them to yourself. You're not at a collector's fair, so your passion for stamps might not be as exciting as you think.

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Step 6 PERSONAL AND SOCIAL SKILLS

Step 6
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Step 7 COMPUTER AND LANGUAGE SKILLS

Step 7 - Do's
Do's

Include all your computer skills, specifying what programmes you know, your knowledge level and if you also use them outside of work (for example, managing your own blog). The same goes for your language skills: for each language you know, specify the level of your writing, speaking and comprehension skills. Don't forget to mention any experiences abroad, such as international courses or student exchange programmes. This will help your CV go a long way.

Step 7 - Don'ts
Don'ts

Be honest about your knowledge of foreign languages, as the truth could come out during your first interview: have you understood? If your ability with certain software programmes is comparable to reading and understanding hieroglyphics, don't worry. Just avoid mentioning skills you don't have: beating your own drum too loudly can make you deaf!

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Step 7 COMPUTER AND LANGUAGE SKILLS

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Step 8 REFERENCES

Step 8 - Do's
Do's

What others say about you is worth more than a thousand presentations: the more references you have, the better. Just remember to specify the person's full name, job title and contact info.
Use only reliable references that have recognised professions and can actually verify your skills.

Step 8 - Don'ts
Don'ts

While including a lot of references is a good thing, don't overdo it! Even though many people may know and appreciate you, don't write a long list of contacts or you won't appear credible. Keep in mind that most of what your references will say about you can also be verified online.

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Step 8 REFERENCES

Step 8
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Step 9 COVER LETTER

Step 9 - Do's
Do's

It's fundamental that you always send your CV accompanied by a cover letter. Describe your motivation for wanting the position based on the expertise you wish to acquire and your career goals. For each job application, send a personalised cover letter, almost as if it were a "love letter" to the employer. Mentioning something that strikes you as significant in what the company has done is also a nice touch.

Step 9 - Don'ts
Don'ts

Don't show a complete unwillingness to travel: if you are not very willing to travel for work, describe your availability as "temporary". Never say never. Finally, don't be too self-referential or pompous. Keep your ego in check, or you'll quickly pass from being seen as competent to being perceived as presumptuous.

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Step 10 CONCLUSIONS

Step 10
PERFECT

You've just discovered that it doesn't take a lifetime to prepare your CV, but rather just nine simple steps.
Now take everything you've just seen in this virtual tutorial and use it in real life!

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