What is a CV? A CV (short for the Latin phrase curriculum vitae, which means “course of life”) is a document highlighting your professional and academic history along with your strongest skills. Think of it as a compact presentation of who you are and know that it will be the first impression you make.
Why do I need it? It is something you will be asked to provide when you apply for a job. It’s the 1st thing that an employer sees, and it will determine whether you will be asked for an interview. You may also need it for a college or other educational applications.
What does a CV contain?
1.Contact details Name & last name, region of residing, valid phone number, professional & valid email address (eg. firstname.lastname@example.org). It is important to have a simple and clear email address (aka your full name) as funny or complicated email addresses do not make a good impression. Other details to include in this part (if you have them!): Work permit for Greece, driving license (if you have Greek or international), health certificate in force (if you want to work in restaurants or hotels), unemployment card in force (OAED).
- There is no need to include: date of birth, nationality, family status
- Include a photo only if it is requested in the job description!
2. Profile or resume objective Imagine it as a small summary about you as an individual but in a professional level. A good resume objective does three things:
- Describes your skills and education that are relevant for the job.
- Explain how you’re going to help with the job.
- Mentions your professional purpose for applying.
3. Work experience Include the job experience you have that is most related to the position you are applying for. If you have many different work experiences, you have to edit your CV according to the position you are applying for. Think what part of your experience is related to the job you are interested in and what you could highlight to show that you are the right person for the job. Avoid including jobs that lasted less than three months except if related to the position. Your work experiences must be written in chronological order starting from the latest. In case you have no paid job experience, in this part, you can include volunteering experiences or assistance in family/friends' business. You can skip the part if you don’t have any of this.
4. Education Include information related to your education*, starting from the most recent activities and going backwards. In this part, we prefer to write only the highest degrees and avoid mentioning our whole educational journey unless we have studied different things that are not clearly understood in the context. For example, you do not mention your high school degree if you also have a University degree, but you mention both University degrees if you have two in different fields or a Bachelor’s and a Master’s. We mention our degrees or certificates, including details like the field of studies/major, the institution and its location and the period of our studies.
*In case you have not attended formal education (school) you can mention non formal education studies, like language courses, vocational trainings or seminars provided by other organizations like NGO’s.
5. Language skills Language: Mention the languages you speak, including your mother language and foreign languages, along with the level of knowledge for each. According to the European Union the levels of knowledge are categorized as:
- A level- basic user (Can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases. Can introduce themselves and others and can ask and answer questions about personal details such as where they live, people they know and things they have. Can interact in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help.)
- B level- independent user (Can understand the main points on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc. Can deal with most situations likely to arise while travelling in an area where the language is spoken. Can produce simple connected text on topics that are familiar or of personal interest. Can describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes and ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans.)
- C level – proficient user (Can understand a wide range of demanding, longer clauses, and recognize implicit meaning. Can express ideas fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions. Can use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes. Can produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organizational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices.)
6. Digital skills: The ability to use devices like computers, tablets and smartphones. Furthermore, it is the ability to use search engines (eg. google), your email account and software programs like Microsoft office (word , excel, ppt). Use of other applications like photoshop, Autocad, video and sound production are also included.
7. Skills (technical & personal) are the things we know how to do well. The things we are able to perform.
Technical skills are abilities that can be taught. You'll learn hard skills in the classroom, through books or other training materials, or on the job. Some examples are the languages that you speak (bilingual or multilingual), programming languages, pastry and cooking, car repairing, electrical installations, 1st aid skills, teaching, customer service etc.
Personal skills are features in your personality and character and can also be developed in any job position you get or in your personal life through your experiences. They can be transferred to any position you get, no matter the type or field. Some examples are active listening, communication, interpersonal, leadership, management, problem-solving, creativity, willingness to learn, teamwork, adaptability, etc.
8. Activities/interests Include volunteering, participation in sports teams or art classes, hobbies, passions and participation in unions. You can add anything that will make you look unique, interesting and valuable. You can also add what you like doing in your free time, a hobby or an interest. Through our activities, an employer can distinguish some of our personality characteristics and skills we have developed.
9. References References are the opinions and evaluations of your former employers or colleagues about you as a professional. They can be written or oral and are sometimes required by some employers to verify the information you mention on your CV. If you have a letter of reference or people who can potentially be your referees, you can mention it this part by writing ‘’references available upon request’’. In case an employer asks you to provide the contact details of your referees, ask them beforehand and if they still agree you can forward the information. Information on how to create a Europass profile and CV here
Tips for a great CV
- Choose a simple and easily readable format (simple font, 12 size, clear headings). You can find CV templates in MS Word or by searching in Google for websites where you can create your cv for free. In the link you can find a video tutorial that will help you create your own CV in the Europass website.
- Keep it one page if possible.
- Use clear and short phrases without verbs when you describe the responsibilities in your work experiences eg. ‘’Provision of assistance in the kitchen by preparing the raw material for the cook’’.
- Think all the strong skills you have developed through your experiences in your life.
- Proofread again and again!
- Save the document with your full name (eg Name Last Name CV) in a pdf form.