Getting a sample resume isn’t that difficult anymore with the help of the internet. But tailoring it to your own individual experience is where it gets challenging. So to save you time, here are the five most important traits of every perfect CV.

1) Keep it to One or Two Pages

Keeping your CV fitted to one to two pages is crucial. Summarising your qualifications and experiences allows you to choose and arrange them in ways that gets to the point and is more pleasant to the eye. A concise CV will showcase a person’s ability to decide what’s really the most important and leaving everything else out. Plus, keeping it short helps aid readability while saving the juicy stuff for the interview.

2) If It’s Impressive, It Goes to the Top

Recruiters only spend 6 seconds to decide if they want to continue reading your CV. Catch their attention fast! It’s important to place what you believe is your most impressive trait at the top of your CV. For example, if you’re proud of the volunteering work you’ve been doing, and believe that makes your CV stand out, have that section at the top. Alternatively if you believe you have an amazing academic track record, then have that at the top. The goal is to impress the recruiter quickly for them to think… “not bad, let’s keep reading”.

3) Associate Yourself with Recognised Brand Names

You can create credibility for yourself by including names of brands or companies that you have directly or indirectly been involved in. Obviously if you’ve had experience with a well known brand that would be ideal, but there are indirect ways you may be associated with them. What do we mean by indirect ways?

As an example, if you’ve participated in a project in university, and that project was sponsored by big corporate company (even though you may not have worked directly with the company), mention that sponsorship in your CV.

Recruiters take 6 seconds to decide if they continue reading your CVOr, if you’ve done an internship with a small / medium size company, and one of that company’s clients is a big brand name, you can mention that also (just make sure it’s not confidential information).

The rule of thumb is to ALWAYS tell the truth, and do not exaggerate any of the facts, because you’ll need to explain this during the interview. But associating yourself with a recognised brand name gives your CV credibility.

4) Use Numbers, and Be Specific

Most people don’t realize how much quantifying your impact would make a difference. Whatever accomplishments that you’ve achieved, show them in numbers, not just words. Not many people do this, so doing this will make your CV stand out.

  • Before: Responsible for bookkeeping and preparing accounts for the company.
  • After: Prepared the accounts for 3 different companies within the group, generating 12 different management reports for each company, and presented a summary of this every month to the team consisting of 20 to 25 people.

5) Please Don’t Lie

Rule of thumb:
Always Tell The TRUTH
Some people believe that lying is the best way to perk up your resume, but it’s the worst thing you could possibly do. Even when you think your “Education” or “Work Experience” column of your resume isn’t exciting enough, you just simply should not lie. When you’re caught lying on your CV (and trust us, you will be), that’s career damaging as you it will affect your reference for your next job, plus news of bad behaviour gets around quickly.

A better way would be to highlight and emphasise your strengths. There’s a difference between portraying the best side of yourself and outright lying. Look for the positives in your profile and focus on those aspects instead.

6) Recheck

As amazing as you believe you are,  people make mistakes, and you’re no exception either.

We wouldn’t want you to be missing out on the job because of a simple typo with your phone number, or making silly grammatical mistakes. So for the last time before you send out the job application email, scan through for detail errors, typos and even simple grammatical errors. After all it’s going to reflect how the reader sees you and how careful and important you regard applying for the job.

If you’re not sure, get a trusted friend to help.

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Posted by Derek Toh

Derek is the founder and CEO of WOBB.CO. He was part of the pioneer batch for the Stanford-MaGIC Entrepreneurship Program, and is also a mentor for McKinsey & Company's Youth Leadership Academy. Derek is on a mission to revolutionise work culture in Asia. He cares about initiatives that improve education and the talent market. Derek is also a big fan of superhero movies, and has been told that he drinks too much coffee during the day.