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8 simple tips to write your first CV

January 13, 2020 10:10 IST

Your resume should generate curiosity into your profile as a person and set you apart from your peers, says Achin Bhattacharyya.

How to write your first CV

Image published for representational purposes only. Photograph: Courtesy Tumisu/Pixabay.com

There comes a phase in everyone's life when we need to bid adieu to our good old campus and prepare for a professional journey ahead.

Your warm and homely college canteen suddenly gets transformed into a swanky office cafeteria. Crisp office formals may replace your favourite pair of denim.

The first thought that occurs in an unfamiliar circumstance and situation is how to introduce yourself to a larger world and market your skills to a wider audience who don’t know you personally.

Here comes the role of your first CV, which is your first gate pass to a professional world.

Thus it's very important to correctly market your skills so that you appeal to those organisations and employers whom you want to associate with.

Any person's resume, irrespective of the similarity in formats are unique to his profile, and no two profiles can be identical on every common parameter.

Your resume is like the script of a movie; it tells a human story about a person who has a plan and has so far had his own share of highs and lows.

It's not about a matinee idol who doesn’t make mistakes but it's about real men and women with honesty and substance who have an insatiable urge to succeed.

There are some basic thumb rules, which can help in preparing your first CV.

1. Plan a layout

Please keep yourself in the shoes of the recruiter and jot down the skills that he or she is looking for.

These are skills that the job role may require or those which are in sync with the DNA of the brand that you want to work for).

Then list and clearly bifurcate them into two categories; the first one which is almost given and a no brainer are the domain skills.

Second category which is equally important are your life skills which are not confined to a particular job and are generic, transfarable and far more all-encompassing.

Hence your CV needs to reflect qualities like creative thinking, problem-solving, empathy, interpersonal skills, etc which you may already have demonstrated during various instances in the past, what's important is to state them in an intelligent manner through examples without going over the top.

A classic example can be to state that you were the head boy in your school and one of the key organisers of your college cultural fest which will reveal more about your interpersonal skills.

2. Be objective

Your resume should never lack clarity in terms of 'where you are' and 'where you want to be'.

This automatically demonstrates how the organisation is a natural mutual fit in the given scenario.

3. Keep it short

It is very important to have a short and focused document that is crisp and to the point.

Your resume has to give only a preview into the highlights of a match that ended up in a nail-biting finish. Anyone who wants to watch the match and know the result has to come to the stands.

Your resume should generate curiosity into your profile as a person and set you apart from your peers, this is especially important when you draft your first resume as you are yet to come to terms with the professional ways of the world.

4. Highlight key words

Every document (including your resume) will have some takeaways, research has proved beyond doubt that means that anyone and everyone who goes through a particular document will remember only some 'keywords' and salient features and decisions that are taken later are largely based on that.

Now when we know this, it will be prudent to use it to our advantage and only drive home those points which will work to our advantage.

This is where the first point ( preparing the layout ) becomes very handy as that is the master plan which will lay emphasis on certain key areas and your resume should accordingly highlight those.

5. Focus on the 'real you'

It is actually very important that you also focus on the human aspects of your profile which sets you apart or defines you as a person, thus your proficiency in a foreign language or a particular dance form or your last rock-climbing trip may be as important as your academic grades.

Consciously build in some interesting talking points in your resume so that you may accordingly steer the conversation to your areas of comfort and leave the room with an impression.

Always remember that as a fresher when you have less to talk on your previous job roles, softer factors are one of the most important differentiators when it comes to choosing within hundreds of resumes with similar academic credentials.

6. Be honest

It is very important to be honest and transparent when you write your resume.

There is no harm in being articulate or in prioritising one information over other, but your CV must reflect the real 'You' both in letter as well as spirit.

7. Mention all related experiences

Very often we leave out an experience thinking it to be trivial, but it may be so that the same may tilt the scales decisively in your favour as you never know what kind of traits or values the same exhibits in the broader scheme of things.

Thus it may be your summer internship in first year of your college when you helped your local community librarian to get the library in order or your stint in your family business where you helped your father or elder brother in terms of developing unique marketing ways or your voluntary involvement with a local community project where you thought local slum children in the evening.

8. Proof read and edit

It is very important to go through your own resume multiple times before you send it out to the world.

If possible try to seek help from any of your mentors to get a third-person perspective.

Be open to suggestions but always remember that final call is always yours as it is only you who will walk into that interview with a positive attitude and walk out with a winning smile.


Achin Bhattacharyya is founder and CEO, Notebook, an edtech company. He can be contacted on contacted on ga@rediff-inc.com.


Achin Bhattacharyya