Tips for an effective CV writing

Your journey in your dream job will start from a simple document called CV or Resume. This is a pretty important document but a lot of us take it lightly while preparing it. On average recruiters spend 6-8 seconds looking at your CV before they decide whether you should be evaluated further or not. So if you are not able to catch their attention in this time, there is a high chance that your CV will not be shortlisted.

So, here are some CV recommendations which is based on our team’s vast experience of recruiting:

CV Heading

Use your CV heading to highlight the following. Try to include the information which is relevant to the job for which you are applying:

  • Your most relevant educational qualification(s). If you are a B.Tech -Mechanical + M.Tech -Corrosion Engineering and, you are applying for the post of corrosion engineer, mention only the master’s degree in the heading. You can share your B.Tech details in a later section. But if you are a B.Tech and MBA and both are relevant for the position, mention both.
  • Professional Certifications
  • If you are applying for a key competitor company, mention the name of your current company in heading with job designation. It will catch the attention of the recruiter.

Do not overcrowd your CV heading with unnecessary information which you may anyway include in subsequent sections.


In the summary section, include:

  • Years of experience. It’s a bit annoying for a recruiter to calculate your years of experience from your CV. Mention it upfront.
  • Your most relevant job designation.
  • Any other key role or strength or project which matches the job requirement. But keep in mind the summary should not be more than 1-2 lines.
  • The summary should be in simple vocabulary.

CV Body

Format of your CV

You can select any format which you feel comfortable with. Just keep in mind the following:

  • Do not clutter your CV. This means- avoid long sentences, too many columns.
  • Do not add too many distractions. Avoid company logos, unnecessary graphics
  • Include proper use of bold fonts and bullets
  • Do not use too many different types of fonts


You can refer to the ‘Eye-Tracking Study’ done by ladders in 2018. It gives some good recommendations on CV formats.

Focus on your skill and achievement, not on work activity

A lot of people get confused with the above three and mix it up. To explain, let me use some examples.

Work Activity – Obtaining project progress data from different disciplines and preparing the monthly forecast

Skill – Ability to analyze data obtained from different disciplines to prepare a realistic forecast and suggest corrective actions

Achievement – Identified anomalies in monthly reporting data leading to cost (or schedule) savings of xx.

The focus of your CV should be on skills and achievements. You will notice that when you write about your skills and achievements, a lot of your job activities are already included.

Also, remember that skills or achievements may not just be functional. Your soft skills or behavioral skills are equally important.

It’s always a good idea to represent your achievements in facts and numbers. For example, instead of writing “Improved project schedule”, write “Saved project schedule of xx weeks”

Or instead of “ Lead business development of many projects”, write “Lead Business Development of xx number of projects, leading to order intake of $xx”.


To avoid any redundant information, try this:

  • Describe all your skills in one section.
  • In the work experience section (or company history section), mention the major achievements and key roles taken.


Importance of Job Description

Read the job description in detail. If you have a skill or achievement matching the job description, always include it in your CV.

Try to describe the skill/achievement similar to how it is mentioned in the job description. Commonly, the initial CV screening is done by someone who is not an expert in the discipline. In such a case it will be easier for him/her to identify that your profile is a good match. Your chances of getting shortlisted increase.


Length of your CV

There is a lot of debate about what is the ideal length of a CV. There is no single answer to this. It depends on your profile, years of experience, and a lot of other factors.

Nowadays, there is a trend that CV should not be more than 1 page. If you are preparing a one-page CV ensure the following:

  • Do not over-crowd it. Just because you want to have a 1-page CV, this does not mean that you make it so congested that it becomes difficult to find the relevant information
  • Do not miss on important skills and achievements

If you feel that you are not able to prepare an effective CV in one page, go for more. The number of pages in a CV will not matter much if you grab the attention of the recruiter in the initial one or two sections. This is the reason the summary section and skills/achievement section are very important.

You can avoid

In case your CV is going multiple pages, try to remove some non-essentials sections such as:

  • I don’t find much value in writing objectives “To secure a challenging position in a reputable organization to expand my learnings, knowledge, and skills and contribute to the growth and development of the organization”
  • If you are an experienced person (say more than 4 years of experience), no need to describe what projects you did in your colleague. Exceptions can be if it was a big achievement like publication in some reputed journal.
  • Extracurricular activities done in school. Instead, just give a summary under your hobbies.
  • Unnecessary personal information:
    • Full address (just mention the current location)
    • Name of Father/Mother/Spouse
    • Passport number
    • Religion
  • A declaration that all information is true to your knowledge – No one will reject your CV because you didn’t declare this.
  • A statement saying – “References can be provided if required”
  • Signature (unless a recruiter asks for a signed CV)


One CV does not fit all

If you are applying for your dream job or company, the biggest mistake you can commit is not customizing the CV to match the job requirement. Understand the job requirement in detail and customize your CV as per the requirements. Ensure that you highlight your key skills, roles and responsibilities and achievements which are relevant to the company or role.

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Praveen Tiwari

Mentor and Guide

15 years in EPC | From Concept Phase to Commissioning
Linkedin Creator Alumnus| Top 1% on Topmate

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