The CV introduces you to the professional world. It is the ‘first impression’ that you create, virtually albeit. The expectation that we need to introduce ourselves down to the minutest detail, is passé and an overkill. The recruiter/hiring manager needs to see your basics and the ‘potential’, but details like winning a competition in grade 8, can mercifully be avoided.

A skillful balance and presentation of high points in academic/co-/extracurricular activities, job-relevant skill-sets, professional experience(s) gained thus far, additional trainings and certifications received, notable points of recognition(s), and industry-relevant professional memberships form the core/heavyweights of a CV.

Lightweights, but powerful lightweights including volunteering, languages, interests and hobbies (please keep the interests/hobbies specific and be prepared to be peppered with some questions on this), publications and presentations/seminars/conclaves and the works can be added too. Again, keep them indicative and not detailed.

While much has been said and written about the length of a CV, limit the CV to 1 page if the work experience is less than 5 years; 1.5 pages for 5-15 years; and about 2 pages beyond 15 years.

Keeping the CV crisp yet succulent (!!) is an art that evolves with time and revisions. There are a quadritrillion CVs available online. Pick a few that attract you, and tailor them to reflect your persona. Else, approach professional resume-writers.

With both the heavyweights and lightweights out of the way, now move to the bells and whistles including layout, consistency and formatting, choice of fonts (2 fonts max), usage of empty spaces to make the placement and “flow” seamless (and eye-pleasing, where possible), relevant references/contacts, and a rigorous proofreading of all these data round of the CV.

There could be more points such as special projects, additional qualifications, recognitions etc. Please weigh them against what you have presented already and see if it is relevant to the job/JD/company/industry. If the answer is a ‘no’ to any of these, then refrain from adding them.

The CV is just an ‘intro’. It need not (and cannot) replace ‘you’ in the totality of things. Keep some surprises in your sleeves for the interview process. Sharing them at the appropriate time and/or person could completely swing the candidature in your favour. Or not. Point being, don’t make the CV dense, cramped with data, innumerable bullet points, longish or brutally short sentences, or visual limiters like a thick border or too ‘arty’ layouts. Allow it to speak about 75-80% of ‘you’. The rest, keep them handy as fodder for the interview process.

Watch this space for more…