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Writing the perfect CV

The first thing that many students get wrong for their CV is the format. Here are some key requirements regarding the format:

  • The CV needs to be one page long. HR professionals will spend no more than 20 seconds on a CV. Therefore; content needs to be precise, relevant and straight to the point. If you are writing more one page, probably you include too many irrelevant information

  • Most recent activities should be listed first in the CV before moving onto earlier activities

  • Your CV should have 4 parts in the following order: education, work experience, awards and achievements (or Extra-curriculum Activities), and language and skills

Personal Particular of your CV

This part mainly contains your contact information, i.e. your name, your contact number and your email.

Education section of your CV

This part of the CV is relatively simple. All you need to put is the schools you have attended, your public exam scores and your GPA.

Regarding your GPA, you can put either your most recent GPA or your cumulative GPA. You can put the higher of the two. For example, if your most recent semester GPA is 3.5 while your cumulative GPA is 2.8, you can only put “Most recent GPA: 3.5”. This is a very effective way to improve the interviewer’s perception towards you

Work experience section of your CV

This is by far the most important part of your CV. The key to writing impression description for the work you have done is to be as specific as possible. Here are ways you can make your description more specific

  • Adding quantities. For example, instead of “made cold calls” , put “made 100 cold calls in a day”

  • Explain clearly what you are involved in. For example, instead of putting “making 100 cold calls in a day”, write “made 100 cold calls per day to build relationships with high-end clients”

  • Highlight the parties involved. For example, instead of “made 100 cold calls per day to buid relationships with high-end clients”, write ““made 100 cold calls per day to buid relationships with high-end clients for Taikoo Shing real estate”

  • Talk about the results you accomplished. Extending from the example above, you can write “made 100 cold calls per day to buid relationships with high-end clients for Taikoo Shing real estate and closed 5 deals in a month”

  • You can also emphasize the skills you have learnt in the process. For example, instead of writing “updating accounting records”, you can write “Organized and validated clients’ transactions using professional accounting software Peachtree.” This clearly shows that you have experience and knowledge in using Peachtree.

Below are some before and after job descriptions to show you how we can write more attractive job descriptions.

Before/ After

Assist in preparing audit reports

-> Assisted in preparing audit working papers to ensure all receipts, payments, revenue and expenditure have been recorded properly and to ensure financial statements were presented in true and fair views

Participated in audit meeting with clients

--> Visited client offices to obtain rental contracts, bank statements, meetings’ minutes for further audit processing

Assisted in preparing employee training program

--> Provided precise matching of training and development programs for over 500 employees

Ultimately, by making your work experience descriptions clearer, you can demonstrate your skills much more clearly and convince the HR department that you have got what it takes.

Awards and achievement section of your CV

In this section, simply write down your achievement, the date and detailed description of what you have accomplished and learned. Again, this is a place where you can showcase your abilities.

This short description shows that leadership skills, presentation skills and business skills.

The description needs to demonstrate your skill and hence enhance your employability.

Here is an example:

Business and Economics Society, HKUST, External Vice-president

  • Organized functions and events for over 4,000 business students including Welfare Day, Career Exploration Orientation etc.

  • Liaised with partnering companies such as E&Y, PwC, HSBC and AIA for sponsorship

  • Developed promotional campaigns on social media to attract participants for the workshop

Proficiency and interest section of your CV

This part is relatively less important. Just write down your language proficiency and a few of your interests. However, make sure that your interests demonstrate a desirable personality. For example, hiking is probably better than reading comics

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