11 Tips To Help You Add Content To A Curriculum Vitae That Is Far Too Short
Last month we published a blog titled '11 Tips To Help You Shorten A CV That Is Far Too Long' and this month we want to help those of you who have the opposite problem.
While we advocate succinct and clean CVs, there is such a thing as too brief. As mentioned in a previous blog, New Zealand doesn't really do the one-page resume thing; as a nation we are more comfortable with a 2-3 page Curriculum Vitae that gives context to our work experience and achievements.
There are many reasons one may end up with a CV shorter than required. Whether you're a student just entering into employment, someone who has been working for years and never needed a CV until recently (or you just hate writing and don't have time time to sit down and figure it all out) we have you covered! This list of tips might be just what you need to get things sorted.
To simplify things, we have broken our tips down into a series of CV sections. If you are light on info in some areas but not others, you can simply pick and choose the sections that apply to you. Let's get started!
CONTACT DETAILS / GENERAL INFO
In the contact details section of your CV, you need to list your postal address, your contact phone number, your email address, and if you have one, your LinkedIn page link. If your profession calls for you to be licensed/registered (i.e. teachers, doctors, nurses), or to have a drivers license or valid first aid certificate, this is something you can include in the contact/general info section too.
Do you have an introduction at the start of your CV? This should be 1-3 short paragraphs summarising your experience and expertise. (Similar to, or even the same as, your profile summary/intro on LinkedIn). This introduction should NEVER be written in the third person. Always write your introduction using first-person language.
YOUR EXPERTISE/CORE SKILLS
Although it may be tempting to include long bulleted lists of professional/personal skills to take up space, we suggest avoiding presenting your information in this way. The best thing to do is to brainstorm your main professional and personal strengths. Once you have identified your top 4-5 professional strengths (i.e Relationship Management, Teaching, Civil Engineering, Business Development) use them as headings then add a short sentence or two underneath each one detailing your specific experience/expertise with each strength. If you want to use bullet points, you can always bullet out your specific experience under the heading. Listing bullet points in this way will give context to the headings, which is exactly what you want. Much better than a long list of random skills.
YOUR EMPLOYMENT HISTORY
If you have been working for many years, you might benefit from including a job summary table. This is exactly what it sounds like. A table that contains to-from dates, the name of the organisation you worked, and your job title. An employment summary table is a fantastic way to show employers, at a glance, exactly how long you worked in each role, your career progression, and your overall level of experience. (If you are a student, you may still be able to include a summary table of your work and study periods, but feel free to talk to us if you're unsure)
When writing about your current and previous roles in a CV, you need to include four basic things: 1. The to-from dates, the name of the organisation, and your position title. 2. A very brief introduction summarising the core purpose of your role (1-2 short sentences max). 3. 5-10 bullet points detailing your core role duties and responsibilities. 4. A list of at least 2-3 achievements you attained while working in the role.
As a general rule, we recommend only going into detail for roles you have held as far back as 8-10 years. (If you are a contractor who has had 20+ jobs in the last ten years or someone that has only held one job in the last ten years, things can get tricky so please get in touch and we can help you arrange your information accordingly)
EDUCATION + TRAINING
If your CV is super short, it pays to check out your education and training section. Have you listed all your tertiary training? (No secondary school information should be on your CV unless you left high school/college less than five years ago, and under no circumstances should you include your primary school information).
Have you kept track of all your vocational/on-job training? These training courses are great things to include in your CV.
Have you completed self-directed, online training or participated in training outside of work that could be worth mentioning on your CV? (i.e. software training, leadership training)
VOLUNTARY + EXTRACURRICULAR
If you are an active volunteer, this is great to include in your CV!
Do you have your own business outside of your main job? Maybe you are a busy sports coach, trainer or referee? Adding this sort of information to your CV goes a long way when it comes to adding weight and credibility to your listed personal and professional strengths, so these things are great to include in your CV if you are looking to include some extra info to fill a void. Use whatever you do include to hammer home your job-related expertise (i.e. Coaching premier college basketball highlights your skills with time management, communication, interpersonal ability, and leadership)
Our final tip to help you successfully add information to your CV and build it up to 2-3 pages is to contact a professional CV writing service… *wink-wink, nudge-nudge*
We exist purely to help with crisis CV situations like this! Enlisting an expert to create a CV with a sleek, professional design and layout and clear, succinct written content will help ensure maximum impact when your CV passes across the employer's desk. (Imagine the look on their face when they see your impressive CV shining out from the sea of black-and-white-and-boring paperwork; Ooooh weee! We’d like to be a fly on the wall to see how happy they are!)
If you are staring down the barrel of this CV expanding task and finding it a little overwhelming, please get in touch.