We all have read the facts that a CV is only read for so-and-so many seconds before tossed to the bin. Whether this is true or not, the CV is the first impression and the most important document to land the international internship or the summer job you’ve been dreaming of. So make the document the best it can be. We share you here some tips and examples.
First, it is always worth keeping these things in your mind when creating the CV :
Be relevant: What does the reader need to know about you? What is relevant to the role you are applying for?
Be informative: Don't just list your experience, focus on describing what you actually did and what you learned.
1) Show your work experience even it is not related to your studies
Especially if you don't have a lot of work experience or internships under your belt, it is good to mention summer jobs, short internships or volunteer work from any field. Picking up strawberries or working in a warehouse for a summer can be a great example of your work ethics and experience from different kind of work environments. And for sure these experiences have thought you some relevant soft and hard skills!
2) Write a small introduction about the company
Even the company you've interned or done a school project with is well known in your country, it might not say anything to a recruiter in a different country. Therefore, it is worth describing the company and the department you've worked at in a sentence or two. This gives a better understanding of your experience.
3) Less relevance -> Less space
While focusing on the most relevant experience and describing it, be careful that your CV doesn't get too long. The more experience you have, the less important the old becomes and you can describe it in less detail or even remove.
For example, if you are in the second year of your Bachelor degree, your high school studies have more relevance than when you are finishing your master's degree. Also, that strawberry picking experience from 5 years ago doesn’t matter as much anymore if you have other summer job, internships or volunteer work to show.
EXAMPLE OF PRESENTING YOUR EXPERIENCE
Marketing Intern / Comms.net
Oct to Dec 2017 / Part-time job
10 to 15 hours per week
Comms.net is a start-up building a new fitness app. I was part of the team of 10 people and worked closely with the Marketing Manager.
- Created daily social media posts to FB, IG and Twitter based on the social media calendar
- Planned content, took photos and edited images
- Helped to build the marketing strategy with the team
- Helped in organizing an event to KOLs
- Other admin tasks, like writing meeting minutes
- Learned a lot about start-ups, app creation and managing social media
Customer Representative / Deutche Bank
Jun to Aug 2017 / Summer Internship
Deutche Bank is one of Germany's biggest banks. I worked at their centralized customer service center and was part of a team of 25 staff focused on general bank queries.
I took client calls and replied to online and email queries. I solved basic questions or routed them to specialized teams. At the end of the internship, I also handled customer service on chat. The work was very fast paced and I learned to work under pressure and handle also difficult customer situations.
Older work experience:
During high school (summers 2013-2015) I worked at a local restaurant as a waiter. I learned from customer service, to use a cash register and work as a part of an international team.
4) Be relevant with IT skills
List the programs and solutions you know. It is worth mentioning the specific CRMs, project management tools, photo editing, website tools etc. you’ve used in your internships and school projects. On the other hand, basic Office skills and Windows OS knowledge are expected from every business student, so you can skip those.
Listing specific skills and programs is especially important in online applications and in LinkedIn where right applicants can be searched based on specific keywords.
4) Make the CV look fresh and easy to read
It is recommended to keep the length of your CV in 2 pages and usually, for students, only one page is enough. Remember, that you need to stay relevant. Use a fresh layout with some colour, icons and image of yourself. Also, make sure there is enough white space on the page so the document is easy to read and not too crammed. And finally, as a best practice, all experience should be presented in reverse chronological order, that means starting from the latest.
5) Pay attention to the details
Remember to check these small things before submitting the CV:
- Contact details are correct and in international format
- Professional email address (don't use that old firstname.lastname@example.org address)
- Consistency with fonts, spaces and colours
Finally, make someone else read the CV before you send it. They will spot any weird word choices, typos and can have a fresh look.