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There it is again, the good ol’ common thread! We can understand if anyone is rolling their eyes at this point. Life has highs and lows, rough edges, and now one is supposed to somehow shape it into a relatively straight-line narrative?!?
Let us reassure you, not many people are interested in whether your common thread is a bit more zigzag than others or even changes colors here and there. Conversely, what’s essential is that you think through which qualifications you have and how these fit with the desired position. But there is one thing you shouldn’t do: re-tell your life story. The first thing someone sees when looking at a job application is often the curriculum vitae, which fairly quickly allows human resource decision-makers to get a picture of which qualifications someone brings to the position to be filled.
Therefore the curriculum vitae should be able to do one thing above all else: present relevant information in a clear manner. In other words, someone who applies for an internship with a three-page long model curriculum vitae or indiscriminately features part-time jobs and internships in epic breadth is highly unlikely to be hired. Information that is too brief or irrelevant can also be counterproductive.
That’s why we’ve summarized what you actually need to pay attention to.
Evaluate the contents. Don’t just randomly list everything you’ve done to this point. Instead consider what the requirements for the desired position look like and which of your previous qualifications fit best to it. Special emphasis should be placed on these “bonbons” so that they can be recognized when first looking over your application.
Fine-tuning the contents. Read your cover letter again very carefully. Which information or qualifications have you especially emphasized? These should also be found on your curriculum vitae, but by all means avoid duplication. Something you’ve explained in detail in the cover letter doesn’t have to be presented again with the same depth in the curriculum vitae. Instead it is recommended that you use key terms to briefly and specifically describe what you’ve done and where it occurred.
“Corroborate” the contents. Don’t just list the stations in your curriculum vitae—instead add specific examples of your work. This creates a much broader image of you as a person and of your skills, which in turn will help inspire decision-makers to take a look at your cover letter .
Presentation and chronology. Because a curriculum vitae’s primary purpose is to provide information, its clear arrangement, structure and design are incomparably important. This is why we’ve put together a checklist on this topic. Before going further, whether you choose to list chronologically or from most recent to the past is a matter of taste. The reverse chronological order has the advantage of beginning with your most recent experience—thus you can put the relevant data right at the start.
What should stay in? A curriculum vitae is structured with headings. Normal categories include: personal data, secondary education, vocational training, university studies, practical experience or job experience, internships and part-time jobs, volunteer activities, language skills, computer skills, other skills.
What should be jettisoned? You can safely omit the following information: redundancies and things that are irrelevant for the position, details about parents and siblings, information about elementary school as well as salary expectations (if asked for, please include it in the cover letter). If they aren’t relevant to the desired position, religious and political beliefs are unnecessary in a curriculum vitae. You only need to mention hobbies if they are somehow interesting or relevant to the position. Common hobbies such as reading or bicycling provide zero information and shouldn’t be included in a curriculum vitae.
Conclusion. At the end, the date and your signature should be on your curriculum vitae.