CV and application letter
When applying a job, your CV and application letter are the first impression to the employer, offering information on your work experience, achievements, competence and skills, as well as your personality and what you are like as an employee.
In Finland, CV can be divided into two types. Basic CV, also known as resume, is a document that includes applicant’s work history, education, skills and contact information. Curriculum Vitae, also known as academic CV, is a document that includes applicant’s research work, publications and awards. Curriculum Vitae is being used mainly when applying jobs in academia. More about academic CV, you can read here.
CV should include
There isn’t a “right” way to do a CV, but it is recommended to include following things in your CV:
- Personal information: Name, contact information. You can also add a link to your Linkedin-profile.
- Education: Degrees, starting from the latest. Higher education institution and time period. Major,
minors. Thesis topic if relevant for the position
- Work experience: Starting from the latest. Describe the
experience that is relevant for the position you are applying to, do not just repeat your job description
- Language skills (add also language level)
- IT skills – including programmes you can use, such as Microsoft Office. You can also add an evaluation of your skills.
- Positions of responsibilities and other experiences
- Possible references from previous employers (including contact information)
- Possible hobbies
Summaries where the applicants describes their skills, goals and strengths with a few selling, concise and interesting sentences have become more common in CVs. The summary is placed at the beginning of the CV and it persuades the reader to read further. If you decide to include a summary, edit the text carefully and direct it to the position you are applying to. You can also think that the summary is an answer to the question “why should I be hired?”. Try not to use the exact same sentences that you use in the application.
First, employers often only glance through the CVs and applications. The purpose is to find out if they are worth reading. Clarity, readability and visibility are important.
The reading experience can be influenced with typography:
- choose the font carefully, are the headings easy to
- check the spacing and line length
- use columns, indentations or lists if needed
You can also draft a more visual CV if its fits your personality and the position you are applying to, but remember that the contents are always the most important part.
Customize your CV to fit the job ad
Remember to customise your text for the job you are applying for and follow any application instructions provided by the employer. What skills or attributes are required for the job? Does it show in your CV?
For example, if a job requires communication skills, you can highlight it separately in the job descriptions that have included communication tasks. The CV does not have to be an exact description of all the experience and competence, but you can emphasize the areas that are important for the job you are looking for.
You should attach your own image to the CV. It adds more personality. When you’re involved in a big recruiting process, an image can improve your chances of being better remembered by a recruiter.
A good picture is adequately lit, friendly and approachable-looking picture of you. In anonymous recruitment, an image is not desired, but this is usually mentioned separately.
Get feedback on your CV
Career Services regularly host CV clinics remotely, where you can bring your CV and receive feedback from our career counselors. Check our event calendar for when we have next CV clinic.
The purpose of the job application is to convince the employer that you should be invited for an interview. The application sells your expertise and describes your motivation. It is usually one page in length.
Match your skills to the requirements
Why are you applying for this job? Why should you be interviewed for the position? The employer seeks answers to these questions. Read the job advertisement carefully and find out what the employer is looking for.
Find out more about the operations and goals of the organisation. In the application, reflect your skills to the needs of the organisation. The better you tailor your application to the organisation in question, the more likely you are to make an impression. If you write an open
application, try to arouse interest by telling what expertise you could bring to the organisation
Highlight your motivation
Each employer wants to find a motivated expert as an employee. Lack in experience can be compensated with high motivation and a desire to learn. Relate your special interests and goals in the application.
Avoid cliches and summarise
Decide what you want to say and say it concisely. Even a short application can be very effective. Avoid truisms and officialise and write a text that is clear, informative and reads well.
Spelling errors do not impress. The application has to be professional and smart. The CV and application are a pair: use the same font in both. If you send the application and CV by email, send them as PDFs.