Written by Discover Financial Services
The following tips from the Discover Talent Team will help you get noticed, impress hiring managers, and shine bright.
1. Download a Template
The easiest way to start? Download a template. Ask a friend, check your university’s career centre, or search the internet for a template you can build from. Look for a template that includes the below sections.
- Main Heading: Includes your name, contact information, location and a link to your online portfolio (if you have one).
- Personal Statement: A short statement that provides recruiters and hiring managers with a brief overview of your skills and relevant experience for the role you’re applying to.
- Education: Follows the personal statement and outlines your graduation date, relevant coursework and your predicted or received grades.
- Work Experience: Includes bullet points that demonstrate the relevant skills you’ve acquired in each of your prior roles (more on this later).
- Additional Skills: Technology stacks, platforms, languages and projects.
- Hobbies and Interests: Don’t be afraid to include this section to briefly highlight skills outside of your desired role. These interests can be a key conversation driver during an interview.
- Extra Curriculum: Activities such as awards, volunteering and university societies will round off the CV.
You don’t need to include every section we listed, but this should be a good starting point to think about what you can include.
2. Format Clearly
Pick a simple, easy-to-read font such as Arial, Calibri or Times New Roman. Use only one font and pick a font size no smaller than 11 pt. Margins should be at least 0.5 to avoid cramming too much text on the page.
3. Write Strong Bullet Points
When writing bullet points, begin each line with an active verb (Created, Built, Developed, Generated, Drove, Organized, etc.). Do not include pronouns like “I,” “they,” “we,” “you,” etc. Quantify accomplishments to show concrete value. An easy way to ensure you’re maximizing your bullet points is to use the by + to method. State what you did, how you did it, and the result. For example: Developed new deployment methods (what you did) by partnering with cross-functional stakeholders (how you did it) to increase efficiency by 30% (quantified result).
Include the company name and job title in your personal statement. Use the company’s job description as a guide for writing your CV. If you have experience with what they’ve listed in their job description, make your own bullet point about that skill in your CV. This can be particularly useful when writing your additional skills section or work experience section.
5. Use Keywords
Recruiters screen their databases for keywords, so incorporating them naturally into your CV will help you stand out. If the job description mentions a skill or technology platform multiple times, there’s a good chance that’s a keyword. Keywords could be things like: AWS, Cloud, Agile, Java, Full Stack, etc.
6. Polish and Send
Submit your CV as a PDF (unless otherwise specified). Save it with a normal title and not, “PICK THIS ONE” or “Super Ultimate Final With Best Summary” (though it might make us laugh). Recruiters can usually see the file name so a simple name such as “First Name Last Name, Company Name Application” will suffice. Before you submit, always double-check you’ve submitted the correct version of your CV, with the correct company name wherever you referenced it.
Remember, every company, and even every individual recruiter, will vary on their exact preferences. Follow these tips to build your initial version, and know that it will get better over time. The most important thing is that you apply. And when you’re ready, we’ll be excited to hear from you.
Don’t wait, explore new opportunities with Discover today.