Sie sind auf Seite 1von 25

2

CONTENTS
1. Introduction 2. Frequently asked questions 3. Contents of the CV 4. The cover letter 5. The layout of the CV 6. The format of the CV 7. CV styles and other skills 8. On-line and scannable CVs 9. Action verbs and qualifiers 10. Differences between English and American 11. Examples Page 3 Page 4 Page 7 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 17 Page 18

Page 19

Pages 20-24

Dpartement de langues et formation humaine Institut national de tlcommunications 9 rue charles fourier 91011 Evry Cedex France tl : +33 1 60 76 46 14 Fax : +33 1 60 76 42 86 Contacts v nigel.barnett@int-evry.fr v carl.storz@int-evry.fr v richard.taylor@int-evry.fr

On-line Guide to CV's and Letters lfh March 2003

1. Objectives
The objectives of this tutorial are: 1. To describe the layout, format, content, language and style of a resume, (US) CV, (UK) and cover (ing) letter to help you acquire the skill of writing YOUR resume/CV and cover (ing) letter in English, according to the basic conventions used in the U.S. and the U.K. 1 Besides this description, there are concrete examples of each part of the resume and complete examples of CVs and cover letters. 2. To give you the language that can be used to describe YOURSELF in terms of YOUR skills, knowledge, or qualities in the context of writing a resume/CV. You may also need to re-use this language in the context of an interview for which another on-line guide is in preparation. 3. To serve as a reference for future use as YOU will have to modify YOUR resume/CV and cover (ing) letter depending on the job, company or position, you are interested in. This on-line guide is especially aimed at first year Engineering and Management students at the INT but second and third years, alumni and other schools may also find it useful. As may international organisations and trans-national corporations.

Although we consider that there is an International style common to most CVs and letters, we will, whenever necessary, distinguish differences between English English (UK) and American English (US) in this way. For more information see the section on US and UK differences. On-line Guide to CV's and Letters lfh March 2003

2.

Frequently asked Questions

1. What is a resume / CV? A resume/CV is a specific written text which you send to a prospective employer to obtain an interview for a particular job in a particular company. It can be considered as a kind of advertisement for yourself. It is a summary of your personal details, education and career history. It should show your history, achievements, skills, abilities, knowledge, know-how, competence, background and experiences often in chronological order with the objective of attracting an employers attention and gaining his/her approval to make him/her select you for an interview and ultimately an internship or a job! It also shows your personality; through the resume/CV you project an image of yourself. As is the case with any text you should respect a particular format, layout (See Part II), content, style and conventions. It should be typed, never hand-written (unless specifically requested). The resume/CV is more or less the same on the both sides of the Atlantic today. There are other styles such as: the international CV, a European CV and a scannable or electronic one. However, content, style and layout are basically the same. There is no one single recipe to write a resume/CV. It is personal and aims at one particular employer or job position. It is personal, aimed at one particular employer or job position. You decide what skills or knowledge you want to show about yourself. You obviously want to show the positive side of yourself, and not include anything negative. A resume/CV, therefore, is not objective. Since no two people are exactly alike, even if they have more or less had the same background, each resume/CV should be unique. Since you change, companies change, the world changes, you have to think of updating your CV accordingly. You need to show what you have done and what you can do in relation to the specific position or company. This is reflected in the use of verbs and the absence of the subject (I am/was). The resume/CV is written for a specific job in a specific company with or in a specific culture. As a consequence you have to show you fit in. You should therefore try to find out about the company, its culture, and the position before you write.

2. What should I include in a resume/CV? You want to show that you have certain experiences, skills, knowledge, and qualities that are related to a particular position and which are advantageous to a company. Be selective and do not include irrelevant information. Basic information to include is: personal details, job objective, education, professional experience, computer skills, language skills, extracurricular activities and references (usually in that order). Be modest. Never invent details. An employer will find you out in no time. For example, do not say you are fluent in English unless you really are. However, you may slightly exaggerate the truth but still be careful as you may have to prove what you have written. Don't forget you are a student. An employer will have a rough idea what that means. He or she will not expect you to be proficient in English or to be a professional in computer networks. There are ways of expressing your qualities and qualifying them: e.g. good background in, strong basis, first-hand experience in. More examples can be found in the pages concerning work related Lexis.

On-line Guide to CV's and Letters lfh March 2003

3. What is the difference between a resume/CV and an application form? An application form is a pre-established form in which an employer asks you to fill in information under specific headings, (which are similar to those found on a resume/CV) in a specific standardized format. The reasons being, to make sure all applicants give the same information and to have the information in one format. Check the company website as applications forms are sometimes downloadable. 4. What should you do before writing your resume/CV? To carefully think about yourself. Here are some questions you need to ask before you write: How am I unique? What are my skills, abilities, knowledge, know-how, accomplishments, and objectives? What are my career plans? What type of training period or internship am I looking for? What kind of company and job position am I interested in? In what field? Where do I want to work? Am I willing to relocate? What salary do I want? What skills do I have? What experience do I have? Before you write, you should also do some research on the company you are going to send your CV to. Where is the company located? What is its history? What is its turnover? Is it a small or medium sized business or a large corporation? What is its mission? What kind of products and services does it offer? How many people and what kind of people work there? What kind of culture does it have? Who are its competitors? Who exactly should you contact so you can send the letter and resume/CV directly to them? What kind of profile is required for a particular position? 5. I am not an English speaking person, I have lived and been brought up in a non-English speaking environment, how do I explain my particular background? This obviously should be considered as an advantage as cultural diversity in the widest sense brings different points of view, or attitudes together thus adding richness to the work environment, relations, and the search for solutions. Some experiences you may have had especially educational ones are culture or country specific, i.e. they do not exist elsewhere. In this case you will have to explain or paraphrase. 6. Can I translate my CV from French to English? We would like to emphasize that the resume/CV is very culture based which implies that there is more to it than just putting words on paper. You have to show off your skills and there is a

On-line Guide to CV's and Letters lfh March 2003

particular way, style and conventions of doing so. Do not try to translate your French C.V. word for word; you need to adapt it and rewrite it. 7. What do I do after writing my resume/CV? You should proof-read carefully several times. Ask several people look at your resume to get different opinions about it. Have it checked by a language teacher. (For English see Mr Taylor, Fridays 1:30-16:00, Mr Armstrong Wednesdays between 12 and 2p.m or Mr. Hunt, Monday mornings 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. and Thursday afternoons 2:00-6:00 p.m.). For other teachers see the co-ordination page of the main site. When you think it is good, you can send it, along with a cover (ing) letter; today, it is acceptable to e-mail it. You will probably be asked to send a paper copy as well. If necessary, fax it but don't forget fax quality is not very good. 8. What is a cover (ing) letter? A cover letter (in American English) and a covering letter (in British English) is a letter that you send along with your resume/CV. In it, as we will see later you draw attention to your skills and talents and try to arrange an interview. As a general rule it should always be typed, never handwritten (unless specifically stated to handwrite it). 9. What is the difference between a placement and an internship? These expressions mean more or less the same thing in the context of recruitment and gaining work experience. Some companies and organisations may prefer to use one rather than the other.

On-line Guide to CV's and Letters lfh March 2003

3.

Contents of the Resume

This section is long but contains all the information necessary to help you prepare your curriculum vitae, (also known as a CV, a resume or personal data sheet). Each heading provides the type of content to include, the language to employ, together with examples. NB. It is unnecessary to put CV or any of the other names at the top of the document as it should be very clearly recognised for what it is! 1. Personal details The purpose of giving personal details is to make it as easy as possible for a company to contact you at the right place and the right time! Do not put a heading on this section. Name. First name first, last name last. It is common practice in English-speaking countries to put your first name first, followed by your last name (surname). It is not common to write your last name using all capital letters. However, each part of your name should begin with a capital letter. If you are from a non-western country or if you are sending your resume to a non-western country, it might be difficult for the reader to know what your last name is. In this case you could indicate it by using capitals. There is sometimes confusion between first names associated with a particular gender. E.g. Lawrence in French. Be aware of this. Address. Give permanent (or home address) and campus (or local/temporary address) addresses. For the campus address indicate the last day you will be on campus so the employer knows exactly where and when he/she can contact you. Telephone number. It is a good idea to include the country code - France is 33 - so the employer can contact you easily. You do not need to put in the first 0 in your telephone number as when one calls from abroad it is not necessary. Include your cellphone number if you have one, and e-mail address. Dates. Be aware that some countries use month, day, year order, while others use day, month, year. To avoid this confusion always write the month but be careful to check the dates if they only use figures!
NOTE U.S. law forbids employers to discriminate on grounds of race, creed (religion), color or sex. It is therefore not necessary to include any information on these details. No need either to include date of birth or nationality. In Europe the date of birth is commonly expected and the European CV format includes this field. However, perhaps some companies will want to know if you are married; marriage means "stability" for many. Finally, if you are a non-EU citizen it might be important to indicate your nationality as you may need to inform a company that you need a visa.

On-line Guide to CV's and Letters lfh March 2003

2. Job Objective The purpose of giving a job objective is to make the employer aware of your goals. Other possible headings are: objective, or aim (sufficient for an internship), job or career objective (for a full time position). Objective or aim is an important section because it informs the reader of what you are looking for. However, it is not enough to say you want to work in a particular department or want a particular position or do an internship to gain practical experience. You have to demonstrate that you can bring something to the firm. It should be a two way and not a one way street. Companies are not in business to provide students with work or cultural experience. The details of the sections that follow the objective, educational background and professional experience, should show skills or experiences that can support that job objective. For example, someone wanting to work in network management should show related experience in training or in the work experience. Grammar note. The job objective is often (but not always) expressed in terms of a verb in the infinitive form, as in the first example. Examples, Aim: a two month training period in a Web call centre. Objective: a 6 month internship in the network and systems department Aim: A summer work placement in a sales position to put my business skills into practice Objective: a full time position as a software developer. 3. Education The purpose of this section is to show your background and skills. Other possible headings for education are: educational background, educational achievements, educational history. You decide what you want to include; you do not have to include all your educational experience. You do want to include those that support your job objective. If you are a typical first year student, you should include the INT, classes prparatoires, and lyce. Concerning the INT, you do not have to describe the INT in the resume; you should do this briefly in the cover letter. Many students also send a brochure on the INT which is available in English. See the International department or the scolarit of your school. A resume should contain the dates which you attend the school. You may simply write 2002-2005 which makes it perfectly clear that you are currently a first year student and that you will graduate in 2005. After the dates include the degree which you are preparing and the name of the school. Also mention any relevant classes or special projects (see INT courses) )that you have done or will have done by the end of the academic year which would support your job objective. This is also important, especially later on, when you choose an option. Some of you may be attending Dauphine and preparing the US/UK equivalent of an MBA. Use the same format as above. Other university degrees may include For the DEUG: Two year degree in + (subject) Two-year university diploma in + (subject) Associate's Degree in + (subject)

On-line Guide to CV's and Letters lfh March 2003

For the License B.S./BSc (Bachelor of Science), B.A. (Bachelor of Arts) For the Matrise M.S./MSc (Master of Science), M.A. (Master of Arts) For the DESS or DEA Pre-doctoral studies in + (subject) Concerning the classes prparatoires, mention the dates and name of school which you attended. This is a very important experience to put on your resume as it shows you are able to work very hard under stress, to manage your time, to work successfully toward an objective and to compete. To explain exactly what 'prpa' is you may write: Intensive preparation for the national competitive entrance exams to leading French business and engineering schools. Also include your lyce experience in a similar manner as the above school experiences. For the U.S. you can write: Baccalaurat C (U.S. equivalent high school plus one year) : If you mention the type of baccalaurat you can write: specializing in and mention the subjects. If you received any distinction or honors, mention it as this shows that you have excelled. Equally any study abroad is extremely relevant. E.g.: Studied e-business six months at Virginia Tech. 4. Professional experience The purpose of this section is to highlight your skills that are most immediately required by the position you are applying for. Other terms you may use for the heading of this section: employment, employment history, work experience, work record, business experience, job history, career summary. You should include the dates you worked, the name of the company and at least the city where it is located, the company's activity in parentheses, if it is not clear from its name, and your duties. Don't forget to relate your experiences to your job objective. Be selective. Try to show your business and technical knowledge and skills and your transferable skills and qualities. Also try to include numbers: number of staff managed, percentages of sales increased, results, budgets and buzzwords (i.e. concepts that are in fashion at the time: e.g. CRM, ERP, e-business, quality of service). If you are a first year student and have had little paid work experience, think carefully about any work you may have done for a school association, volunteer work, teaching, or a "small" job. These experiences are not insignificant as they may involve skills which are useful for any job situation. For example, working in a small shop shows that you have had experience in retailing, communicating with customers, dealing with money, and can assume responsibility. In the future, however, as you gain more and more experience, you will want to eliminate "lesser" professional experiences. Do not invent anything! (professional experience or educational). Grammar note. As mentioned above, it is important to show what you have done related to your job objective and what skills you have acquired. This is why you should try to begin a "sentence" in this section with a verb that describes the activity.

On-line Guide to CV's and Letters lfh March 2003

10

Note. For exchange programmes you may well be asked for a letter of recommendation from your school study supervisor (responsable pdagogique) concerning your recent marks, and your language teacher with regard to your ability to follow classes in another language. Don't hesitate to ask for one when necessary. Sometimes you will have to ask the school or your language teacher to fill in part of an application form or a passeport form from the International department. Don't do this at the last minute!

5. Computer skills Titles you may use for this section: computer skills, computer literacy. (NB. The subject you study is usually referred to as Computer Science.) Under computer skills you may also want to make a further distinction between operating systems, software, languages and networks. It is also a good idea to describe what exactly you have done or can do with them rather than simply name the software. To obtain an internship general computer skills may be extremely useful whereas employment may depend on a particular skill. Adjust your CV accordingly
COMPUTER SKILLS Environments: Linux (Mandrake and Red Hat) Windows 9X, NT and 2000 pro. Networks: Internet, Intranet, LAN/WAN (managed INT student network) Some knowledge of Wireless LAN. Languages: C++, Java. MySQL. Good understanding of PERL and PHP. Software: Familiar with most common software suites, Microsoft Office, Open Office and Star Office. Prepared long documents and participated in the publication of Student Magazine using Quark Express and Photoshop on a Macintosh.

Computer Literacy Operating Systems: Windows 2000, XP, NT. Pocket PC. Software used: Lotus Notes, Access, Word 2000 (able to process reports and do mail merging) Languages: HTML, XML and JavaScript. Personal Web Page visible here www.perso.wanadoo/dupont

On-line Guide to CV's and Letters lfh March 2003

11

6.

Languages and Personal Communications skills are also extremely important. One of the purposes of this section is to draw attention to foreign languages you know. Keep in mind that employers are interested in how 'operational' you are in a language. Listening, writing and conversational skills should be clearly stated. Also note your external exam preparation or results and the date when you are planning to take an exam or when you took it. Don't forget that you speak French! 7. Extracurricular activities Other headings you may use : outside interests, personal interests, additional information, social skills. The purpose of this section is to allow you, once again, to show your skills such as teamwork (ability to work with others and to lead others), time management (studying and regular sports activities), competitive spirit, (success in terms of prizes or awards won). It complements your professional experience or replaces it if you have little or no paid work experience. Under this heading you may also demonstrate your well-roundedness, i.e. besides your technical knowledge and skills you have other interests and an open mind. Under this heading you should include: sports, volunteer or community work, school government (US) or membership of associations. Experience of different cultures, travel and stays abroad, as well as any artistic competence should be indicated. You may show any transferable skill. You not only give the name of the particular activity but also try to describe it concisely and clearly give the impression of having gained a skill from it. For example, at school you participate in activity X for Y number of hours per week. This shows that you are able to manage your time. Sports show you are competitive and certain sports involve teamwork. (Be careful if you want to show team spirit; do not give individual sports!) Volunteer work can show motivation and a caring personality. Being treasurer of an association suggests trustworthiness, being president, leadership qualities. 8. References Finally it is customary to write at the bottom of the page: References: Available on request. The purpose of this section is to show the employer that there are people - people that know you well, professors or employers - who can support the information you give about yourself by sending a letter of recommendation. The prospective employer will probably not want to contact any of your references, especially for an internship, but it is still a good idea to include this phrase. If an employer asks you for a reference, first ask someone if he/she would agree to write a letter of reference for you and then give the name and address of that person to the employer.

On-line Guide to CV's and Letters lfh March 2003

12

4.

The Cover Letter

As said above, the cover letter is a letter that you send along with your resume. The purpose of the letter is to acquaint the prospective employer with your unique talents and skills and to try to arrange an interview. It has become the norm to send a typed cover letter with a resume. Address the letter by title and name to the person (if you can find out his/her name) who has the power to hire you for the position you are applying for. Each letter should be unique (and original) to accompany a resume; you cannot have a form cover letter. The layout of the letter is exactly the same as a formal business letter with your present address, city, country, and date in the top right hand corner. The person to whom you are writing, their title, the name of the company and the companys address goes on the left. (This is called the inside address.) You begin the letter with Dear Mr./Ms./Mrs. (for example, Dear Mrs. Jones ) followed by a comma (UK) or colon (:) (US). (See the major differences between English and American English in the section below) If you do not know the person to whom you are writing, begin with Dear Sir/Madam. Then the body normally three paragraphs which are also aligned on the left-hand margin. Finish the letter with Sincerely yours aligned on the left, followed by your signature and your name, typed. The content of your letter should highlight, not repeat all talents and skills that you described in your resume as they relate to the specific job or position you are interested in. There are typically three main paragraphs; let's look at each paragraph in detail. Paragraph 1. - You need to state who you are and the purpose of your letter, what you want and when to catch the readers' attention. For example: "In response to your want ad in the newspaper... "or "I am a first year student at the INT...". If you have been recommended by someone known to the reader state this straightaway. "I am writing to you at the suggestion of Mr Robert Davies... " Paragraph 2. - Describe your interest, refer to and even restate two or three things that show you are the person for the job. For an internship it is useful to say what skills you think you can offer to the company in exchange for the experience that you are demanding. Paragraph 3. - You could mention your desire to further discuss employment possibilities in person, on the phone or on Internet. It is useful to indicate your availability and your willingness to meet. You can also volunteer to provide further information as necessary. A typical ending is, "I look forward to hearing from you soon."

On-line Guide to CV's and Letters lfh March 2003

13

5.

The Layout

Your resume/CV should be one page in length, (A4 size, although American standard paper format is 8 by 11 inches, i.e. 13.6 cm x 17.6 cm) of good quality white paper. It should be typewritten and printed on a good quality printer. (Never send photocopies.) By typing your resume/CV on a word processor it is easier to update or modify it. This is also very practical as companies now accept resumes/CVs sent by e-mail. An employer scans, (looks at) your resume/CV very quickly in 10-20 seconds! Be clear and concise and only include relevant information (Use the KISS principle, keep it s hort and s imple)! As you gain more work experience, you will need two pages. For on-line CVs see the section below. Make your text as pleasant to read and as clear as possible. Spacing should help make your text attractive. Choose an attractive font and do not mix contrasting styles. Character size could be 12 for most of your details, 14 for headings and if necessary 10 for personal information. Use bold face, italics, underlining, or shadow to highlight headings, dates, or degrees. Use bullets, indentation or even color to draw attention to specific details. On the other hand do not use several different styles of bullets, colors or effects. Be consistent in your design. E.g. all titles should use the same graphic features. Avoid abbreviations unless they are very well known. Use a spell checker, proof-read your text and have your it proof-read by a teacher to make sure the language and style is correct.

On-line Guide to CV's and Letters lfh March 2003

14

6. The Format
Concerning format, there are essentially two types: the chronological and the functional (or a combination of the two). Both present advantages and disadvantages. In the chronological format you list experiences in chronological order. A good idea is to use reverse chronological order i.e. begin with the most recent educational or professional experience. The advantage is to highlight your most recent experiences and achievements which are probably the most relevant or significant in relation to a particular job. It is very common practice and makes your resume/CV easy to read. With the functional format you present information in terms of fields of expertise. For example: sales, marketing, management, network management. It can hide any periods of unemployment you may have had. You can include not only paid job experiences but also skills gained in other experiences, such as volunteer work. The golden rule again is to make your resume/CV informative, readable, and convincing in a minimum of space and text. Do not forget that your resume/CV makes the first contact between you and the reader so your choice of style, language, inclusion of details, contribute to making the first impression.

P r o f e s s i o n a l E x p e r i e n c e (example 1 with dynamic verbs in bold) 2003 10-week Summer Internship, FNAC , Paris (major retailer of consumer electronics, CDs and books) Demonstrated and sold cellphones on a commission basis. Largest commission in one day 500. Summer 2002 for 1 month, Distribution Department in PFR France, Strasbourg (leading packaging manufacturer) Packed and dispatched goods in a team. Organized delivery dates with customers.

RECENT EMPLOYMENT RECORD (example 2 with dynamic verbs in bold) March 2003 - RFS, Paris (a telecoms consultancy) Co-produced a 20 page report on network security in French SMEs. Presented report to senior management and assisted in recommendations being implemented. Summer 2002 ABC Record Co., Paris La Dfense Analyzed the minidisc (MD)market and benchmarked with competitors' Web sites. Designed and built Web site using Dreamweaver MX, Flash, and PHP.(site visible at : www.xyza.com)

On-line Guide to CV's and Letters lfh March 2003

15

7.

Styles and Qualities

1. International style With globalization and multinational companies playing an important role in today's world, there is a trend toward one style of resume, sometimes called the "international style". If you are applying for an international position, you should obviously stress personal skills and achievement, and any international experience you have had. Also important are travel, study, mobility, and interest in other cultures. N.B. If you are applying for a job for a national position in a national firm in a particular country, you should respect that country's tradition of CV writing. Once again company websites often furnish profiles of prospective candidates for posts indicating the type of person they are interested in recruiting. 2. European Style The CEDEFOP, a European institution, has designed the European curriculum vitae. This style, while interesting, is not in our view, adapted to INT students' requirements. On the other hand if this style is adopted systematically and CVs are going to be scanned automatically its importance could grow. (For more information, including a template, see here http://www.cedefop.eu.int/transparency ). 3. British and American Style CVs and Cover(ing) Letters There are only minor differences between a resume to be sent to an American company and one sent to a British company. Personal details are a case in point, see here. There are no major differences between the American cover letter and British Style covering letters. Both should be typewritten and, at the beginning of a career, one page is sufficient for each. There are however some language differences including spelling, vocabulary items and equivalent expressions for diplomas. For the United Kingdom baccalaurat C mention bien- GCSE Advanced level in maths and physics with honours ( or with distinction) DEUG University diploma in + (subject) or two year degree in + (subject) License B.Sc. (Bachelor of Science) B.A. (Bachelor of Arts) Matrise M.Sc. (Master of Science) M.A. (Master of Arts) For the United States and Canada baccalaurat C mention bien- High school diploma in math and physics with honors DEUG University diploma in + (subject). or Associate's Degree in + (subject) License B.S. (Bachelor of Science) B.A. (Bachelor of Arts) Matrise M.S. (Master of Science) M.A. (Master of Arts) For more information on qualifications visit the CV content in section 2 above. For vocabulary differences, go to section 9 below on US/UK differences.

On-line Guide to CV's and Letters lfh March 2003

16

4. Transferable Skills and qualities An employer is interested not only in your specific formal academic training but also your practical experience, i.e. particular skills and qualities that are transferable to any job situation. It is up to you to try to incorporate them into your cover letter. These include:
Typical transferable skills sought by employers adaptability ambition commitment competitive spirit creativity cross-cultural experiences and sensitivity dealing with money decision making desire for adventure drive for success flexibility independence leadership qualities perseverance teamwork managing people problem-solving tolerance managing time resistance to stress well-roundedness communication dealing with customers discipline knowledge of languages meeting deadlines social skills versatility

Examples: In education: Honors or distinctions show a drive for success, Classes prparatoires show intensive work and self-discipline in a competitive situation. Dual or parallel studies show ambition and determination. In professional experience working in certain environments will have developed a number of the qualities above. It is up to you to emphasize those that correspond best to your objectives and the nature of the post you are looking for. In extracurricular activities, maybe you worked or played a sport while you were still busy with school work. This can show you were able to manage your time. Working in different types of situations, including volunteer work or at different times of the day (or night) shows you are flexible.

On-line Guide to CV's and Letters lfh March 2003

17

8. Online and Scannable CVs


1. Online CVs You are faced with a number of problems if you decide to put your CV on-line. The first issue is one of privacy - how much information are you willing to share with the internet community? Posting up a simple e-mail address may well generate a lot of unwanted junk e-mail. Personal details such as your home address and telephone number are information that you may not want to divulge to everybody. Respectable websites that specialise in finding jobs by putting candidates in touch with potential employers are the best but they do not always offer a free service. Trade and specialist magazines in your field that have an on-line presence may well offer a better opportunity. The format of an on-line CV is also a problem. Ideally a site will ask you to complete a form online that will then be processed and posted correctly, sometimes allowing you to make changes, update qualifications and so on. On the other hand, sites which encourage you to send your CV in HTML form means that you have to make sure that your CV is displayed correctly on a number of different operating systems, screens and browsers. Unless you are already experienced, or are prepared to take the time to ensure compatibility we do not recommend this approach. Similarly sending a CV as an attached file is becoming common. You should make sure that you send it in the format requested, usually either word (.doc), rich text format (.rtf) Acrobat (.pdf) or HTML. If no format is recommended, you should use rich text format as it creates small file sizes while respecting the original format. Word files are bulkier and word files saved in HTML are to be avoided. As you can see it is a good idea to have your CV and your cover letter available in a number of formats so that you can react quickly to whatever a prospective employer may ask for. 2. The scannable CV A scanned CV is one where key information is extracted in electronic form from a CV and put into a database by means of a scanner and a programme which recognises and organises text. (using OCR Optical Character Recognition) A correctly scanned CV depends on the presence of Key words like NAME, ADDRESS, EXPERIENCE being associated with the appropriate information AND a CV which does not contain any ambiguous or difficult to decipher text. Here are some simple guidelines that should be followed. v Choose white paper and black ink, print on a good quality laser printer. v Avoid lines, underlining, boxed or shaded text, bulleted text and hyphens. These may cause difficulties for the OCR programme, particularly with dates. v Choose a clear font style and avoid serif, bold and italic lettering. Use capitals to highlight items. v Use standard A4 paper, do not fold and place in a stiff A4 envelope if possible. Use two pages rather than small print.

On-line Guide to CV's and Letters lfh March 2003

18

9. Dynamic Verbs
1. Action verbs . Action verbs are used to describe skills and accomplishments that you have gained through professional experience. When used together with the qualifiers below you can present yourself more fully thus giving the recruiter a better idea of your qualities. Here is a list of the most common dynamic verbs
Achieved Aided Assessed Built Combined Concentrated Contributed Debugged Demonstrated Directed Edited Expanded Facilitated Guided Hosted Informed Investigated Marketed Outlined Planned Purchased Restored Selected Solved Structured Supported Translated Adapted Analysed Assisted Calculated Communicated Conducted Controlled Decided Described Displayed Ensured Experimented Focused Handled Identified Initiated Launched Modelled Overhauled Prepared Reduced Revamped Serviced Sought Studied Surveyed Treated Administered Applied Authorized Classified Compared Constructed Co-operated Defined Designed Distributed Established Explored Forecast Harmonized Implemented Inspected Led Modified Participated (in) Presented Reorganized Reviewed Set up Specialized Summarized Taught Troubleshot Advertised Approved Bought Collaborated Compiled Consulted Co-ordinated Delegated Developed Drafted Evaluated Explored Found Headed Improved Installed Maintained Negotiated Performed Produced Researched Sampled Simplified Spoke Supervised Tested Updated Advised Assembled Budgeted Collected Computed Contacted Created Delivered Diagnosed Drew Examined Expressed Graded Hired Increased Integrated Managed Operated Pinpointed Promoted Resolved Scheduled Sold Streamlined Supplied Trained Wrote

2. Qualifiers Do not hesitate to be specific when relating your experience, or knowledge. To do so use a qualifier, either adjectives or adverbs which add a dimension to your nouns. Below you will find a list of qualifiers which are typically associated with particular words. To describe: Experience : hands-on , strong, solid, excellent, wide, extensive, broad, varied, successful Ability/background/skill : outstanding, excellent, proven, strong Knowledge : in depth, detailed, thorough, first-hand, extensive Company : leading, pioneer, small/medium sized, top-ranking, second biggest, large, major, fast growing Position: challenging, rewarding, responsible, entry level, rewarding Technology : leading edge, cutting edge, latest, most advanced Miscellaneous : innovative approach, highly organized person, sound judgement strongly motivated, deeply committed Problem solving : done easily, effectively, quickly, accurately Respecting deadlines: meet deadlines, good time management

On-line Guide to CV's and Letters lfh March 2003

19

10.

English and American differences

There are some lexical differences in the American resume and British CV that need to be pointed out both word differences and spelling differences. Whichever language you choose the important thing is to stay coherent and be consistent. If you start in English English stay that way and vice versa. There is also reference to this aspect of CV writing in the British and American styles, work related vocabulary and the CV examples.
Word Differences Locution Private lessons to students Secondary school diploma Summer position Time off Season 3 or 4 year degree in science Master's degree in science Football (US) Football (UK) Underground railway Transport ticket to and from a place US English tutor high school diploma internship intern vacation fall BS MS football soccer subway round trip UK English teach/taught GCSE A levels training period/traineeship trainee holiday autumn BSc. MSc. American Football football tube, underground return journey

Common spelling differences ge / gue l / ll m / mm er / re or /our ize / ise zation /sation s

US English analog catalog travel/traveled program/programing Center, theater honors endeavor organization organize math (mathematics)

UK English analogue catalogue travel/travelled programme/programming Centre, theatre honours endeavour organisation organise maths (mathematics)

On-line Guide to CV's and Letters lfh March 2003

20

11.

Examples

The examples on the following pages should be just that. Avoid direct copying and try to personalise your CV as much as possible, taking care to update it regularly with your growing experience and adapt it according to the different readers. Here is an American Syle CV. Jean-Jacques DUPONT
Campus address (until June 30, 2003) INT Ch 1045 9, rue Charles Fourier F-91011 Evry Cedex, France Tel. (+33) 1.60.76.10.07 Cellphone (+33) 6.78.90.07.01 email: jjdupont@int-evry.fr Permanent address: 231, boulevard du Monsieur Le Prince 33000 Bordeaux, France Tel. (+33) 5.56.42.10.07

Objective : To use my skills in computer programming in a 2 month internship in your IT Department.

Education
2002-05

2000-02 2000

M.S. in Information Systems Management; Institut National des Tlcommunications, Evry, France. Relevant courses: Computing, Business Information Systems, LANs WANs. Special project. Wrote a program to manage data using SQL. Lyce Jean Moinod, Paris Preparation for national competitive entrance exams to leading French " grandes coles", specializing in math and physics. Ranked 10/3000. Lyce Marie Moinod, Paris Bac C, (specializing in science and math) with honors. (US equivalent: high school diploma plus one year.)

Professional experience
July 2002 August 2001 Face Software, Software publishing company, Paris La Dfense Responsible for developing and testing software to process data and trained clients in its use. Internship ACDC Publishing, Specialised printing company, Paris Illustrated a book on basic computing.

Computer skills
Operating Systems: Windows 2000/XP/NT, Unix, Linux, Palm OS Languages: C, C++, Java, XML, dBASE III Software: Word, Adobe Indesign, Photoshop, Macromedia Director, Flash MX Networks: Windows NT

Languages
French - mother tongue. English -good working knowledge. German - reasonable working knowledge. Spanish - beginner.

Extracurricular activities
President of student Computer Network Association. Manage students' residence halls computer network. Responsible for installing, upgrading, troubleshooting. Volunteer work: Work one hour/week with students who have difficulties in learning math. Sports: football (practice 4 hours/week), tennis (runner-up in university competition) Travel: U.K. several month long stays including 2 one-month periods in an Oxford language center)

References: Available upon request

On-line Guide to CV's and Letters lfh March 2003

21

Here is another example of an American style CV Monique DUBOIS


Address on campus (until July 15th, 2004) INT Ch 2007 9, rue Charles Fourier F-91011 Evry Cedex, France Tel. (+33) 1.60.76.20.07 email: monique.dubois@int-evry.fr Permanent address: 18, rue Ordener 75018 Paris, France Tel. (+33) 5.56.42.10.07

Aim: To obtain a 2 month training period as an IT consultant EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND 2002-05 M.S. in Management ; Institut National des Tlcommunications, one of France's leading management schools specializing in new technologies. Relevant courses: Networks, Computer science, Wireless systems Parallel Studies leading to dual diploma. Dual diploma with MBA below MBA Universit Paris Dauphine. Relevant courses: Law, Marketing, Financial Management, Accountancy Research paper: Corporate Decision-Making Processes and ICT. PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE Summer 2003 AMB Bank, Paris, Private merchant bank. 6 week placement in investment department. Prepared detailed report on communications architecture of the company with a view to upgrade, presented report to the management. COMPUTER SKILLS Operating Systems: Languages: Software: Windows environments, UNIX. C, HTML, XTML, familiar with JavaScript and CGI scripts. Microsoft Office, Matlab, PhotoShop, Macromedia 6. LANGUAGES SPOKEN French : mother tongue. English : excellent working knowledge. (TOEIC scored 810 December 2002) Spanish : conversational, frequent visits. EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES Treasurer of the INT humanitarian association. Liased with companies to send a team to Cambodia for the construction of a hospital. Responsible for finding sponsors for the INT Gala. Managed budget of $12,000 Sports: Jazz dance, synchronized swimming, national competition level Other interests: Musical comedies and amateur dramatics. References: Available upon request

2002-05

On-line Guide to CV's and Letters lfh March 2003

22

Here is an example of a British style CV.

Sylvie Martin
Address on campus (until June 30, 2003) INT Ch 2007 9, rue Charles Fourier F-91011 Evry Cedex, France Tel. (+33) 1.60.76.20.07 email: smartin@int-evry.fr Age: 22 Nationality : French Permanent address: 11, rue Ordener 75018 Paris, France Tel. (+33) 1.56.42.10.07

Aim :To use my skills in management and interpersonal relations in your human resources department. Educational achievements 2002-05 M.Sc. in Management ; Institut National des Tlcommunications, Evry, France. Relevant courses: Management, Company Organisation, Human Resources Management. Dual diploma with MBA below 2002-05 MBA Universit Paris Dauphine. Relevant courses: Corporate Management, Psychology, Commercial Law Research paper: Telecoms and Management in French Corporations Professional experience July 2002 ? Compiled data and made a report on customers' investment needs. ? Updated customer information on database. Training period in Human Resources Department ? Dealt with employees' promotion files. Organized meetings and communicated necessary information by e-mail and posted it on the Intranet Computer proficiency ? Operating Systems: Windows 2000/XP/NT, Palm OS ? Languages: HTML, XML ? Software: Edited reports and long documents using Microsoft Office ? Graphics Tools: Pagemaker, Illustrator, Macromedia Director, Flash MX Language Skills

? French and Portuguese: bilingual ? English: excellent working knowledge. Obtained Cambridge First certificate June 2001 (grade B). Currently preparing Cambridge Advanced exam.

Extracurricular activities ?Treasurer of the school humanitarian association. Managed budget of 2,000 ? Organised school gala. Responsible for sound system. Locating suppliers. Negotiating price, installation, delivery and insurance. ? Sport: Teach modern dance, swimming ?Travel: U.K. (several stays with host family), W. Europe. ? Other interests include Portuguese and Brazilian literature and history.

References: Available upon request

On-line Guide to CV's and Letters lfh March 2003

23

Here is another example of an English style CV.

Guillaume TELL
Campus address (until June 30, 2003) INT Ch 1007 9, rue Charles Fourier F-91011 Evry Cedex, France Tel. (+33) 1.60.76.10.07 Mobile (+33) 6.78.90.07.01 email: gtel@int-evry.fr Age :22 years old Nationality : French Permanent address: 32, avenue de Mont Blanc 92001 Antony, France Tel. (+33) 1.56.42.10.07

OBJECTIVE: a one-year placement in GPRS service deployment team EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND 2002-05 2001-03 Currently studying for an M.Sc. Telecom, Institut National des Tlcommunications, Evry, France. Relevant courses: Mobile telephony, Wave Propagation. Special project : Measured radio waves in base stations. DEUG Universit d'Aquitaine . Two-year degree course in information systems.

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE July/August 2002 Bouygues Telecom Aquitaine, Major mobile phone operator, Toulouse France Assisted in the development of i-mode software. Processed data and analysed mesurements for QoS. August 2001 Internship SNCF, French National Rail Network, Gare du Lyon, Paris. Interviewed passengers as part of a national survey. COMPUTER SKILLS Operating environments : Linux, Windows 2000/NT, Palm OS Languages: WML, HTML, some knowledge of Java Software: Most common word processing and spreadsheet suites,(Word, Excel etc.), statistical analysis with Matlab and engineering models with Autocad. Networks: Windows NT, LAN and WLAN. Familiar with Bluetooth and Home RF.

Foreign Languages French - mother tongue. English -reasonable working knowledge. Preparing TOEIC exam June 2004. Two month stay in Canada in 2001 German - good working knowledge. Japanese - beginner. Other interests and activities Member of student social committee. Responsible for organising logistics for social occasions, School Gala, Fashion show and other cultural events. Member of school basketball association, regular training and matches. Finished 3rd in regional inter-university league. Travel: Switzerland, frequent visits since childhood. Canada and Greece. References: Available upon request

On-line Guide to CV's and Letters lfh March 2003

24

Here are 2 cover letter examples. The first in an American style.


INT Ch 1007 9, rue Charles Fourier F-91011 Evry Cedex, France Ms. Joan Smith Human Resources Manager Fast Track Distance Learning Solutions Manion Building, Suite 2000 3300 Park Way Boston, MA 06231 U.S.A. April 28, 2003 Dear Ms. Smith: Having consulted Fast Track's Web page, I am writing to enquire about the possibility of doing a two-month internship in July and August 2003. I am currently a second year student at the Institut National des Tlcommunications, one of the leading telecommunications and management schools in France. Although most of our classes are on campus we do follow a number of courses by way of distance learning. As this is of course your speciality, I would be very much interested in gaining an American perspective on this rapidly developing sector. Although I am only in the middle of my professional training, I nevertheless feel that I already possess skills and experience which could be quite well put to use at Fast Track. At school this year I directed a team that constructed a new, student information directory and last summer I worked with a company both to test a software program and train clients, at a distance, how to use it. I am extremely computer literate and thoroughly familiar with the most commonly used operating systems, languages and software. I am highly motivated, hard working and ambitious. I have many interests as my various extracurricular activities show. I speak English reasonably well and would be keen to apply my knowledge and improve my skills during an internship at Fast Track. I look forward to hearing from you soon. Should you require further information do not hesitate to e-mail me. Sincerely yours,

Jean-Jacques Dupont Enc.: rsume, INT brochure.

On-line Guide to CV's and Letters lfh March 2003

25

This cover letter is in an English style.


INT Ch 2007 9, rue Charles Fourier F-91011 Evry Cedex France Mr Deelip Sehwag Director of Human Resources ABC UK Ltd. Capstan House Cabot Place London, E14 5QE United Kingdom November 28th, 2003 Dear Mr Sehwag, I am a first-year student at one of the leading business and telecommunications schools in France and I am required to gain hands-on experience in my major as an integral part of my final assessment. I am therefore writing to enquire if you would consider me for a two-month training period in your firm in July and August, 2004. I understand from our International Department that your company has already provided a number of students with the opportunity of doing a training period with you. As your company is one of the biggest telecommunications equipment suppliers in the United Kingdom it would be an chance for me to learn 'best practices' in how to satisfy the needs of customers, as well as giving me an introduction to British business culture. As you can see from my enclosed curriculum vitae I have already worked as part of an International team in the European Department of Human Resources at AMB Bank in Paris, where I was concerned in harmonising inter-bank exchanges, following the introduction of the Euro. This experience taught me how to be flexible and gave me sense of teamwork, qualities that I feel sure could be put to good use in your company next summer. I look forward to hearing from you and please do not hesitate to contact me should any further details be required. Yours sincerely,

Sylvie Martin

Enc.: C.V. and school brochure

On-line Guide to CV's and Letters lfh March 2003