How to write a successful CV to receive an invitation to a job interview (or... how to write a CW?)

How to write a valuable CV which will give you a chance to receive interesting job offers? Is it enough if you include in it your personal data, your education, experience and previous job positions? Should you attach a cover letter to your CV?

Unfortunately, it is often the case that employers receive hundreds of applications for only one job position.

As a result, they don’t have much time to look at each resume, nor to go through the maze of data about each candidate to locate the information they are interested in. That is why a badly written resume often wipes out your opportunity to get a dream job. So, what should you pay special attention to when writing your CV to convince your potential employer that you are the best for the post? This article will provide you with some simple advice and answers to the questions below.


  • What exactly is a CV and what is its function?

  • What information must be included in a CV?

  • Should you put your photo in a CV?

  • How to choose the right photo for your CV?

  • How to write a CV when you have no professional experience?

  • How do I write my CV when I’m applying for a call centre job?


What exactly is a CV?


There was a method in our madness when we used an incorrect abbreviation which contained the letter “w” instead of “v”. It turns out that Internet users quite often enter this phrase into the search engine to get tips and templates on what a correct CV should look like. Let us then dispel any uncertainties of those who use an incorrect abbreviation.


CV is an abbreviation for Latin “curriculum vitae” (which stands for “course of life”). It is a type of a document which contains a description of the candidate (professional experience and education) and which is sent to the potential employer as part of the recruitment process. The function of this document is to propose your candidacy and present you as the best candidate for the post. For it to be correct, the abbreviation should always feature the letter “V”. Now that the name and its meaning are clear, we can proceed to analyse how to write a CV.


How to write a recruitment CV? Remember to include the following information.


There is no single rule on how to write a professional CV. However, its most important feature is that it should be neat and transparent, so that recruiters can easily find the information they are interested in. Although there are various examples of content, templates and advice, what they have in common is that the following information must be included in every CV.


  • Personal data
    This is the most important information you need to include in your CV. At the very top of the page, enter your basic personal data such as your full name, contact details (phone number, email address), place of residence (town), and optionally your date of birth (it is not required). Make sure you provide the correct phone number and email address so that your employer can contact you directly. It would be quite a shame if an interesting job offer passed you by because of such a triviality as a mistake in the phone number or a typo in your email address.

  • Professional experience
    This is a very important element to which employers pay great attention. How to describe your experience in a CV? You should include your job positions with their corresponding dates and briefly describe them. The recommended solution is to list the work-related duties and the key areas of responsibility using bullet points.
    Important: in our CV, we always apply the principle of reverse chronology, which means that we describe our work experience from the most recent to the oldest.

  • Education
    This section should summarise your stages of education that will be relevant to the employer. Similarly to the section with professional experience, you should apply the principle of reverse chronology. You should list the completed university courses and degrees from the most recent to the oldest. In order to make your CV as simple as possible, you can skip the name of your secondary school in this section, especially if you graduated many years ago. This information is often irrelevant.

  • Knowledge of foreign languages
    This is a very important section in your CV, especially if you are applying for a position in a customer service department, as a salesperson or a consultant in an international company, for example, a call centre with a global reach. Remember to list in your CV not only the languages you speak but also the level of their proficiency, for example: Spanish – advanced (certified C1 level). Remember not to overestimate your competence. A lie will soon be found out and this could make you look bad.

  • Completed courses and training, certificates
    In this section, you should describe your skills which are confirmed with a document or those which you have managed to obtain outside your professional life. When listing them in your CV, remember to start with those which are best suited to the character of the post you are applying for. For example, if you are applying for the post of a telephone consultant with the German language, language certificates, or voice projection lessons will be more valuable than a makeup course.

  • Additional competencies
    If you can boast of any special skills that will successfully distinguish you from other candidates – make sure to describe them in your CV. In this section, however, you should consider what skills are particularly important for the position you are applying for. For example, for a post of a salesperson, this can be the ability to make contact quickly, patience and very good negotiation skills.

  • Interests, hobbies
    This part is not necessary, and you can skip it if your CV is already quite extensive. Otherwise, at the beginning of your professional career or when you are applying for your first job, it is worthwhile to show off your interesting passions and interests. It is best if they have something to do with the area in which you want to develop professionally. For example, if you are passionate about fashion and you are applying for a job in a clothing store, it is almost obligatory to include fashion as an object of your interest in your CV!

  • Personal data protection clause
    This is a very important part of your CV which must not be forgotten! If you don’t include it, your employer won’t have the right to contact you, and you’ll lose your opportunity for the post. This is the content of the clause:


This clause has to feature in the footnote of your CV. Based on this clause, the employer can process personal data exclusively in the course of the ongoing recruitment for a specific position. When the recruitment is over, the employer is legally obliged to delete the data of all the candidates who have not been selected.


Remember that many employers conduct online recruitment using computer systems and then you send your CV in electronic form. In this case, it is important to uncheck the appropriate boxes in the online form, which give permission to process your personal data.


Some companies provide the ability to include your CV in other recruitment processes. When submitting your application, you can indicate in the form that you agree to take part in recruitments that will only start in the future. This will give you the opportunity to receive interesting job offers at a later date, if this time you do not receive an invitation to an interview for the job you are applying for.


Should you put your picture in a CV?


This is quite a common problem among people who are looking for employment. Some people think that the most important part of a CV is information on professional experience, while others use CV templates where the photo is in the foreground. Undoubtedly, a well-chosen and integrated photo can make it much easier for you to receive a satisfactory job offer. In contrast, a badly made or poorly chosen photograph can have a negative effect on your image and make it difficult for you to find your dream job. First of all, you have to remember that the photo in your CV is not the most important element and if it is not clearly specified in the job advert that the photo is required, you do not have to add it at all.


The rule on inserting a photo in a CV is dependent on the country where we are applying for a job. It gives us a lot of benefits, especially when a recruiter reviews dozens or even hundreds of CVs. If you attach a well-chosen photo to your resume, it will be easier for you to be remembered. Through your photo, you can make a positive first impression, because even a correct posture (body language), your clothing and captured emotions can testify to many of your advantages: your professionalism, openness or a positive disposition.


How to choose the right photo for your CV?


The most important rule, which unfortunately is not obvious to everyone, is that the photograph in the CV must be up-to-date! If you arrive at the interview looking nothing like the person in the photo, this will certainly put you in a negative light. And not because your appearance has changed, but because you have not taken care of such a trivial and obvious thing as inserting an up-to-date photo in your CV.


Where should you include your photograph in the CV? There are different templates, and a single correct method does not exist. However, most often, the photos are positioned in the upper left or right corner.


When adding your photo to your CV, make sure that it meets the following specifications.


  • Good quality
    A good-quality photograph is what exactly? This will be easier to explain based on the most common mistakes. Never use a poor-quality photo which is blurry or out of focus. Forget about using a photo that was carelessly scanned or cut out from another photograph that also contained other people. It should not be wonky, badly cut or incorrectly formatted. The best thing to do will be to use exactly the same photograph as for your documents – a passport-type photograph. To make sure your photo is professional, it is best to visit a photographer’s studio, or ask a friend who knows how to take good photos for some help.

  • Appropriate clothing
    Clothes don’t make the man, it’s clear. However, in your resume, where you want to show off your best side, it is better not to include a photo taken in a negligee or in a daring party dress. The safest solution will be to choose formal clothing in subdued colours for this particular occasion. It’s a good idea to bet on a more elegant outfit, such as a shirt or a suit.

  • Correct body language
    Nobody enjoys working with gloomy people with a negative disposition. For this reason, use your CV photo to emphasise that you are a positive person who is open and communicative. Smile! The colour of the photo will also help. Choose a colour photograph, as a black and white photo may look sad and will not grab anyone’s attention. But also remember not to overdo it by looking too frivolous or making a flirtatious expression. The rule of the golden mean applies here – look friendly, yet professional.


How to write a CV when you have no professional experience?


Finding a job without work experience is not an easy task, but there are ways to make this more likely. A good idea is to write and attach a cover letter to your CV, in which you have a chance to convince the employer of your qualities in a more suggestive way, so that he is sympathetic to your candidacy.


How do you write a cover letter? Test yourself, answer yourself the question: “What am I good at?” and make a list of your positive qualities. However, you should remember one important thing. No matter how much you care about the position, you mustn’t lie. Any attempt at bending the truth will show you as a person who is unworthy of trust.


An effective cover letter must contain information on why you care about the position. Try to justify and provide the key reason why the employer should choose you among all the candidates. For example, if you are applying for a telemarketer’s position, make sure to list your skills that are important for this post, such as: good diction, pleasant voice, patience, negotiating skills and willingness to develop in the field of marketing. You can also write about your plans for your studies and further professional development in this area.


If you have no professional experience, include in your CV the maximum number of skills, qualities and aptitudes you have. Describe your life experience: completed courses and training workshops, voluntary work, as well as membership in organisations. Include them in your CV in place of the “Professional experience” section and outline what they have taught you. Your strength, if not your strongest point, will be your language skills. That is why you need to define the proficiency level, the courses completed and the certificates you may have.


An important element that could give you an edge over your rivals in getting the job is placing a so-called “resume summary” at the very top of your CV. It will draw the employer’s attention and outline your strongest features. How should it be written?


Introduce yourself briefly and describe your professional objective. In doing so, specify the following:


  • Who are you? For example: I am a third-year student of journalism and social communication.

  • Why are you a perfect candidate for the post? I am a communicative and ambitious person who is able to learn very fast.

  • What is your professional objective? I wish to develop in the area of online marketing. I’m looking for a job as an intern in the marketing department.


How to write a CV for a call centre?


If you are applying for a job of a consultant, an advisor or a salesperson in a call centre, the relevant information contained in your CV and a cover letter can help you get an invitation to a job interview. All you have to do is think about what qualities and skills a job in a call centre requires. Next, compare them with your predispositions and competencies. The tasks of such an employee include day-to-day customer service, telephone sales and much more. The position also entails administrative work on all the necessary documentation.


Such work, therefore, requires you to be well-spoken, have empathy and be meticulous. An additional advantage here is having good diction and a pleasant voice. Ask yourself if you can offer these qualities. Do you have the potential and desire to develop them? If the answer is yes, make sure to list them in your CV. There is also nothing to prevent you from writing a cover letter also in this case, in which you can leave the recruiter in doubt about your candidacy.


What else should we remember about when writing a CV and a cover letter?


When writing a CV and a cover letter, it pays to remember that the first page of the CV is the most important page. That is why you should pay great attention to this front page. Take a look at CV templates available online. You can also use a web wizard to generate your CV in pdf format. Select a clear template, enter your information and download your CV. The advantage of a CV in pdf format is that you can be sure that the recruiter will download a CV which looks the same to the one you have prepared. This way you don’t risk the recruiter receiving badly formatted files.


Overview – how to write an effective CV in 7 points


  • 1. Make sure that your CV (and possibly your cover letter) is neat and transparent.

  • 2. Start with the “resume summary”.

  • 3. Check if the data you provided is correct.

  • 4. Add a good photo.

  • 5. Only write the truth.

  • 6. Include the competencies and predispositions that best fit the nature of the position you are applying for.

  • 7. Include the personal data protection clause in the footnote.


What if you’re invited to the interview? Read how to prepare for a job interview to make a good impression >>