Writing a CV can be hard enough without the added difficulty of writing it in a language that is not your mother tongue. At Language Talent, a large proportion of the CVs we receive are from candidates that speak English as a second language. Interestingly, it is not generally bad spelling or punctuation that lets down a CV, but the choice of content and the way in which it is presented; the aesthetics. Different countries tend to have different approaches to CV writing. In the UK, there is certainly not one standard or 'correct’ way of writing one, but recruiters quickly know what they like and what they don't. Your aim as a candidate is to create a CV that will draw and hold the attention of a recruiter, rather than bore or frustrate them.
It is claimed that recruiters will spend an average of 10 seconds skimming over a CV before they decide to give it a chance or reject it to the recycling bin. The real shame in this process, is that many of those rejected candidates could have been 'potentials' if it were not for their CVs. Recruiters don't like information overload, they are not interested in sieving through every last detail trying to find something relevant to the role you have applied for - that is your job. Try to be as selective as possible with your content, using bullet points where necessary for clarity. With regards to personal information, again keep it short. Recruiters in the UK only need your full name, address and contact details - civil status, dependant information and photograph are not required.
It is very important to consider the types of keywords that will ensure your CV is returned on a consultant’s search of a database. Bear in mind that your CV is a digital document containing many words. By registering this digital document through the Language Talent website or other online jobboards and agencies, you are entering information into a database.
Depending on the type of position you are applying for, the format of a CV will change but the following order is standard:
A brief profile summary in which you highlight the most important and relevant points from your CV and state your career objective. Ensure this is relevant to the language jobs you are applying for;
Starting with the most recent and working backwards, list your employment experience including dates, job titles, company names and a clear description of your responsibilities and achievements;
A history of your education to date, beginning with the most recent. Include dates with the name of the college/university and grades where relevant (it is sometimes a good idea to find the English equivalent of exams/grades to make the information accessible to a UK recruiter);
This section should include your proficiency in IT, your language fluency and skills and any other information you may want to add;
Briefly mention your interests - recruiters are interested in getting an idea of your personality so don't miss this out, but remember to keep it relevant and professional. Reference details do not need to be given on the CV, and 'references will be provided' at the end should suffice.
The ability to speak English as well as several other languages is a real asset in the UK job market and your linguistic skills should be clearly included on your CV. If you are claiming to speak English fluently, ensure that your spelling and grammar are faultless - don't just rely on Word spell check; where possible ask a native English speaker to run their eye over it to ensure it reads well. In your skills section, state the level of written and spoken understanding of each of your languages. Use The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages or use: basic, intermediate, advanced, fluent or mother tongue/native. In general, a recruiter is not going to be looking for a basic or elementary user but it is up to you if you wish to include it on your CV. Some candidates like to create a table for their levels under 'reading, writing and speaking', but for clarity and brevity’s sake, a recruiter will prefer you to sum up one summary for each. It is always beneficial to include any translating, interpreting, proofreading, research or editing work you have done as this proves you have experience working to a professional level with your languages.
Recruiters find clear, relevant, intelligent CVs deeply satisfying as they make their search for the perfect candidate more time efficient and enjoyable. Only select relevant information, present it cohesively and accurately and keep it positive but professional. Remember that at this stage in the process you only have some words on a digital piece of paper to convince a recruiter that you are the ideal candidate - if you want the job, don't let your CV let you down.