Putting together a CV/resume


Hey… I know some of our posters are managers, HR people or otherwise in a position to recruit workers. I know the world’s not the same everywhere, but since in corporate law firms we have here the customs are generally American with just a little local flavour (some are Canadian, some are British, but generally American corporate customs prevail), I thought I could actually ask you and you’d be will to tell me what you look at in the first place or what makes you pick one?

I’ve gone through some training on various occasions, such as learning languages, reading books or websites on how to do such things, and all, but I think there’s nothing better than first-hand experience of the people who actually hire people.

So… for example, do you prefer a picture included in the corner of the resume, or a loose picture enclosed with the rest of the papers, or no picture at all? Do you appreciate a listing of all experience or just strictly what’s related to the job offered? Do you like a broad list of interest and hobbies, or should it be kept to two or three items? Is a lot of IT ability (hardware, networks, webdesign etc) a good thing or a scare in a lawyer, economist, accountant or some such office job? Is it possible that several years as a head news editor of gaming portal on the Internet kill my resumes from a professional standpoint? Is a short listing of employers better, or should one include a sentence or three of description of duties with each? Or would it be a good idea to make a short (one page) resume and enclose a more detailed one with some descriptions (say three pages) instead of a “golden middle” two-page resume? How much difference does the quality of paper and print make? Is a traditional letter better than e-mail? Is personally visiting the office and leaving the documents better than sending them by post?

I’d appreciate any first-hand experience you could share since I need to change my work unless something happens. :wink: My last job was, well, is, an American-style law firm and most likely the new one will be one of the same kind. I’m looking at the ministry of justice, the civil rights ombudsman, a police training centre and maybe some other places, but realistically speaking, I’ll most likely catch the interest only of those corporate law firms.


i dont have a lot of experience in law firms… but couple of pointers…

dont really care about the photo…

look for key points in the resume-based on the position so research the position that you are applying for and then format the resume accordingly… have some bullet points on top which list your strong points/experience in bold based on the job

list the experience that is relevant first and the irrelevant ones at the end… most HR people will not spend more than a couple of minutes on each resume… so you need to catch their interest with key words…

everyone now wants IT experience… it is a plus as people are trying to cut corners so dont want someone who needs to be hand-held for IT functions…

no typos… make sure u spellcheck!!! its a big no-no…

write some info about each job position…

email the resume… its easier for the HR person to pull it up anytime they want… most of the time, resumes are maintained in an electronic database…

hope this helps… chevalier… best of luck!!!:thumbsup:


In the first place it must be neatly typed, with nice columns, spacing, bolding, use of fonts, etc. It must show mastery of MS Word (or the ability to hire the right person to type it). And, it must be perfect. Absolutely not ONE typo, grammar, or spelling error.

In America, you should not include a photo at all.

Well, define “all” experience. It should be all relevant experience from a professional standpoint. I look for the things that tell me this person is capable of doing the job and also of being a leader, taking on responsibility, being dependable, a person who is a life-long learner. So, if your experiences are tangentially related-- such as being a project leader, taking on special assignments, taking courses to improve skills-- then yes, those are related.

Absolutely not. I do not want any hobbies, unless that hobby is directly related to the position. For example, a photography hobby that produced skills and experience as a graphic designer would be relevant to a graphic design position. A photography hobby would not be relevant to an accounting position.

I would say IT skills gained through courses or job assignments would be relevant as they show technical aptitude. Most companies want people who have good skills in MS Office, email, internet, and possibly even website design experience. However, an accountant doesn’t need to be able to cable a network. If it’s not directly related, I would only list it as bullet points in a skills section or maybe as a one-line item within the description of former job duties. In an interview, you can tell more about it if asked.

Yes. I would not include that unless the job I was seeking was a news editor or other journalism related or web related job.

You can do either a chronological resume or a functional resume (resume books will show you how) but of course you need to list your essential duties, accomplishments, and responsibilities. Remember, the resume is the sales pitch to get the interview. You have to communicate why I should bring you in for an interview. What makes you qualified, and what sets you apart from competition.

The length of a resume depends upon your length of employment. Someone who has been in the workforce less than 10 years would have a 1-2 page resume, in general. Someone who is going for a senior level mangement/executive level position and has more than 10-15 years of industry experience might have 3 pages.

It’s not a good idea to confuse the screener/manager with a one-page summary followed by another resume. First of all, if it goes through HR the two might get separated and the hiring manager might only get the one page, instead of the more lengthy one you want them to see. Just decide what’s important to include and put it all in one concise resume. Highlight additional skills or things you REALLY want them to notice in your cover leter.

If you are mailing in a resume, use high-quality resume paper in white or off-white. Of course, via email it will be printed out at their office on regular paper but if you are called in for an interview, you need to bring several copies of your resume on high quality, bonded resume paper.

Depends on the company and how they advertise and how they ask for a response. Most today have human resources information systems that include resume databases, and they need to be in certain formats. So, if the company asks for it in a particular format you need to provide it in that format. Some resumes are rejected merely for not meeting their formatting standards. Certainly if you can apply online you need to do that. The mail will take several days, plus routing through the corporate mailroom… meanwhile others who applied online are already getting their interview set up with HR. Now, if it’s a small, local firm then the personal route is appropriate and probably perferred-- mail or hand deliver.

See above… it depends on the company, what they’ve asked for, and their size and local custom.

Well, all I’ve written above applies to an American style of resume screening and interviewing. I cannot speak to Canada or Europe. It’s totally differen there, even if it’s an American company… HR will likely be staffed with locals who want a CV a certain way according to local standards. Perhaps engage a local resume writing service where you live, they will know the standards of the area.


Oh, and if it’s a large corporate company you are applying for make sure you match key words in their advertisement with the same words peppered in your resume.

Again, HR might have a resume database and if they do, they will have the system scan the resumes for key words and then only send those that come up to hiring managers. If they say they want XYZ experience or computer program ABC… make sure XYZ and ABC are in your resume if you have that experience.

Of course, smaller companies might scan resumes the old-fashioned way… it will important to have those terms either way… but moreso if they are using a computer database to scan resumes automatically.


When submitting a resume by email, do not submit it as a Word document, or similar. Always submit it as a pdf. The reason to do this is that the formatting and appearance of Word documents varies between computers, whereas a pdf looks the same on all computers.

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