CV writing is a headache to you? Here are a few does and don’ts to sort it out and improve your chances of getting that dream job.  

CV writing is a decisive part of any job search. In less than 5 seconds, the recruiter will decide whether he wants to read your résumé – and possibly take you up to the next level – or if your candidacy will end up as a paper ball in a garbage can. Therefore, paying attention and spending time is an absolutely non-negotiable step to get that job you always dreamt of. Here’s a list of 10 useful tips on writing a CV for applying in Lebanon and the MENA region.

You’re not writing a novel, 2 pages maximum will do

In general, your résumé should not exceed three pages. Though, as a young professional with only a few experiences to disclose, one or two pages will be largely enough. This will give you the space you need to be at the same time precise and concise, two skills valued in any company. Assume that the recruiter is very busy and is getting more and more annoyed with every second. Don’t beat around the bush, get to the point!

Make sure you give the right contact info if you ever want to be reached

The header of your CV must include a personal information section. It needs to contain your name, your date of birth, your nationality(ies), your marital status, your gender and your current residence. If you’re applying abroad, for instance in Gulf countries, information on your visa status might also be relevant. Eventually, if you want the company to be able to contact you, don’t forget to provide in this section a phone number and an e-mail. And regarding your contact information, try to make it professional: for work-related matters, forget your old jadbeik@hotmail.com or sexylallous_88@myspace.com addresses.

Read also: 7 recruitment sites to know when looking  for a job in the MENA region

Add an recent professional photo, otherwise just forget it

Including a photo in the header of your CV is a big plus. Your potential future employer will want to know if you look presentable, especially if you’re going to be in front of clients. But be careful: not all pictures will give you a comparative advantage. Photos at the beach with your sunglasses and at the wedding of the cousin after cropping the rest of the family are a no-go. Choose one on which you look professional. 

Be specific on your educational background but skip the good old kindergarten days 

Detail which schools and/or universities you attended from the most recent to the oldest. According to the length of your studies, choose how far you want to go back in time. Though for sure there is no need to mention what kindergarten you went to. Then, for each educational step, be specific. What course have you completed? Did you end up earning a diploma? In which year and month? Give some extra details if relevant for the position you’re applying to. 

Strongly value your work experiences… you are the best ! 

Just as the previous section, your work experiences should be introduced in a reverse chronological order. For each experience, start by giving the name of your former company, your position and the period you worked there. Then, get into the details. Don’t think of it as a passive description of your tasks but rather as an active presentation of your responsibilities and achievements. Try to use action verbs, like “created” “devised”, “managed”… Lying is perilous but bragging a bit won’t do harm. Give numbers to reinforce your point if you can.

Read aslo: Abdallah Ghattas: “the Lebanese youth lacks the ability to chose”

Languages: talking French doesn’t mean tu sé coman ekrir 

Languages skills should be well specified in your résumé when you apply in Lebanon and the region, since your level of understanding, talking and writing in any language might not be so obvious. Define each of these skills using adjectives such as “beginner”, “intermediate”, “professional” and “native”. Some details on your computer programs abilities should also appear on your résumé. One option is to put them along with your languages skills. If relevant, you can also indicate your knowledge of the different social networks. 

Don’t restrain your creativity but favor readability first 

The main objective of your CV is to make the recruiter remember a maximum of information on you. To reach this, you need a very clear and neat presentation. Choose a font and a size and stick to it. Write the bulk of your text in black, to make it readable on a white background. If you want to add some fantasy, chose one or two colors maximum, for instance to create a hierarchy in the sections titles.

 References: just ask !

Though they should not appear on your CV, it is good to specify in the end that you can provide references upon request.