CV Writing For Dummies

Writing a CV document is your first step to find your next dream job. In this article, we see what are the common mistakes that many candidates tend to repeat without being aware of it.

Since you can find plenty of CV templates and how to tutorials about CV writing around the web, I focus on this article on what you should not do. In other words, to write a CV that stands out, it is not enough to know what to write, It is also important to know what you should not write, what you should avoid, and why.

As a software developer, the points I raise are related to my experience in the high-tech industry. However, I believe that majority of the points are relevant to other fields as well.

Writing a CV is not an exact science. A good CV is a matter of best practices and taste. In other words, There are many grey areas - to write a good CV is not enough to follow black and white rules. However, many points I raise are a matter of a standard and your best interest is to adhere to this standard. In this regard, I find that writing a CV is similar to writing software.

So, let's dig in:

Full Name, Phone and Email

Nickname and Middle Name

While many of us have a middle name and/or nickname, there is no need to mention your middle name or to provide your nickname next to the official first name. I believe it is better to choose one name - the one where everyone knows you on a daily basis - not just your parents and your family. So:

  • Instead of Edward (Ed) Joseph Kennedy, write Ed Kennedy
  • Instead of Joseph (Joe) Edward Lamarr, write Joe Lamarr

Clickable Email and Phone

It is important to make it easy to recruiters to connect with you when they find that you are the right person for the position.

What can be easier than clicking your email to open the default mail client on the computer or mobile device for sending you an email with your name already in the subject line?

Also. those days many recruiters read your CV on their mobile devices, a clickable phone allows them to contact you easily. Why do they need to copy your phone number to the dialer when it is much simpler to click on it?

You can make the email and phone clickable if your document editor supports hyperlinks (such as google docs, Microsoft Word, or Libre writer). Just follow the following steps:

Make your email clickable

Suppose, your email is ed.kennedy@example.com. In your document editor, select your email address and make it to hyperlink. In the opened dialog, provide the following link:
mailto:ed.kennedy@example.com?subject=ed.kennedy

Make your phone clickable

Suppose, your phone number is 555-5555, In your document editor, select your phone and make it to hyperlink. In the opened dialog, provide the following link :
tel:555555

Name, Phone and Email titles

You do not have to write "name:" before the name. You can also emit "phone:" before the phone number and "email:" before the email address. In other words, it is redundant to provide those titles.

The name, email, and phone have a well-known and unique format. Therefore, it clear to everyone who reads the document what the text represents. In other words, The readers do not need the title to understand that your name is a name, your email is an email and your phone number is a phone number. Especially, if you make the email and phone number clickable as explianed above.

If you follow this advice, you can also write the email and phone in the same line to save some space for the latter sections

Concise fomat for the name,email and phone
 Ed Kennedy
 ed@example.com • 555-5555

Email Address

What email address should you provide?
You should provide valid email that is related to your name. If you do not have such email, you should create a new one that will only be used to contact you about your job search.

Valid Email

Obviously, You should provide a valid email address that you can not lose access to it in the near future. Remember, It will be frustrating to you and the recruiters to find the right candidate, but not to be able to contact him

First, do not provide an email if you have any reason to believe that you may lose access to the email in the future. For example, do not provide your college email as your contact email as you will not be a student forever.

Second, you should test your contact email. Ask your friend or colleague to send you a test email and check that you received this email.

Email related to your name

Another important consideration: It is always better that your email address is related to your name. For example, you can use:

  • ed.kennedy@example.com
  • ed.k.23@example.com
  • ed.1991@example.com
  • ed.3020@example.com

However, if your primary email is not related to your name anymore, embarrassing, or completely random. I advise opening another email box that will only be used to contact you about your job search.

Let's see some examples for the 3 cases:

First, Do not use embarrassing emails such as:

  • ed.the.stud@example.com
  • ed.the.goat@example.com

Second, Do not use completely random such as :

  • aaaa21@example.com
  • abcd75@example.com

Third, For the women among us, do not use emails that are not related to your name anymore
If you changed your last name following your marriage, do not use the email box that named after your previous last name.
For example. if your name was Eli Lamarr and you changed it to Eli Kennedy, do not use the old email box Eli.Lamarr.2@example.com, create a new one such as Eli.Kennedy.3@example.com.

How to pick your new email, if needed?

The email should be catchy and easy to type. I recommend the the format [first name].[last name]@example.com.

If your last name is complicated to spell, just write the first letter or the first letters. Also, If the email address is already taken, add a number.


Let's see an example, Suppose your name is Ed Doe
First try to open ed.deo@example.com.
If it is already taken, try to use ed.deo.201@example.com
If it is already taken, try to use ed.deo.202@example.com and so on.

For your convenience, you can merge the new and the old primary email boxes. In other words, you can configure the email boxes so you read and write messages in one place - your primary email address.