The General CV
Hola! As the internship season approaches and all of us pull our socks to race for the best intern, be it in the field of research or in a corporate, we, as BSP, write this article with an intent to help you get a head start. So follow through these steps. The very first step in the application process is to build a mind-expanding resume and in his article, we’ll show you the tricks and trades of the game called Resume-Making.
The very first and most basic question that needs to be answered is- Which software should I start building my CV on?
The two most commonly used softwares – LaTeX (pronounced ‘Lay-teck’) and Microsoft Word. While MS Word is something you must be familiar with, this new software ‘LaTeX’ has numerous advantages over generic word documents:
Since, LaTeX is the software preferred by a huge section of the research community for the setting and framing of research papers, having a LaTeX designed CV gives an impression that you are a research-oriented student.
A LaTeX document cuts an elegant figure-It’s output is professional and beautiful.
It uses commands and programming for the designing of a document, hence, giving the user complete control over every possible aspect of the document’s formatting.
On the other hand, as already mentioned, Microsoft Word is a universally understood software-that is easy to learn and convenient to use. It also eschews the time needed to learn and understand LaTeX well enough. If you are familiar with LaTeX, use it to build your CV. Else, Word is your best bet.
The next question that might pop into your head could be “How about using readymade templates for building CVs? Or Online CV-makers?” Isn’t it a lot more time-efficient and aren’t the CV’s aesthetically superior?”
The fact is that online CV makers do not allow flexibility in design as well as in shaping up of the content because they are mostly designed for job applications and not students internships. Additionally, it doesn’t look professional.
Having put the question of software away, it’s now time to put the bones together. The skeleton of a CV must include:
Academics (Degree being pursued+XIIth+Xth)
Projects (DISA, Independent Studies,MCP101 project)
Laboratory Work (Experiments of PYP100, ELL100 and other Lab courses that are relevant to the internship being applied for)
Technical Skills (Programming languages, Web Development, Operating Systems and other tools like Matlab, Adobe Creative Suite, LaTeX, etc)
Social Service/Internships/Work Experience
Positions of Responsibility
With nine huge sections to a general CV, one may be tempted to use 2-3 pages for want of adequate spacing. But a good CV, on the contrary, is just supposed to be a page long with 10-font size. Essentially, one needs to keep in mind the fact that this application is being made to a professor who seldom has the time to keep scrolling just to read through a 4 page long CV. So, as a thumb rule, even if it means that your CV ends up looking cramped, stick to a one-page-CV only.
The first part of the CV is, quite obviously, your introduction. Start with your name, after all, it’s uniquely yours, isn’t it? Do make sure that your name is well-visible to the professor’s half-blind eye.
Follow it up with your institute’s name, address and your contact details. Be advised to use as lesser spacing as possible.
The second part, is a list of your academic details. The most organized way to write about these is in a table format, containing the column headers as Degree/Examination, Name of Institute, CGPA/Marks. Now, list your qualifications in a most recent first manner. All undergraduate CV’s must have these three qualifications by default, degree being pursued, XIIth grade or equivalent, Xth grade and equivalent. While listing your content, take care that the year is supposed to be centre-aligned and the content in the rightmost column is always right-aligned. Note: Use justifiable abbreviations wherever possible, as space is going to be your prime commodity. For example, the professor is not going to be interested reading that you’ve got 96% in your All India Senior Secondary Certificate Examinations. Might as well abbreviate it to CBSE.
List your scholastic achievements next. Before we go over how these should be listed, remember to use BOLD when you want to make a particular patch of content stand out during an overview. Use italics when you want to differentiate a part of a line from the rest of the line.
For example: All India Rank (XXXX) among 0.1% of the students in the Joint Entrance Exam(IIT-JEE) out of more than 11,00,000 students who appeared for the examination
Notice, I’ve made bold the statistic, apart from the rank and I have italicised the number of students who appeared in the exam. Percentiles depict a more clear picture in the minds of people than the rank, so it is important to bolden the percentile. Also, unless you point out the competition you beat, it doesn’t look like much of a significant achievement (which we know it definitely is) especially, when you have to go with the assumption that the professor doesn’t know about JEE(A) and JEE(M). Again, use abbreviations wherever possible, there’s no point in writing KVPY as Kishore Vaigyanik Protsahan Yojana. What is important is to make clear your position amongst the number who appeared in the Examination.
The next section is Relevant Courses. Start by listing all the courses you’ve done which might be any how related to your internship work. This is the most important part of your CV, because it tells the professor what fields you are comfortable in and the work that you have probably already done. Therefore, try to convey what each course contained. For example, MTL101 is named Linear Algebra and Differential Equations, but you can write it as two different courses to convey in a clear fashion that you are familiar with both components. You can also include courses that you are about to complete, or even online courses (but, do mention the source).
The following section should be about ‘Projects done’. This is a part of the CV in which you must give some description about the ‘feats’ that you have already achieved. To do this, mention the Project(including the duration and which professor you did it under) and under this point, list out the things you’ve learned or aimed at learning. Remember to list the most significant projects first. To save on space, you could provide a description only to the most important points. You could also list out course projects like those in MCP101, COL106 etcetera.
Next comes the ‘Labs’ component. Write specific experiments that might relate to the internship under this tab. For example, Tuning the Speed of DC Motor, B-H curve tracing and Conductometric Titrations on different solutions. Even the most seemingly trivial experiments can be worth mentioning if they relate to the internship.
The next section is Technical Skills. Use this tab to portray your skills on/with a computer. You should list Programming Languages that you are comfortable with, Operating Systems that you’ve used, App/Web Development softwares (If you know any of these) and tools like Autodesk Inventor (Say thanks to MCP100), Microsoft Office, Photoshop etcetera. If you want to make a good impression on the professor, try to include (only if you have/can learn) LaTeX, Fortran and Matlab (other OS’ used in the world of research).
Next comes Social Service and Past Internships/Work Experiences. You may think that Social Service is not an important part when it comes applying for research internships, but it does make a difference to the professor if you have been involved in social work (You do know that Social Service is an important factor in UG admissions to colleges in America). You can include work done in NEN2XX, NSS, BloodConnect, Enactus etcetera(and feel free to give a description to the more important points). For listing your points, follow the same format you’ve used in the Projects tab. Any meaningful Internships and work experiences can also be listed in the same tab using the same format.
Follow it up with Positions of Responsibility. List your POR’s in order of their significance. Posts like Repships, Executive of societies, Journalist should definitely be included. Do not mention POR’s held in school, unless it is quite significant (Like President of Rotaract Club). You can also provide a small description to the most significant of your POR’s, but do optimize so that everything fits.
The last section is Extracurricular Activities. This tab should pertain to achievements in Sports, any BRCA activity(Dance, Drama etcetera) and any co-curricular activity that hasn’t been included in the previous tabs. Write first those activities in which you have placed. Remember to make bold your position in the event.
Sports: First position in inter-hostel Squash Competition
Dance:Second position in Duo-Dance Competition held on an institute level; member of Institute Dance Production team.
If you haven’t placed in events, write those activities in which you’ve participated and whose experiences are valuable to you.
Whew. That was a long sermon. Hope you gained a lot from this article. In the following articles, we will shed some light upon the departmental-specific tips and tricks that you could use while building your Resume. Ciao!