7 Steps to Save Your Resume & CV

These 7 tips are more important than you expected in job applications


Hudson Ko

10/18/20233 min read


A common mistake that many people make when editing their CV or resume is to focus only on the experience, content and bullet points. However, the reviewers usually spend only 20–30 seconds on each applicant.

Content is certainly important, as it showcases your skills and qualifications, but it may not be enough to secure an interview. You also need to pay attention to the first impression of your resume, which depends on the following seven areas. These areas may seem minor, but they can make a difference in the initial screening process. They also reveal something about your personality and professionalism.

  1. Professional Email Address

  2. Phone Number with Country Code

  3. More Traditional Font Style

  4. Appropriate Font Size (10 to 12)

  5. Specific Section Titles

  6. Language Types with Level

  7. Computer & Programming Skills in Categories

1. Professional Email Address

  • The first thing that should appear on your resume or CV is your name, followed by your contact information. This includes your email address and phone number.

  • Email Address — Make sure to use a professional or academic email address, rather than a public one like gmail.com or hotmail.com. A reviewer will be more impressed by an email address from reputable institutions, such as harvard.edu and cantab.ac.uk, than a generic one.

2. Phone Number with Country Code

  • In addition to the email address, it is advisable to provide our phone number as well, so that the HR can reach us directly.

  • Phone Number — Please include the country code, especially when applying for jobs from international companies. Do not assume that they know your location.

3. More Traditional Font Style

  • Font style — While some people may find traditional font styles such as Times New Roman too dull, they are a safe choice for your resume or CV. Some of the newer font styles may not display correctly on the reviewer’s device, even if you send your document in pdf format.

  • Therefore, it is advisable to select a more common font style that can be viewed properly on any computer or mobile. You don’t want to risk creating a bad impression with a resume that has formatting errors or unreadable characters.

4. Appropriate Font Size (10 to 12)

  • Font size — Choose a font size that is neither too large nor too small. If you have a lot of content, try to condense it instead of reducing the font size below 10, which makes it hard to read and gives the resume a cluttered appearance.

  • Conversely, if you have little content, don’t increase the font size excessively to fill the page. Try to improve the layout and design by adjusting the margin and adding some spacing lines.

5. Specific Section Titles

  • Section Titles — Your resume or CV should have different sections to organize your information, such as Education, Professional Experience and Extracurricular Activities. Make sure you choose the most relevant section titles for your profile. For example, avoid using “Extracurricular Activities” because it’s too general and looks irrelevant to your job applications. “Leadership Experience” is a better section title to highlight your involvement in other projects or organizations.

  • If you have diverse professional experience in different fields, you can separate them into two sections with more specific titles, such as “Finance Professional Experience” and “Data Science & Coding Experience”.

6. Language Types with Level

  • Language Types — A common practice is to include a section at the end of the resume that lists the languages we are proficient in and their respective levels, as shown below.

  • English (Intermediate), French (Basic), Chinese (Native)

  • Instead of using “Intermediate” to describe your proficiency in the main language (usually English) that you will use in your future work environment, you should use more confident terms like “Advanced” or “Fluent”. This will increase your chances of passing the initial screening. Your skills will be verified in the interview anyway. Additionally, you should provide some specific exam results to demonstrate your levels, if possible. For example,

  • English (Fluent, IETLS 8.5), Japanese (Intermediate, N3), Chinese (Native)

7. Computer & Programming Skills in Categories

  • Computer Skills — Instead of listing “Computer Skills” as a vague category, you should specify the different types of skills you have and group them accordingly. For example, you could have a section for “Programming Languages” and mention which ones you are proficient in, such as Python, R, MatLab or VBA. You could also indicate which libraries or frameworks you use.

  • Another section could be “Cloud Computing” and list the platforms you have experience with, such as Azure, AWS and Google Cloud. This way, you can showcase your computer skills more clearly and effectively.


  • (Software) Microsoft Office, Bloomberg, EViews, Photoshop

  • (Cloud computing) Azure, AWS, Spark, Hadoop


  • (Language) Python, R, C++, Java

  • (Libaries) Numpy, Pandas, Tensorflow, Keras, OpenCV


Your CV or resume is not only a summary of your experience and qualifications, but also a reflection of your personal brand. By paying attention to the seven areas mentioned above, you can improve the first impression of your resume and increase your chances of getting an interview.

Remember that the reviewers are looking for candidates who are professional, competent and suitable for the position. Make sure your resume showcases your strengths and achievements in a clear and concise way.