English Vocabulary for an outstanding CV

For ENSI people who are trying to write these days an English CV this is your article. For people who already did, they can check anyway. I would be please to know any other ideas, improvements or more exact words.

First of all, ENSI in English is the National School of (not for) Computer Science. Not “Sciences”, this word does not exist, “Science” does not have a plural in English. Even Better, here is a fancier name:  National Engineering School of Computer Science. It is more prestigious, more respectful. Don’t forget that in a CV every single word counts.

Every English CV starts with an Objective, it comes just after the personal data, it summarizes why do you apply for that specific position, and what your career objectives are. Some typical objectives could be: “A challenging graduation internship where I can best improve my technical skills and discover the professional world” or “A rewarding end-of-studies internship to round up my graduate technical profile” or even better: “A career-starting Engineer Diploma Thesis which meets my professional objective”. Yes, “Engineer Diploma Thesis” is the exact right name for a “PFE”, not end-of-studies internship, nor graduation internship. These words don’t make any sense in English-speaking countries. The word Thesis has nothing to do with the same word in French. Even a Bachelor student makes a thesis at the end of his/her Bachelor studies. So let’s forget this French “thesis” word style.

A title for a student or a graduate English CV would typically be: “Embedded Systems Engineering-Student”, “Financial Graduate Junior Engineer”, or “Intelligent Systems Student-Engineer”. The title is the first sentence the recruiter will read. You better do it well ! Also, for driving license carriers, it’s valuable and well seen to add something like “Clean Driving License” to your personal data ;-)

In the education part, the fact that we have followed an engineering curriculum of 5 years has to be explicitly mentioned, because such an education does not exist only in Tunisia and France, mainly, and previously in Germany. “A 5-year engineering curriculum divided to: blablabla” is best sentence that you could start telling your education with. On the other hand, the section that we follow in ENSI can be named a “focus” (Software Engineering and Information Systems, Financial Engineering, Engineering in Intelligent Systems and Decisions, Networks and Distributed Systems, Embedded Systems and Software Engineering, and eventually Image Processing Engineering). Avoid the word “speciality” because it’s not the case. Even more, the recruiter can exploit this point against you. Imagine a question in your interview like “Tell me what you know about Financial Engineering, you said it’s your speciality ! Come on “Specialist !” So let’s not trap ourselves.

It should also be mentioned that during our Preparatory Classes in the Preparatory Institutes of Engineering Studies we have had an intensive courses in Advanced Mathematics and Advanced Physics / Chemistry. This is very valuable to say and explain. The same about the National Exam for the Entry to Engineering Schools and its importance.

In the Work & Practical Experience, I always advise to list the projects on this way:

June-August 2011:         Internship,          Cynapsys IT Ltd,             Tunis

Topic: Development of a Human-Computer Interface to command an LCD screen of the VIPER card.

Description: – Design and implementation of the HCI on Linux

– Integration deployment and connecting the HCI in the VIPER card

– Test &Validation and technical documentation preparation

Keywords: Linux, C, C++, D-bus, Automotive Multimedia, SDL graphical library

Of course, we have to highlight the most important projects with more details and summarize very shortly the less important projects. For example the “Main University Project” (P2M or PCD) should be more detailed than the “University Summer Project”. On the other hand, nominations like “Double-Module Project” or “Enterprise Integration Internship” are completely meaningless to the recruiter. Simpler nominations like  “Main University Project” will better do the job. That would make more sense.

The Technical Skills part should be well equilibrated between Programming Languages (it’s important to say that the word “development” has two completely different meanings in French and in English, it’s discouraged to use it in English), Modelling Tools, Networks & Communications, (Mobile) Operating Systems and eventually Databases or Hardware. An endless very long list of programming languages is badly seen, we should also make sure not to commit mistakes like including XML in the web technologies or SQL in the databases (SQL is a language, MySQL is a database), yes people commit such a mistakes !

The languages part should be very specific and developed, when it’s about English speaking countries. A feature like “French: Very good (High School & University studies taught in French)” is faraway better than just “French: Very Good”. Remember, words and evident details matter. Don’t list your mother tongue the last one. It could be seen that you are ashamed of you native language, which is a very negative point.

Finally, the Interests part could be divided into Sports and Leisure. The more this part is developed, the more it’s true, the more it’s believable.

I hope that now, more people have learned some new valuable technical English words, valuable expressive words that could make the difference in your CV. As it is always said: master the language in which you are writing your CV. Last point that should be noted: CV is an European word, Resume is the American word.

3 Comments on “English Vocabulary for an outstanding CV

  1. I think ENSI in English would be National school of computer STUDIES. cos computer science is rather a subject (une matiere, le nom qu’on donne à un cours ou à un module). Also i don’t agree that we should avoid telling our speciality, we just need to be able to explain key words such as embedded or AI …


  2. Yes I get your point, but computer alone in English means nothing but “PC”, computer science is the exact word of “Informatique” maybe we should combine Computer Science Studies :D
    I got me wrong on the second point, I meant that we should avoid telling the word “speciality” and replace is with “section”, “focus”…


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