You never get a second chance to make a first impression. When writing a CV you’re communicating with someone you’ve probably never met, so it’s important to make that first impression count.
In today’s competitive job market an effective CV is the start of every successful job campaign. However, a good CV alone won’t get you the job, so it’s vital to spend time and effort on producing one that will get you that all important interview and give you the chance to market yourself in person.
Naturally a CV needs to be revised periodically during your career. If you ask your Recruitment consultant can assess your CV and offer advice on any areas that could be refined to develop your chance of success in getting the position you want. If you’re not using a recruiter then there are specialist CV writing company’s that can assist for a small fee.
There are several standard CV formats, but most employers will prefer the chronological CV, which is outlined below. The content will be as individual as the person writing it, however, here are some basic guidelines that apply to the presentation of most:
Start with your name, address, telephone numbers, preferred e-mail address, date of birth and nationality.
This should be a few sentences or short paragraph describing your key skills and experience. Tailor it to the position you are applying for. Detail your professional status and career development along with your immediate ambitions. Keep it short and to the point.
Professional and Academic Qualifications
List your most recent achievements first. Unless you are a recent graduate or school leaver, your professional experience and qualifications will be most relevant. If you are including exam results give details of pass dates where possible.
List all previous employment in reverse chronological order.
Start with details of your current employment. Include name and location of employer, your job title and dates of employment. Use bullet points to outline the main responsibilities of the role. Remember to include key achievements and development relevant to your career objective. Wherever possible quantify and qualify with specific details that illustrate your skill base. Ensure that you account for any gaps in your employment history.
Unless they specifically relate to skill requirements of the position you’re applying for, it is worth considering omitting the rather dated tradition of listing your personal interests. They take up valuable room on your CV that could be used to include more relevant information and in some cases they could actually lose you an interview!
Some applications may be supported by a portfolio of your work. State on your CV that a portfolio is available on request. The most successful applicants have online Portfolios, do your research and find a good place to put the projects that best represent your talents.
It is not necessary to include details of referees at this stage. However, you may want to state that references are available on request.
- Do not hand write a CV.
- If you need to print or supply a hard copy use good quality white A4 paper to print your CV (if possible use a laser printer).
- Use a clear typeface.
- Ensure the layout is evenly spaced and easy to read, using subheadings to draw the reader’s eye to important information.
- Remember to keep all information on your CV concise and clear. Short simple sentences are easy to scan and take in. Where possible, use a mixture of text and bullet points.
- Be scrupulously careful when you proofread, a misspelling or grammatical error gets noticed before the point you are trying to make does. Get someone else to check it for you.
- Put yourself in the position of the intended reader, they are looking for positive proof of reasons to employ YOU so focus on your skills and experience. This is not the time to be modest; it is an opportunity to highlight your career achievements.
- All the information you give must be accurate, be honest.
- Always keep your CV up to date.
- CV Checklist
- Once your CV is complete, ask yourself:
- Will an employer want to read it?
- Is the layout professional?
- Is it easy to read? Have I used a clear typeface and appropriate font size? If an employer ‘glanced’ over it, do the key points stand out?
- Is it printed on quality paper?
- Are the spelling and grammar correct? – Get someone to proofread it for you.
- Is the style of writing clear? – Do not use unnecessary ‘jargon’.
- Have I successfully communicated my accomplishments and skills? – It is more important for these to stand out than responsibilities and duties.
- Have I tailored my CV to the job I am applying for to increase my chance of success?
- Is my employment history listed in reverse chronological order?
- Have I accounted for all periods of time?
- Has irrelevant information been eliminated?
- Would my CV say the same thing if I shortened it? Can it be limited to two pages?
Please remember that your recruitment consultant should be happy to help and will be able to offer advice on your CV. If you are applying directly to employers then get someone you trust to double check the CV or use one of the many CV writing company’s who can give advice and help improve your chances of winning that interview.