Your CV is a representation which should reflect your personality and what is important to you.
When applying for a job, it is likely that you will be one of many candidates. Presenting an effective CV is one way of getting noticed from the outset. Interviewers may decide whether or not to see you on the strength of your CV.
Do not just think of it as a list of facts; it should be a resume of all your personal, educational and career history, showing your strengths and achievements.
- Always type your CV, in a clear font and to a MAXIMUM of three pages
- Avoid gimmicks, elaborate designs, or fancy typefaces or photos of your Holidays!
- Your CV represents you and should be kept simple with a minimum of layout fuss (ie no tables, text box inserts, lines in between things)
- Lay out your CV so it is easy to read and understand. Structure it by writing a list of important headings. Include your name, address, telephone number (evenings and daytime), work history (in reverse chronological order – maximum detail in the last ten years or so), any major achievements (under each role), qualifications (include examination results), hobbies and interests. In this order!
- Start with your most recent job. It is more relevant for the reader to see your current position and duties first. Break your job role down into areas of responsibility. Detail the duties within each area, in point fashion for easy reference and list your achievements as well
- Account for any ‘gaps’ in your CV
- Do not forget leisure pursuits – participating in sports, for example, shows good potential for teamwork, or team captain – leadership skills.
- Where possible, make the CV relevant to the position you are applying for by highlighting transferable skills or similar experience
- Avoid industry jargon.
- Use space constructively; omit irrelevant experience, examination failures, etc. and keep your early career experience to one line with Dates, Company name and Job title
- Check your spelling carefully and get a friend to double check-it. Be concise, do not bore the reader. Two pages is the optimum length with Maximum three pages if one has to run over two.
- Do not claim qualifications which you do not have. Increasingly, employers will terminate the employment of, or not employ, candidates who cannot provide proof of qualifications such as GCE/GCSE, degrees and secretarial certificates. If you are shortlisted for a role the chances are you will be screened by your qualifications and references, if not the full blown background check
Between the lines
- Ensure the information is correct and relevant. Most companies will reject a CV with spelling and typing errors.
- If you spent a year or two travelling, say so. Time on a CV that is unaccounted for is always suspicious.
- Never lie on a CV, or you will undermine yourself from the onset, and may be found out in the future.
- If you have worked somewhere for a few years, explain briefly how your job title and responsibilities have changed. Show how you have developed since joining the company.
- Highlight major achievements. Have you successfully managed any projects or brought in new systems or increased sales? Show on paper that you are an asset to your present employer. It is helpful to put figures in to support your claims
- Keep a copy of your CV, read it before your interview and take two clean, crisp, unfolded copies to the interview (one for you, and one for the interviewer – just in case).
- It is also useful to keep a template CV which can be adjusted for each role you are applying for, highlighting your relevant skills for each role.