The purpose of a CV is to act as a sales tool to create a good first impression of you to an employer and is therefore important to be right first time! Below is a list of hints and tips on how to create a CV which makes an impact on the reader.
Format: Ensure your CV is ‘easy on the eye’ – with a clear font and simple layout, avoid pictures and borders and do not use coloured paper. Target your CV towards your chosen profession – highlight the experience and skills already gained in this field.
Preparation: Think about your skills, achievements, strengths, qualifications and experience. If you are applying for a specific role, what key words have they used in the advert? Which of these words apply to you and how can you demonstrate these?
Length: Remember you want your CV to stand out from other applicants, you need to include enough information to interest the reader but not bore them. You do not need to limit your CV to a minimum number of pages, but avoid sending pages and pages of irrelevant information.
Dates: Ensure your education and employment dates are concurrent – account for any gaps.
Spelling and Grammar: Check and double check your spelling and grammar and where possible have someone else take a look, don’t just rely on spellcheck on your PC.
Truthful: Don’t ever be tempted to fabricate the truth; you’ll usually be caught out!
Be positive: Concentrate on successes and achievements.
Your CV should include the following:
Covering Letter: You should always include a covering letter with any application. This identifies which role you are applying for and allows your personality to come through. You can use this letter to provide more details on those areas where space is limited on your CV.
Personal Details: Contact details, your mobility – don’t forget your contact number we see plenty of CVs with no details!
Profile: A short paragraph about yourself, covering your strengths, skills, experience and the position sought. Tell the prospective employer what you are like as a person, i.e bubbly person who enjoys working as part of a team or ‘I enjoy working with detailed information such as numerical data’. This helps the employer match your requirements to the role.
Education: With the most recent first list your dates spent in education, institutions attended, subjects studied and grades / qualifications obtained. Also list any training courses attended. It’s sometimes helpful to make sure you can get your hands on your copies of certificates – some employers do ask to have a look at them if you get to interview or get offered a job.
Employment History: Starting with your most recent employment first, include the dates employed, position(s) held, a brief description of your duties and achievements – bullet points are often a good way to layout the duties.
Additional information: This should include any additional, relevant information, including voluntary work, language skills, professional memberships etc.
References: Finally include a minimum of two references (where possible your last employer).
Top Tip! Once you have completed your CV – look at it again but pretend you are the employer – does it cover all the elements of the specific role? Does it pose any questions? If so then maybe you need to revise the CV – you want to give the employer all the information they are looking for to get that interview!