CVs should be direct and to the point in other words brief. This document is your foot through the door, it needs to grab attention and market you and your abilities. It also needs to be accurate so check for mistakes.
A good CV will accomplish three things:
- Create a good first impression
- Detail your experience
- Get you an interview
- Make it easy to read by using bullets, tabs and bold text
- Choose an easy-to-read font like Arial or Verdana
- Avoid decorative borders or photographs
- Check for spelling and grammar – use a dictionary, not just spell-check on your PC
- Keep to the point, aim to produce two pages and never more than three
- Always write using the first person “I” rather than the third party
1. Personal Details
In ‘Your personal details’ section, don’t forget to include the following information:
- Name, address and contact phone numbers (home, work, mobile)
- Marital status
- Date of birth
- Nationality, and visa details if applicable
- E-mail address
2. Education /Qualifications
Start with the most recent and work backwards.
Remember to include all your qualifications, with grades and dates. If you have a lot of work experience, the education section doesn’t need to be quite so detailed – simply state how many GCSEs you have rather than list all the subjects and grades. Professional qualifications and skills list all your professional qualifications and relevant courses you have attended. It’s a good idea to state your IT knowledge and any foreign languages you speak.
3. Employment history
- Start with your current or most recent job.
- Include your job title and a brief description of your responsibilities, duties and main achievements.
- State the name of the company and the nature of its business. If you have extensive experience, keep your earlier jobs brief – it’s your most recent role the interviewer will be most interested in.
- If you’ve taken time out – to travel or to bring up children – include this. Interviewers don’t like to see gaps. If you’ve temped for a long time, or have changed jobs frequently, you should explain.
- Don’t include reasons for leaving, but be prepared to be asked this at the next stage Don’t include salary details on a CV
4. Interests and hobbies
These help an interviewer understand more about your personality, so do include them, but be brief and remember it’s a job application not an audition for Big Brother!
5. References or referees
If you can it is always good to provide the details of referees rather than say: ‘References available on request’.
Tailor your CV for each interview
If you can match your skills and experience to the employer’s needs, your chances of securing an interview will be improved. Ask yourself:
- What are they looking for?
- What key elements did they ask for in the job description?
- How specifically are you suited for this particular role and organisation?
- Write a short personal profile, highlighting your personal attributes and strengths