Your CV is your opportunity to sell yourself to a potential new employer. You have to remember that yours is not the only CV and the reader will often skim read to do an initial shortlist, so your CV must stand out at first glance.
Preparing your CV
This is the point when you need to give some thought into how you want your’ CV, what information should go on there, the format and content etc. This is all important as you are selling yourself to your potential employer. Take your time when writing your CV as this all helps in getting the job you want!
You should limit your CV to 2 pages; anymore than this then the chances are the employer will not read it. Employers spend an average 10 seconds reading over CV’s as they know what they are looking for in an employee. So try to keep it to a minimum.
You should include the following sections in your CV:
- Personal Details: Include your Name, Address, Telephone Number and Email if you have one
- Personal Profile – This is your chance to outline a summary of your experience, skills and ambitions
- Employment History – Always start with your most recent employer. Include the Company name, employment dates, reason for leaving and brief duties
- Education and Qualifications – List all your education starting with your most recent first i.e. further education. Include the college/university/school name, dates attended, exams taken and grade obtained
- Additional Information – This can be additional info that you feel will benefit the employer, you can also include key skills and strengths
- Referees – Never list your referees on your CV as some employers may assume you are giving permission to approach them for a reference and you may not want your referees to know you have gone for the job yet. Always state the following “References available on request”
Ensure that you have a well laid out CV. If you are not sure of how to lay out your CV look online for CV templates which will give you an idea.
- Use a standard font such as Arial or Times New Roman
- Always keep your CV in the same Font and the same colour i.e. black
- Sub headers to be one size throughout and in bold, underline if you wish, this can be your Job Title and/or Company Name.
- All other general font to be one size i.e. sub header size 12, the duties size 10
- Keep it simple and easy to read.
- Personally I think it is best to highlight your duties and skills in bullet points as this breaks up any continuous text and sentences
- Use honest information, do not make any false claims
- Focus on information that is relevant
- Customise your CV for specific vacancies by focusing on previous experience or skills that are relevant to the role
- Ensure all dates, months and years of employment are correct and stated on your CV. Any gaps in employment for more than one month will need to be covered, so you will need to state what you were doing during these gaps also
- Highest level of education should be listed first
- Your most recent job should be listed first then work backwards chronologically in time
- Some people decide to put a picture on their CV; I personally wouldn’t as it does not make a CV look anymore professional. If you decide to use a photo then it must be professional and of a smart appearance, i.e. suit, hair tidy, well groomed, head shot with a clear background
- Check ALL spelling of your CV!
When applying for a job always put a covering letter with it as this is your selling tool and should outline your skills and experience that is relevant to the job.
It is always worth stating in your covering letter where you seen the job advertised as this shows it is not a standard letter you have used for any employer and what you say next is written for them.