First impressions count!
A CV or curriculum vitae is a marketing tool and plays an essential part in promoting yourself and getting you that all important first interview. Imagine the CV as being a brochure that will list the benefits of a particular service. The service being your time and skills! When writing a CV look at it from your employers point of view. Would you stand out against the competition (the other candidates) and would the manager want to talk you for a possible job?
Clients usually receive many CVs for each vacancy, so here is some advice to help your CV stand out.
Follow the checklist below to help you create the best impression:
Make your CV easy to read! Use short, clear sentences and a clear font of reasonable size. Use bullet points, headings, bold letters and spacing to make your CV as easy as possible to understand. However, beware of using any of these effects excessively; they should help to clarify your CV, not clutter it. Aim for two to four pages, number the pages and carefully check spelling and grammar.
Technical Skills Summary
Always a useful tool to clearly show your skills and level of competence.
Put your most recent experience first. Your most recent experience should also be the most detailed: provide less detail for each previous position. Make sure that dates on your CV match up!
Your CV should clearly and accurately demonstrate your suitability for the role.
On the front page of your CV, include your name, address, telephone number, education, and brief details of hobbies & interests. The Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006 mean that it is no longer necessary to include your date of birth on your CV.
Although you may be asked to provide your age on a company's diversity form, your age cannot be used against you in deciding whether or not you are suitable for a job.
Tailor your CV
for each role you apply to, or include a cover letter highlighting relevant experience.
It's a really good idea to get someone to proof read your CV.
In CV heading you can write your general information:
- Local address
- E-mail address
- Phone number
(If applying for an overseas job, please remember to include your international dialling code.) Include your mobile/cell phone number if you are going to relocate soon.
CV skills summary
The skills summary section of your CV includes your main skills. You should only include keywords in this section, do not go into lengthy descriptions of your skills. The skill summary is also called personal profile.
The CV Objective, sometimes also referred to as CV Personal Profile states "What is my next step in my career?" This should be a short, concise statement that informs the employer what kind of position you are looking for. The type of position, the role (managerial, supervisor, contractor) should be included as well.
If you are job hunting it is a good idea to have several CV's with different profiles or objectives. For example, you can have a CV for a sales supervisor and the other for a shop floor manager. Your 'sales supervisor' CV can highlight achievements in this area, the CV would be tuned to that particular in terms of job descriptions and achievements.
Professional or work experience
This section includes any work experience that you have in the field you are applying for, even if the post was unpaid, voluntary, summer job, internship, co-op experience or extracurricular activity. When listing these work experiences include what kind of job was it (internship/full time/ part time etc).
Each job detail should include this basic information
- Title of position
- Length you held the post
- Name of organization.
Include also languages (spoken/written/understood). Computer skills (include title of software package and proficiency level), research skills and other skills that are not in the rest of your CV.
Education on your CV
List all your qualifications in this section. Include all of your education including certifications from non-academic institutions, especially those that are related to this job vacancy. If you have more work experience than qualifications, put your work experience before your qualifications.
Honors, Awards or Accomplishments
Academic and related awards are listed here. If your degree is not related to this job, highlight aspects of the course that are. List any projects you have worked on that are related to this job.
The Activities and Interests Section in your CV
Any activities that you do in your free time, can be related to your job. If you worked in the school paper it shows initiative and you are willing to make sacrifices in order to further your career. Participating in student activities, professional associations or enthusiast clubs shows leader ship qualities. Leave out any activities related to politics religion or controversial topics that may risk alienating the reader.
CV References Available Upon Request
If you have references, that you are willing to provide include the above statement. Ask people if they are willing to serve as references before you give their names to a potential employer.
Filling in application forms
Some job adverts will ask you to fill in an application form. You may need to contact the employer to get a copy of the application form.
Here are some tips on filling in application forms:
- Always check the instructions for filling in the application form – for example: whether you have to write in capitals or fill the form in black ink only
- Spell the name of the company correctly
- Prepare a draft of the application form and then transfer the information to the actual form – if you are filling it in by hand
- Read the job advert again and make sure the information you include on the form is relevant
- Answer all questions and fill in all the boxes
- If there are gaps in your employment history say what you were doing during that time – for example: bringing up your children or working as a volunteer for a charity
- Include skills that you have developed outside work
- Ask a friend or relative to check your application form before you send it